828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday Nov 18 - 1 Samuel 1:4-20; Samuel's Birth and Dedication

Nov 18, 2012, 25 Pentecost
1 Samuel 1:4-20
Samuel’s Birth and Dedication
Background: The books of Samuel detail the origins of kingship in Israel and recount the reigns of Saul and David. The birth and growth in prominence of Samuel provides the transition from the time of the judges to the monarchy. Samuel is a portion of the Deuteronomistic history – the period from their arrival on the plain of Moab until their deportation to Babylon. The story of Samuel’s birth sets the stage for and provides justification for Samuel’s rule as the principal judge in Israel.
Theme: The birth of Samuel shares literary elements with the birth of Isaac and Jacob, barren woman miraculously becomes pregnant and bears a son through God’s direct intervention with the fertility of the couple. This passage also provides insights into Eli’s nature and his ability to (1) rush to judgment based on appearances and (2) soften his stance when he realizes the true nature of the situation.
Questions to Ponder
* Please read all of 1 Samuel 1:1-3 in addition to 1 Samuel 1:4-20 for background and setting.
* Locate the following locations in Israel Ramathaim/Ramah, Shiloh, Jerusalem, Ephraim (region), and Zuph. How might these locations factor into the setting of the passage – time, leadership, and hierarchy?
* In this passage, Elkanah is listed as an Ephraimite in this passage he is later (placed in the levitical genealogy and specifically in the clan of Kohath. How might his heritage impact Samuel’s future?
* Why might Peninnah ridicule Hannah even though Hannah was “Elkanah’s favorite?” Of whom is this story reminiscent? What might the implication of the relative similarity be?
* What seems odd about the exchange between Elkanah and Hannah in verses 7 and 8? Why might Hannah fast and weep even though her husband was offering a sacrifice in the temple? Why might Elkanah say “am I [his love is] not worth more than 10 sons?” Who do you think would be worth more – a husband or 10 sons from the Israelite perspective?
* Do you think Hannah was bargaining with God to have a son? It appears she said, “if you give me a son I’ll make him yours forever.” Would you say God relented and made Hannah fertile as a response to her promise? Why or why not?
* Why might Eli have been sitting at the doorpost of the temple? Why do you think Eli thought Hannah was drunk?
* What argument does Hannah make in order to refute Eli’s assertion that she is drunk?
* By what right might Eli have made the pronouncement that God would honor Hannah’s petition? Do you think Eli was speaking for God?
* When Elkanah knew Hannah the passage stated that the Lord remembered her (Hannah). What might it mean for the writer to say that the Lord remembered Hannah?
* If Eli’s blessing comes to be, and it will, how is Samuel’s presence in Eli’s life reminiscent of other Old Testament heroes?
* What message of hope might be found in this passage? How can we share the message of hope today?

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