1 Samuel 1-3
Notice that verse 5 doesn’t say that Hannah cannot conceive, or that the couple is infertile, but rather that ‘the Lord had shut up her womb’. It’s a great example of the pre-scientific or magical thinking that nourishes religion, but it makes me sad for all the couples who have ever suffered infertility. Grief and regret is difficult enough, without adding guilt over some unknown sin that has elicited punishment from god. But so much for family values; after praying so hard for a baby, when she finally gets one, Hannah gives him away as soon as he’s weaned. He’ll be left for the priests to raise, because we all know they do such a good job….
This chapter starts with Hannah’s song of praise, and there are some inconvenient truths in it.
V 6 ‘the lord killeth….’ – Yup, she’s got that right.
V 7 ‘The Lord makes some poor and others rich’ – well isn’t that nice. If you’re poor it’s because god wants it that way.
And V 10 ‘Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered’ – no kidding!
Verses 12-17 about Eli’s sons are written as though they were the first and only priests who had pilfered from the offerings. Who’s kidding who here?
Verse 22 – ditto with seducing the women who serve at the Tabernacle.
Samuel hears voices in the night, and instead of reassuring him that they are only dreams, Eli persuades the child that they are real. The voices tell Samuel that Eli and his family are about to be destroyed. Wouldn’t that terrify any kid??? Wouldn’t it terrify Eli? But Eli says that whatever the lord wants is fine with him. So Samuel starts talking to the voices regularly. Seriously?
Here’s the squeaky-clean ‘family’ version of Samuel.