1 Samuel 1: Samuel is born

Synopsis:

A man has 2 wives. One, Hannah, is barren. They go to the temple in Shiloh every year. Hannah prays to have a son and if she does, promised to give him to the service of God. Eli, the priest sees her praying and thinks she is drunk. She says no, just praying. Eli blesses her. The family returned home and the man knew his wife Hannah and eventually she had a son, who is named Samuel.  The time came again to go to Shiloh, but Hannah stays behind to wean Samuel. When he is weaned, she brings him to Shiloh with an offering of 3 bulls and an ephah of flour. She reintroduces herself to Eli and gives him Samuel.

In other words:

Hannah has a son named Samuel.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 1:8 The husband is trying to console Hannah - why weepest thou? Am not I better  to thee than 10 sons?  Apparently not.

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 1:13-17 – where Eli thinks she is drunk and she has to tell him – don’t count me a daughter of Belial, I’m grieving here!

Least favorite bit:

1 Samuel 1:6 – that the other wife bullies and taunts her because she is barren.

What I liked:

That the husband seems really nice. He doesn’t care she isn’t having kids. He genuinely seems to like her.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Always keep your promises (1 Samuel 1)

1 Samuel 2: Priests Gone Wild

Synopsis:

Upon giving Samuel to Eli the priest, Hannah sings praises to the Lord – no one is as awesome as God. The sons of Eli were sons of Belial. They would steal offerings from penitents, sleep with the women coming to pray and more. Samuel, being a child, did his job faithfully and he was much liked by everyone. Eli reprimanded his sons, but they kept being evil. A man of God showed up at the Temple and prophesied that Eli’s sons would both be killed on the same day for their evil and in their place will rise a faithful priest.

In other words:

Samuel serves the Lord well, while the sons of Eli, the head priest, are evil to pretty much everyone.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 2:19 – that Hannah made a new jacket for Samuel every year and brought it to him at the temple.

Least favorite bit:

1 Samuel 2: 1-10 – Hannah’s prayer/praise to God. The hungry ceased being hungry, the lord killeth and maketh alive. He shall keep the feet of his saints and  the wicked shall be silent. It goes on for 10 verses. Need I say more?

What’s interesting?

That Eli’s sons were so brazen about scamming the penitents. It was bad enough that Eli had to reprimand them, but it didn’t do any good.  They were just being greedy really.

What’s cool:

Hannah goes on to have 3 sons and 2 daughters.

Moral Lesson Learned:


  • Just do your job. Don’t try to cheat people. You will get a bad reputation. (1 Samuel 2)
  • alternate: You can’t always trust a priest (1 Samuel 2)


Ruth 3: Ruth snags Boaz

Synopsis:

Naomi tells Ruth to go sleep at the feet of Boaz after he threshes the barley. This she does. When he wakes up to find her there, and asks why she is there, she tells him, are you not my kinsman (in other words, I don’t have a child from my husband, your duty as nearest kinsman is to provide me one).  He is impressed by her piety to the family and that she didn’t go running after young men. He gives her 6 measures of barley and sends her home and tells her – I will do my duty as your nearest kinsman (to give you a child for your late husband) and everyone will know you are a virtuous woman.

In other words:

With Naomi’s help, Ruth convinces Boaz to marry her by asking him to give her a child to be named after her late husband.

Best bit:

That Boaz falls for this (Ruth 3:11)

Least favorite bit:

That the whole thing is a bit manipulative. (Ruth 3:9)

Why I feel conflicted:

What other choice did they have? They were widows with no men to take care of them. Might as well go after the richest guy in town. And he is clearly a really good man who does not take advantage of people.   Plus – my grandmother kind of tricked my grandfather into marrying her and making him think it was his idea, so – despite it being manipulative – I do feel a bit of kinship with these women.

Moral Lesson Learned:

It is possible to get what you want while doing the right and moral thing at the same time (Ruth 3)

Ruth 4: Ruth gets remarried and has a son

Synopsis:

Boaz goes to the towns elders and says – I want to buy the land from Naomi – but I wanted to make sure no one else wanted it first. Be aware, who buys this land must also take Ruth as his wife and provide her a son to raise up the name of the dead. The other kinsmen say – we don’t want to do that – you go ahead. It will be just like Pharez whom Tamar bore from Judah (back in Genesis 38) So Boaz marries Ruth and went in unto her and she bare a son. He is named Obed and he is nursed by Naomi. We are now just 2 generations away from David. Here is the lineage from Pharez (Judah and Tamar’s son). Phraze begat Herzon, who begat Ram who begat Amminadab, who begat Nahshon who begat Salmon who begat Boaz who begat Obed who begat Jesse who begat David. (So we now have a line directly to Abraham since Abraham begat Jacob and Jacob begat Judah (among several others – Judah being the one who argued to spare Joseph’s life).

In other words:

Ruth marries Boaz and has a son named Obed (we are 2 generations from David now)

Favorite bit:

(Ruth 4:4-8) Where Boaz gets permission from everyone else to purchase the inheritance of Naomi and marry Ruth. No one else wanted the obligation of giving away some inheritance to a dead man’s son.

Least favorite bit:

The blessing of the women of Bethlehem – it’s nice but seems strange to me. Congrats – you now have someone to watch after you in your old age! I understand that’s important, but... it’s still a bit ingratiating to me.

Coolest bit:

Where not only is the story of Judah and Tamar invoked, we are also given the lineage – and it is important because this is the lineage to that leads to David.

Moral lesson learned:

Consensus is important to good relationships (Ruth 4)