October 1, 2023 – 1 Samuel 1

Lesson Date: October 1, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

AIM: To lead students to discover and describe the great promise Hannah made to God and her great faithfulness in keeping that promise, and to encourage them to keep any promises they have made to God.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 1 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Promise” on the board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Promise” written on the board.  Ask: “What is a promise?”  After allowing time for some responses, tell the class that a promise is a vow or pledge to do something.

Ask: “Do we ever make promises?” (yes).  Tell the class that all of us make promises, some of which are as mundane as, “I’ll stop by the store and pick up the groceries on my way home from work,” while others are as important as, “I take you to be my husband/wife and promise to love you and live with you the rest of my life.”  State that promises are a part of everyday life.

Ask: “Has anyone ever broken a promise they made to you?” (everyone has experienced a broken promise).  Ask: “How did it make you feel when someone broke their promise to you?”  Allow time for responses.  Tell the students that a broken promise is a violation of your trust; it is basically a lie.  State that just as promises are a part of everyday life, broken promises are also very common.

Ask: “Have you ever made a promise to God that you did not keep?  Have you ever committed to do something for the Lord, but didn’t do it?”

Tell the students that the title of today’s lesson is A Faithful Promise.  Tell them we will learn about a woman who made and kept a very important promise to God.



  1. Review and Introduction to 1 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Redemption Complete; we discovered what happened when Boaz completed his promised redemption of Ruth, and what Jesus does when He redeems us).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (2 Cor. 5:21).
    • Tell the students today we begin a nine-week study of the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.
    • Briefly introduce 1 Samuel by sharing the following:
      • The book tells about the transition from the limited rule of the Judges to the centralized national rule of a king.
      • 1 Samuel begins shortly after the events described in the books of Judges and Ruth.
      • The three main characters in 1 Samuel are Samuel, Israel’s first national leader after Joshua, Saul, Israel’s first king, and David, Israel’s greatest king.
  2. Hannah’s Great Need.
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:1-2.
    • Explain the following:
        • Elkanah lived in Ramah (locate on the Map), which in verse 1 is called by its ancient name Ramathaim-zophim.
        • Elkanah had two wives.
        • Polygamy was common in ancient times, but it has never been God’s plan for marriage.
        • Every time polygamy appears in the Bible, family strife, jealousy, and trouble resulted.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what was Hannah’s problem?” (she had no children).
    • Tell the class that while childbearing is seen only as an option or a choice today, it was very important in ancient times.
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:3-4.
    • Ask: “What did Elkanah do every year?” (took his family to worship and offer sacrifices at the Tabernacle in Shiloh; locate Shiloh on the Map).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:5.
    • Ask: “Why did he give Hannah ‘a worthy portion’ to offer?” (because he loved her).
    • Ask: “What else does verse 5 reveal about Hannah?” (“the Lord had shut up her womb”).
    • Remind the students that last week we learned it is the Lord who gives conception (see Ruth 4:13).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:6-8.
    • Ask: “According to verses 6 and 7, how did Elkanah’s other wife (Peninnah) treat Hannah?” (she ridiculed her harshly and repeatedly because of her childlessness).
    • Ask: “What do verses 7 and 8 reveal about Hannah’s emotional state?” (she was so grieved and saddened that she wept and would not eat).
    • Summarize: Hannah was childless in a culture that viewed barren women as worthless. Hannah’s great need was to have a son.
  3. Hannah’s Great Promise.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:9-10.
    • Ask: “What did Hannah do?” (she went to “the temple” – literally the Tabernacle – where she wept and poured out her heart in prayer to God).
    • Ask: “Have you ever prayed like that?”
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:11.
    • Tell the class that Hannah made a vow or promise to God.
    • Ask: “What did she promise the Lord?” (if He would give her a son, she promised to give that son back to serve the Lord all of his life).
    • Explain that since she promised never to shave or cut her son’s hair, this was a Nazarite vow (see Num. 6).
    • Ask: “Can you imagine begging God for something you really wanted or needed, and then vowing to give it away?” (probably not; most of us are selfish people who ask God for things we want to keep).
