With the birth of Samuel, we have yet another mother who was barren, who conceived a son by the supernatural intervention of the LORD. All of the sons who have followed this pattern before in Scripture, have been types of Messiah, and the barrenness of their mothers have been prophecies prophesying of the supernatural birth of Yeshua our Messiah: Sarah and Isaac; Rebekah and Jacob; Rachel and Joseph; the woman of Dan and Samson. And now, Hannah and Samuel.
The first part of 1 Samuel 1 forms a chiastic structure:
1 Sam 1:1-20
1A: 1 Sam 1:1-2, Hannah had no children;
1B: 1 Sam 1:3-5, Elkanah went up to Shiloh + he loved Hannah his wife;
1C: 1 Sam 1:6-8, Her rival provoked her severely so that she did not eat;
CENTRAL AXIS: 1 Sam 1:9-18a, Hannah’s prayer and vow before the LORD;
2C: 1 Sam 1:18b, Hannah went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad;
2B: 1 Sam1:19, Elkanah returned from Shiloh + he knew Hannah his wife;
1A: 1 Sam 1:20, Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel.
The central axis is Hannah’s vow to the LORD, that her son will be given to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head. She was in fact vowing that he would be a Nazirite, one who is not of the priesthood but who is consecrated or set apart to the LORD, from his mother’s womb (Num 6). Samson (another Messiah type) was also a Nazirite from his mother’s womb.
Once Samuel was weaned, his parents gave him to Eli the high priest, in order to lend him to the LORD as long as he lived. So Samuel ministered to the LORD, it says, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod (1 Sam 2:18). The ephod is a garment of the priesthood, and the one who wore it heard the voice of the LORD. I am not sure how all that worked, but ephods were connected with the priesthood and with hearing God’s voice and relaying it to the people. The two places in the book of Judges where idols are described, they are in the form of a gold or silver ephod (Jud 8:27, 17:5).
Samuel is being introduced as a type of Messiah, by his supernatural birth, by his consecration as a Nazirite, and by his ministering to the LORD from childhood. Another clue is:
And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men. 1 Sam 2:26
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luk 2:52
By thematic analysis, Scripture is linking the childhood of Samuel with the childhood of Jesus, in order to reveal that Samuel is a type of Messiah. What is interesting about Samuel, is that he ministered before the LORD, wearing a linen ephod, but he was not of the house of Aaron or Levi. Scripture is painting a picture of him as priest, and yet not of the Levitical priesthood, whose priests, it is revealed to us today, were also subject to sin in need of a Savior. This is a prophecy of Yeshua our High Priest, who is not of the Levitical priesthood, and yet who is faithful in all the LORD’s house as a Son (Heb 3:1-6).
What is the significance of all this? Let us see, as we read of Samuel’s life, what Scripture will teach us concerning the ministry of Messiah Yeshua through it!