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       "Disorder" and 7 Other Flashes of Character, p.4

           J. Timothy King
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many sons and daughter. Now, this was back in the day, you understand, when it was very important for a man to have many children to carry on his legacy.”

  Ted nodded.

  “But his other wife, Hannah...” He shook his head. “Not so many children. As a matter of fact, Hannah had no children at all. Whenever she had gotten pregnant, she had lost the child. So not only did she not have any children, she also suffered the loss of every child she ever might have had.

  “Now, Elkanah loved both of his wives very much, and he loved Hannah especially. So each year, when they traveled up to the Tabernacle at Shiloh—which back then was the Holy City of Israel— Elkanah would give each of his wives a part of the sacrifice, but he gave Hannah twice as much.

  “I personally think he felt sorry for her and wanted to make her feel special.

  “But, eh, that kind of backfired on Hannah. P’ninnah didn’t take too kindly to playing second fiddle, and she taunted Hannah every chance she got. She made fun of her for having no children, and did everything she could think of to make Hannah feel miserable, until Hannah was so upset, she sank into depression and wouldn’t eat. She just sat and cried.

  “This happened every year. And so Elkanah came to her, and held her head, and caressed her, and said to her, ‘Please don’t cry. Don’t you know that I love you? And aren’t I worth more to you than even ten sons?’

  “But Hannah continued to feel bad.”

  Ted knew the feeling.

  “So she went to the Tabernacle, and she prayed to God. She was so upset, she couldn’t even speak the words. She just silently wept and whispered to herself, hoping that God would hear her thoughts. And she made God a promise, that if he gave her a son, she would dedicate him to God’s service.

  “But the priest saw her and thought she was drunk. And he scolded her, ‘How long will you keep getting drunk!?’

  “So that’s what she got for her trouble.

  “She pleaded with him, though, that she had not drunk at all, but that she was in grief and pouring out her soul to God.

  “So the priest softened his voice and blessed her and said, ‘May God grant you what you’ve asked.’”

  At this point, the old, Jewish man struggled to his feet and began to move on. Ted had been transfixed by the man’s story and felt as though he had now been cut off mid-stream. He was bewildered that the man would get up and walk away, just like that, without finishing the story.

  “So, how did it turn out?” Ted asked, exasperated. “For Hannah?” “Oh,” the man said. “She had a baby boy, who grew up to be a judge and prophet, one of the most eminent men in Jewish history. She named him Samuel, which means, ‘God has heard,’ because, she said, ‘I asked the Lord for him.’ You may have heard stories of Samuel.” Yes, Ted had, and he decided not to give up, not just yet.

  If you liked these stories,

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