HANNAH PRAYING BEFORE THE LORD.ToC
The Tabernacle, which had been set up by the Israelites in the wilderness, was after the conquest of Canaan erected at Shiloh, a city about ten miles south of Shechem. There it remained for more than three hundred years. No Temple was at Jerusalem in those days, so the Jewish priests offered sacrifices to God in the Tabernacle at Shiloh.
One day, Hannah, the wife of a priest named Elkanah, came to the Tabernacle to worship. She was grieved because she had no children; and especially sad because she had no son. So she knelt down and prayed to God, and asked God to remember her sorrow and to give her a son; promising that if God granted her request, she would give that son to Him all the days of his life.
As Hannah prayed, Eli, the high priest, saw her. She did not speak aloud, but prayed in her heart; her lips moved, but no voice was heard; so Eli thought that a drunken woman had come before the Lord. He reproved her saying, "How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee." But Hannah had not drunk wine. She answered Eli, "No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord." Then Eli bade her "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him."
Hannah left the Tabernacle. Her face was no longer sad. She believed God had heard her prayer; and He had done so. In due time a son was given her, whom she named Samuel. Samuel means Heard of God, which name Hannah gave him in remembrance of God's goodness in hearing her prayer.