In ancient times, there was a man named Elke who lived in the hill country. He was known throughout the region as a man of good reputation and used by God.
Since it was the custom in those days, he had two wives. One was named Hanna, and the other was named Penny. Penny was able to bear children by Elke and had many, but Hanna was barren and unable to give Elke children. In that culture, this was considered a curse from God.
Elke, being a devout and faithful man, went to the city of Shiloh every year to offer sacrifices. He worshipped at the temple and offered abundant sacrifices for his wives and children. He brought the usual sacrificial portion for Penny and her children, but he always gave a double portion for Hanna, whom he loved.
Penny knew whom Elke really loved, so she often chided Hanna for her barren womb and waited until just the right moment to do so. This was usually about the time Hanna was preparing to go to the temple and worship with her husband. That’s when Penny reminded her of the curse from God and her barren womb. Hanna took this mocking hard, weeping openly and bitterly; sometimes unable to eat for days. After one such episode, her husband tried his best to console Hanna during breakfast. He touched her gently and said:
“Hanna, why are you feeling so sorry for yourself, crying and not eating all the time like this? Isn’t one strong and true husband better than ten sons?” Hanna smiled at her husband through her tears, but the burden on her heart was great. Hanna did her best to bear up under the grief and understood that it wasn’t exactly her husband’s fault.
She went to the temple alone that same day. As she walked through the door, a temple Priest named Eli was sitting on a stool near the doorposts. Read More. . .