“Unit 17: Day 1, 1 Samuel 1–3,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 17: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
The book of 1 Samuel begins with the birth of the prophet Samuel, who was also the last of the judges appointed to try to guide the tribes of Israel through times of apostasy. Hannah had great faith. While she was at the tabernacle, she wept and prayed to the Lord for a child. After witnessing Hannah’s sorrow and grief and finding out the cause, Eli, the high priest, revealed to Hannah that God would grant her desire for children. When she gave birth to a son, she named him Samuel. To keep the promise she made to the Lord, Hannah brought Samuel to Eli to serve the Lord. As Samuel grew in favor with the Lord and the people, Eli and his household were chastened for not honoring God.
Many adversities or challenges are natural conditions of mortality and do not occur because the person experiencing them is at fault. In 1 Samuel 1 you will learn about Hannah, a faithful woman who faced adversity. As you study, look for what you can learn from Hannah’s example that can help you when you face adversity.
- Copy the following chart into your scripture study journal. In the “My Adversity” column, write two challenges you are currently facing. You will record two challenges Hannah faced as you continue your study of 1 Samuel 1.
Remember that at times in ancient Israel, righteous men and women practiced plural marriage (see Genesis 16:1–3; see also Jacob 2:30). Peninnah, the other wife of Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, was able to bear children. Peninnah’s ability to have children would have made Hannah’s inability to do so feel more devastating.
Read 1 Samuel 1:1–2, looking for one of the adversities Hannah experienced. Write what you find as the first challenge in the “Hannah’s Adversity” column in the chart in your scripture study journal.
In every age, righteous women long for and want to have children, and in the culture in which Hannah lived, women experienced social shame if they were barren (unable to bear children).
Elkanah and his family would travel to Shiloh yearly in order to worship. Shiloh was the site where the tabernacle, or “the house of the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:7), was located.
Read 1 Samuel 1:3–8, looking for another challenge Hannah experienced during these times. Write what you find as the second challenge in the “Hannah’s Adversity” column in the chart in your scripture study journal.
The phrase “her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret” in verse 6 means that someone was trying to upset Hannah because of her inability to have children. From Hannah’s example, what can we learn about how to deal with people’s unkind actions toward us?
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: If Hannah were speaking to you today, what principle do you think she could testify of?
The Lord does not always remove our adversity when we pray for peace, but as we turn to the Lord in our adversity, He can provide help, hope, and peace.
- Ponder about times when the Lord has blessed you with peace as you turned to Him when you were experiencing adversity. Then answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can you turn to the Lord to receive His help and comfort as you face the adversities you listed on the chart in your scripture study journal?
Another principle we can learn from this account is that when we ask the Lord to bless us, we must be willing to use those blessings to serve Him. The Lord expects us to consecrate our lives—our time and our choices—to His purposes.
A prayer from Hannah is recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. In this prayer Hannah praised the Lord for all that He had done for her. She also testified of Jehovah’s (Jesus Christ’s) power and mercy. Her prayer shows her great faith, her knowledge of the gospel, and her love for God.
Have you ever seen someone set a poor example of living the gospel and it affected the way others viewed the Church? (Examples may include someone cheating, being disrespectful, using inappropriate language, or being immoral yet pretending to be a good Latter-day Saint.)
Read 1 Samuel 2:12 to learn about Hophni and Phinehas, two sons of Eli, the high priest. Remember that Belial means worthless or wicked.
In 1 Samuel 2:13–16 we learn that Eli’s sons sinned by taking meat from the animal sacrifices that did not belong to them. In this sense they were robbing God of offerings and cheating the people.
Read 1 Samuel 2:17, looking for how the behavior of Eli’s sons affected those who came to worship at the tabernacle. (The word abhorred means to hate or strongly dislike.)
Read 1 Samuel 2:22–25, looking for other behaviors that set a poor example for the people.
Eli’s sons were guilty of immorality in the sacred areas of the tabernacle. Consider marking in verse 24 what Eli said about how his sons’ behavior was affecting the people.
According to verse 25, Hophni and Phinehas were disobedient to their father’s counsel. Under the law of Moses, willful disobedience to parents was punishable by death, and the parents were obligated to see that the punishment was carried out (see Deuteronomy 21:18–21).
Read 1 Samuel 2:27–29, looking for why the Lord was upset with Eli. How would you summarize the Lord’s displeasure with him?
Because Eli did not carry out the punishment the law of Moses required for his sons’ actions, he was failing to do his duty. Eli failed in his parental responsibility and in his office as the presiding priest. Although he rebuked his sons, he took no action to see that the abominations in his family and at the tabernacle were corrected.
As a result of the corruption in Eli’s family, “a man of God” (1 Samuel 2:27) came to Eli and pronounced the Lord’s curse upon Eli’s house. In 1 Samuel 2:31–36 we learn that Eli’s household would be destroyed and his posterity would not live to old age. His wicked sons would die on the same day, and the Lord would give the high priest’s duties of the tabernacle to a more faithful man.
Read 1 Samuel 2:30, looking for what will happen if we honor the Lord above all others. (The word despise means to view with contempt or as worthless. Esteemed means respected or honored. If we view God with contempt, He will not respect or honor us.)
Complete the following principle according to what you learned in verse 30: If we honor the Lord, .
- In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you saw the Lord honor someone who honored Him. Consider how you can more fully honor God. You may want to set a goal to honor Him in that way.
Have you ever struggled to recognize when the Lord is speaking to you through the promptings of the Spirit?
As a young boy, Samuel needed to learn to recognize the voice of the Lord. One night while Samuel was sleeping, the Lord called to him. Read 1 Samuel 3:4–10, looking for how Samuel learned to recognize the Lord’s voice.
In 1 Samuel 3:11–17 we read that the Lord told Samuel about the punishments to be administered to Eli and his sons. The next morning Eli asked Samuel what the Lord had said. Samuel was afraid to tell Eli. Why do you think telling Eli what the Lord said might have been difficult for Samuel?
Samuel told Eli everything the Lord had said (see 1 Samuel 3:18). What can Samuel’s decision to tell Eli teach us about Samuel?
Read 1 Samuel 3:19–21, looking for phrases that indicate the Lord was supporting Samuel as a prophet.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Samuel 1–3 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like share with my teacher: