After weaning him, she took him up with her, along with three young bulls, a bushel of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of The LORD in Shiloh, even though he was just a child.
As she promised, Hannah gives her son Sh’mu’el (Samuel) to The LORD as soon as he is weaned. I don’t quite understand why she made this arrangement. My wife and I have been blessed to have no struggles with fertility, so it is a foreign matter to me. Her husband loved her, so it doesn’t seem like she was seeking to gain something from giving him a son. Perhaps she felt called to have a son for her own sake? Perhaps she was a righteous woman who was destined to bring a lofty soul into the world to serve the Almighty and He placed the desire in her heart? There is a lot going on here. I have no real conclusions to draw, but there are some elements that stand out to me.
Two different translations give a different reading to the closing verse of the chapter. The JPS makes it sound like Hannah and Eli and maybe even young Samuel prostrate themselves before The LORD. The CJB and KJV make it sound like either Eli or Samuel is the one to prostrate himself. Also the typical Biblical time of weaning seems to be 3 years old. Some cultures go even later, but in the ancient world a toddler seems a bit out of place in a Temple setting. Perhaps one of the Cohen women could have taken care of young Samuel along with her other children. I don’t remember what happens next with him, but I am pretty sure he is 3, maybe on the cusp of 4 when he is dedicated to the Tabernacle. I think the clue is in the three bulls Hannah brings to offer: one for each year she had her son all to herself. Another observation is that Hannah seems to pledge for Samuel to be a Nazarite like Samson and John the Baptist. That is a powerful restriction to place on a child from birth, but I suppose it shows how dedicated Hannah was to have a son and truly offer him into service of The LORD. Hannah’s humility and faith are striking examples of how the faithful can walk.