1 Samuel 1:22
But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
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(22) Until the child be weaned.—Weaning, we know, took place very late among the Hebrews. From 2 Maccabees 7:27, it appears that Hebrew mothers were in the habit of suckling their children for three years. The mother proposed, when the weaning had taken place, to leave her son as a servant of the sanctuary, there to remain all his life.

On the late period of weaning among the Oriental nations, Kalisch refers to the Persian custom of suckling boys two years and two months, and girls two years.

1 Samuel 1:22. I will not go up till the child be weaned — Not only from the breast, but from the mother’s knee and care, and childish food. She was not bound by the law to go up with her husband; and therefore, though she had been wont to go, she resolved, as became a prudent woman, to stay at home, till the child was so far grown up, as not only to be strong enough to accompany her, but capable of being instructed in the service of the tabernacle, and of being useful therein. For, it seems, as soon as he was brought thither he worshipped God, (1 Samuel 1:28,) and, soon after, ministered to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:11.

1:19-28 Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a family of children to take with them, yet they would not move till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts of God's house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.Until the child be weaned - Hebrew mothers, as elsewhere in the East, usually suckled their children until the age of two complete years, sometimes until the age of three. 22. But Hannah went not up—Men only were obliged to attend the solemn feasts (Ex 23:17). But Hannah, like other pious women, was in the habit of going, only she deemed it more prudent and becoming to defer her next journey till her son's age would enable her to fulfill her vow. Hannah went not up, to wit, at that sacred anniversary feast, to which she went up before but now did not, because she could not with satisfaction to her mind and conscience appear before the Lord empty, or without paying her vow; nor bring her child thither to God, and then carry him away from God to her own house. Nor did she sin by not going up; for the women were not obliged go up at the solemn feasts, but the men only, Exodus 23:17.

Until the child be weaned; not only from the breast and the milk, which was done within two or three years at most, but also from the mother’s knee and care, and from childish food; till the child be something grown up, and fit to do some service in the tabernacle for it seems, that as soon as he was brought up, he worshipped God, 1 Samuel 1:28, and presently after ministered to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:11. And this may further appear from the very nature of the vow, which must needs design a service and an advantage to the tabernacle, and not a burden and encumbrance, as it would have been if a young child had been brought up to it, and left upon it.

That he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever; that when once he is presented to the Lord, he may continue in his service as long as he liveth, as is said 1 Samuel 1:28.

But Hannah went not up,.... For women, though they might go if they pleased to the yearly feasts, yet they were not obliged to it; whether she went up at the time for her purification, and for the presenting and redemption of the firstborn, is not certain; some say the Levites were not obliged by that law, the perquisites of it falling to them, and so did not go up; others that she did, though it is not expressed, the Scriptures not relating all facts that were done; though by what follows it looks as if she did not:

for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned: which, according to Jarchi, was at the end of twenty two months; but others say at the end of twenty four months, or two years, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; and sometimes a child was three years old before it was weaned, and sometimes longer, which very probably was the case here; See Gill on Genesis 21:8. Comestor (d) observes, there was a three fold weaning of children in old times; the first from their mother's milk, when three years old; the second from their tender age, and care of a dry nurse, when seven years old; the third from childish manners, when at twelve years of age; and that it is this last and metaphorical weaning which is here meant, when Samuel was twelve years of age, and fit to serve in the temple; but the proper sense is best, since she is said to bring him when weaned: her reason for it seems to be this, because had she went up with her sucking child, she must have brought him back again, since he would not be fit to be left behind, and would be entirely incapable of any kind of service in the sanctuary; and according to the nature of her vow, she could not think of bringing him back again, after she had once entered him there:

and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord; and minister in the service of the sanctuary in what might be suitable to his age; there and then she would present him, and give him up to the Lord, as she had promised she would:

and there abide for ever; that is, as long as he lived; for her vow was that he should be a Nazarite all the days of his life, and be separated to the service of God as long as he had a being in the world.

(d) Apud Weemse's Observ. Nat. c. 18. p. 76.

