II. HIS BIRTH
"In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son; and she called his name Samuel, For, she said, I asked for him of Jehovah" (v. 20). This verse speaks of Samuel’s birth, which came through God’s answer to man’s prayer. His name means "heard of God" or "asked for of God."
III. HIS YOUTH
A. Offered to Jehovah by His Mother
to Fulfill Her Vow to God
In his youth, perhaps at the age of two or three, Samuel was offered to Jehovah by his mother to fulfill her vow to God (vv. 21-28, 11). It was not easy for Hannah to take her child from her bosom and place him under the custody of another person, especially a very old person who had nearly lost his sight. Nevertheless, Hannah fulfilled her vow by offering Samuel to God.
B. To Be a Nazarite
As we have seen, in his youth Samuel was offered to Jehovah to be a Nazarite (v. 11b).
C. The Offering Mother’s Prayer
In 2:1-10 we have the offering mother’s prayer. In her prayer she praised God for His salvation through His marvelous deeds. Her prayer was related to God’s move in His economy and indicated that she realized something concerning God’s economy.
D. Ministering to Jehovah before Eli the Priest
In his youth Samuel ministered to Jehovah before Eli the priest (vv. 11b, 18-19). To do anything requires some learning. Eli taught Samuel the way to minister to God.
1. As a Priest Not by Birth
but by the Nazarite Vow
Samuel ministered to the Lord as a priest not by birth but by the Nazarite vow. By birth most of us have no standing. We were Gentiles, but God had ordained the Jews. Yet there is a "back door"—the Nazarite vow. Such a vow was ordained by God in Numbers 6. That opened the door for any person to be a priest. Samuel became a priest in this way, not in the ordained way but in the way of a voluntary vow.
2. Supported by His Mother
First Samuel 2:19 indicates that Samuel was supported by his mother. In the Lord’s recovery today, we also need support, and we thank the Lord for the many mothers in the church life.
E. Growing before Jehovah
in Favor Both with Jehovah and with Men
Finally, in his youth Samuel grew before Jehovah in favor both with Jehovah and with men (vv. 21b, 26). To be in favor with God means that God is for us, and to be in favor with men is that men are for us. Samuel was in a position that both God and men were for him. We may experience this in the church life today. If we are real Nazarites, we will be in favor with the saints, and the whole church will be for us. We will enjoy Christ to the uttermost and be a blessing to the church.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Samuel, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)