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:12-16.
    • Ask: “What did Eli the priest think when he saw Hannah praying?” (he thought she was drunk; it’s sad to realize that a priest of God couldn’t tell the difference between a heartfelt prayer and the actions of a drunk!).
    • Tell the class that Hannah assured Eli she was not drunk, saying, “I … have poured out my soul before the Lord.”
    • Summarize: Hannah’s great need drove her to make a great promise to God; she begged God to give her a son, promising to give that son back to Him.
  4. Hannah’s Great God.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:17-18.
    • Ask: “Now that Eli understood that Hannah was pouring out her heart to God, begging Him to meet her great need, what did Eli say to Hannah in verse 17?” (he told her to go in peace and asked the God of Israel to grant her request).
    • Ask: “Is God able to hear and answer the prayers of His children, even when circumstances seem impossible?” (yes; see Luke 1:37).
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, what effect did Eli’s words about God have on Hannah?” (they so greatly encouraged her that she was no longer sad and could once again eat).
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:19-20.
    • Tell the class that Elkanah took his family back home to Ramah.
    • Ask: “What happened after they got home?” (Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy).
    • Ask: “What did she name her baby boy?” (Samuel).
    • Explain that the name Samuel means, “heard of God”; Hannah named him that because she had asked God for a baby and God heard and answered her prayer.
    • Stress the fact that the God of the Bible is the great Creator of everything, the giver of life, and the one who gives conception.
    • Summarize: Hannah’s great God heard and answered her prayer, giving her the son for which she had so earnestly prayed.
  5. Hannah’s Great Faithfulness.
    • Ask the students to put themselves in Hannah’s place: imagine that you are the ridiculed and mocked childless wife who, through God’s mercy, finally has a baby.
    • Ask: “Would you be inclined to give that baby away?” (probably not; you would probably fear that God would never give you another baby, assuming that He would “understand” if you kept this baby for yourself).
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:21-22.
    • Tell the class that Elkanah continued to take his family to worship the Lord every year.
    • Ask: “Did Hannah and her baby go with the family?” (no).
    • Ask: “What promise did she make to her husband?” (as soon as the baby was weaned, she would take him and give him to the Lord forever).
    • Explain that it was customary in ancient times for a mother to nurse her baby for two to three years, during which time it was totally dependent on her.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:23.
    • Ask: “Did Elkanah agree with Hannah’s plan?” (yes).
    • Read 1 Samuel 1:24-25.
    • Ask: “Did Hannah keep her promise to bring Samuel to the house of the Lord at Shiloh?” (yes).
    • Tell the class that Elkanah’s family offered their sacrifices and brought Samuel to Eli.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 1:26-28.
    • Ask: “According to verse 26, how did Hannah identify herself to Eli?” (she reminded him of her earnest prayer that he had witnessed).
    • Ask: “According to verse 27, what did she say about her great God’s ability to answer prayer?” (she said she prayed for this child and the Lord gave him to her).
    • Ask: “What did she say about the child in verse 28?” (she gave him back to the Lord to serve Him the rest of his life).
    • Summarize: Hannah’s great faithfulness was exhibited in the fact that she kept her promise to give her beloved son Samuel to the Lord.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that the title of today’s lesson is A Faithful Promise.  Tell them as we studied 1 Samuel 1, we learned about Hannah’s great need, her great promise, her great God, and finally about her great faithfulness to keep her promise to God.

Ask: “What about you?  Have you made any promises to God that you haven’t kept?  Did you promise to read the Bible daily or witness to a lost friend?  Did you promise to begin tithing or increase your giving?  Did you promise not to make the same mistake again that brought you trouble in the past?  Did you promise not to commit a certain sin?”

Tell the students this is the most important question: “Have you kept your promises to God?”

Tell everyone that if we break a promise to a friend, we should apologize and then correct the situation as soon as possible.  Tell them the same is true if we have broken a promise to God.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Urge them to confess their sins to God, and to ask for His help in keeping the promises they have made to Him.  After a moment of silence, voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 Samuel 1:27.  Tell them to think about specific things they need to do to keep their promises to God, and then to do them.

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