But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
22. until the child be weaned] He would then be two or three years old. It is still a common practice in the East to suckle children for two years: and in ancient times they were sometimes not weaned till three years old. See 2Ma 7:27, “O my son, have pity upon me that gave thee suck three years and nourished thee.” The weaning was made an occasion of festivity (Genesis 21:8). The objection has been made that so young a child would have been troublesome to Eli, but there were women engaged in the tabernacle service (1 Samuel 2:22), to whose care he might have been committed. It was important that he should be dedicated as soon as possible. The house of God was to be the only home he knew; the earliest impressions of his boyhood were to be those of the sanctuary.

for ever] Equivalent to “as long as he liveth” of 1 Samuel 1:28.

1 Samuel 1:22When Elkanah went up again with his family to Shiloh, to present his yearly sacrifice and his vow to the Lord, Hannah said to her husband that she would not go up till she had weaned the boy, and could present him to the Lord, that he might remain there for ever. הימים זבח, the sacrifice of the days, i.e., which he was accustomed to offer on the days when he went up to the sanctuary; really, therefore, the annual sacrifice. It follows from the expression "and his vow," that Elkanah had also vowed a vow to the Lord, in case the beloved Hannah should have a son. The vow referred to the presentation of a sacrifice. And this explains the combination of את־נדרו with לזבּח.

(Note: The lxx add to τὰς εὐχὰς αὐτοῦ the clause καὶ πάσας τὰς δεκάτας τῆς γῆς αὐτοῦ ("and all the tithes of his land"). This addition is just as arbitrary as the alteration of the singular נדרו into the plural τὰς εὐχὰς αὐτοῦ. The translator overlooked the special reference of the word נדרו to the child desired by Elkanah, and imagined - probably with Deuteronomy 12:26-27 in his mind, where vows are ordered to be paid at the sanctuary in connection with slain offerings and sacrificial meals - that when Elkanah made his annual journey to the tabernacle he would discharge all his obligations to God, and consequently would pay his tithes. The genuineness of this additional clause cannot be sustained by an appeal to Josephus (Ant. v. 10, 3), who also has δεκάτας τε ἔφερον, for Josephus wrote his work upon the basis of the Alexandrian version. This statement of Josephus is only worthy of notice, inasmuch as it proves the incorrectness of the conjecture of Thenius, that the allusion to the tithes was intentionally dropped out of the Hebrew text by copyists, who regarded Samuel's Levitical descent as clearly established by 1 Chronicles 6:7-13 and 1 Chronicles 6:19-21. For Josephus (l. c. 2) expressly describes Elkanah as a Levite, and takes no offence at the offering of tithes attributed to him in the Septuagint, simply because he was well acquainted with the law, and knew that the Levites had to pay to the priests a tenth of the tithes that they received from the other tribes, as a heave-offering of Jehovah (Numbers 18:26.; cf. Nehemiah 10:38). Consequently the presentation of tithe on the part of Elkanah, if it were really well founded in the biblical text, would not furnish any argument against his Levitical descent.)

Weaning took place very late among the Israelites. According to 2 Macc. 7:28, the Hebrew mothers were in the habit of suckling their children for three years. When the weaning had taken place, Hannah would bring her son up to the sanctuary, to appear before the face of the Lord, and remain there for ever, i.e., his whole life long. The Levites generally were only required to perform service at the sanctuary from their twenty-fifth to their fiftieth year (Numbers 8:24-25); but Samuel was to be presented to the Lord immediately after his weaning had taken place, and to remain at the sanctuary for ever, i.e., to belong entirely to the Lord. To this end he was to receive his training at the sanctuary, that at the very earliest waking up of his spiritual susceptibilities he might receive the impressions of the sacred presence of God. There is no necessity, therefore, to understand the word גּמל (wean) as including what followed the weaning, namely, the training of the child up to his thirteenth year (Seb. Schmidt), on the ground that a child of three years old could only have been a burden to Eli: for the word never has this meaning, not even in 1 Kings 11:20; and, as O. v. Gerlach has observed, his earliest training might have been superintended by one of the women who worshipped at the door of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).

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