Year “W” Bible Study

June 26th Readings – Year W 1 Samuel 1:19-28; Psalm 69:10-20,30-33; Acts 2:43-47; Matthew 15:29-39

A Reading from 1st Samuel
Hannah and Elkanah rose early in the morning and bowed down and worshiped beore the Holy One of Old; then they turned back and went to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his Wife Hannah, and the HOLY ONE remembered her. And it was with the turning of the days that Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She called his name Samuel (God hears), for she said, “From the God Who Hears have I asked him.”
Now the man Elkanah went up along with his whole household to offer to the Holy One the yearly sacrifice, and on account of a vow. Yet Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned, then will I bring him, that he may be seen in the presence of the Most High and remain there perpetually. I will present him as a nazirite in perpetuity, for all the days of. his life.” Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what is best in your eyes, stay until you have weaned him. May the Faithful God establish the words of your mouth.” So, the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. And she took him up with her after she had weaned him along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a jug of wine.
Hannah brought him to the house of the Ever—Living God at Shiloh and the boy was just a little boy. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the boy to Eli. And Hannah said, “My lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman, the one who was standing beside you in this place to pray to the God Who Hears. For this boy I prayed; and the Faithful God gave me my asking, what I asked from God. Therefore have I bequeathed him to the Gracious God; all his days will he be a bequest to the God Whose Name Is Holy” So she left him there and she bowed down and worshipped the Faithful God. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm 69: 10-21, 30—33

Now I humbled my soul with fasting,
and they reviled me.

And I wore sackcloth as my clothing,
and I became to them a byword.

They speak against me, they who sit in the city gates,
while the drunkards make songs about me.

Yet I make my prayer to you, the Wisdom Of The Ages.
At a favorable time, God, in the wealth of your faithful love, answer me,
with your certain salvation.

Rescue me from the mire,
and let me not sink;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.

Let not the flood waters overwhelm me,
let not the Deep swallow me up;
let not the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, Gracious God, for your faithful love is good;
according to the wealth of your love, turn to me.

Do not hide your face from your slave,
for I am in distress; hurry to answer me.

Draw near to my soul and redeem her,
on account of my enemies, deliver me.

Indeed, you know of my reviling,
and my shame and my disgrace;
all my adversaries are before you.

Reviling has broken my heart
and I am despair.
I looked for consolation, but there was none;
and for comforters and I found none.

I will praise the name of God with song;
I will magnify her with thanksgiving.

This will please the Creator Of All more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hooves.

Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts flourish.

For the Faithful God hears the needy,
and those who belong to her and are imprisoned,
she does not despise.

Let the heavens and earth praise her,
the seas and everything that moves in them.

A Reading from Acts
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All Who believed were as one and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as they had need. Dail they continued with the same purpose in the temple; they broke bread at home and ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. They praised God and had the gratitude of all the people. And day by day the Holy One added to their number those who were being saved. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Matthew 15:29-39

After Jesus had left Tyre and Sidon, he went by the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, sitting down there. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them disabled, blind, and mute people, and people missing body parts along with many Others. Then they put them at his feet, and he healed them so that the crowd was amazed when they saw mute people speaking, people missing body parts made whole, disabled people walking, and blind people seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have stayed with me for three days now and have nothing to eat, and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might collapse on the road.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get so much bread in the desert as to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples; the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled, and they took up the abundance of fragments, seven baskets full. Those who ate were women and children besides four thousand men. Then sending away the crowds he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

Text Notes

According to Targum Onqelos, Hannah worships on her own in 1 Samuel 1:19,
without her husband. She names her child in accordance with the broader practice in ancient Israel; thc episodes where God or a father name a child should be viewed as exceptions. Hannah’s participation in the slaughter of her offering is signaled by the “they” in verse 25; the exact nature of that participation is unclear. I chose “God Who Hears” to render the divine name in 1 Samuel 1:20 to reiterate the etymology of Samuel’s name. Some scholars argue that the etymology belongs more properly to Saul whose name stems from the verb for “to ask”; the “bequest” of verse 28 is the same spelling and pronunciation of Saul, Shaul. Hannah’s last line in verse 22, “I will present him…” comes from the Qumran scroll 4QSam and is not present elsewhere. According to the older reading supported by the LXX, in verse 23 Elkanah prays that God would establish the words of Hannah’s mouth; the Maso-
retic Text has “the words of God’s mouth.” The same scroll corrects “three bulls” in verse 24 to “three year—old bull.” The end of verse 24 is simply the word for “boy” or “youth” repeated twice; the meaning must be reconstructed and construed from con text. I use “bequeath/ bequest” in verse 28 to mirror the continuing verb “ask” now in a causative form that indicates fulfilling a request. The very last line occurs in two forms: “They bowed down and worshipped God there” from the MT and “she left him there and worshipped” from Qumran.

In verse 12 of the psalm, the words “about me” are lacking at the end of the verse but clearly implied. The “Deep” and the “Pit” in verse 15 are legendary sites associated with death, in some ways parallel to Sheol. In verse 16 God’s maternal love is love that emanates from and shares the same root as the womb. The grammatical gender of the soul is feminine, hence my “Draw near to my soul and redeem her” in verse 18 (along with the Targum and LXX) counter to the first person in NRSV: CEB, and JPS. Hooves in verse 31 are the euphemistic “dividers.”

In Matthew 15:30—31 I have changed “the mute, the blind” to “mute people,
blind people,” because people are not their disabilities. In verse 32 “compassion,” splagchnizomai, emanates from the splagclmon, “inner organs,” similar to the way mother-love comes from the womb. I have inverted the order of the diners in verse 38, removing the women and children from the ancillary position.

Preaching Prompts

God provides. God provides the child for which Hannah longs, a common biblical trope with little correlation in the srcipture reading world, making this a difficult text to receive as exemplar. In the psalm that reads as though Hannah penned it herself, God provides emotional support and relief for the oppressed, including oppressive interpersoanl dynamics; a reminder that not all violence and conflict is physical. In Acts 2 the community that walks the Way of Jesus provides for the needy in their midst, followmg the example of Jesus in today’s Gospel.

The healings in today’s Gospel immediately follow the healing of the Canaanite woman or girl at her mother’s request. Word has gotten out. Has she become an evangelist in the space between two verses? Jesus has traveled back from the shore to an unidentified mountain near the Sea of Galilee; the sea was a bit over twenty miles away as the crow flies. While they are in Galilee, there is no telling from whence the people have come. Jesus sits as though for teaching yet is unclear Whether that was his initial purpose; they were there for three days, verse 32, with no mention of teaching at all. Jesus seems to have simply made himself available for whatever needs the people had. Three days at the feet of Jesus, witnessing
miracle after miracle. Was that all that happened before the multiplication miracle? Did people visit with Jesus? Did he walk among them, touching, blessing, encouraging, or even playing with the children? The treasure of those three days is made more complicated by a text that reflects the cultural values of its age, that variably abled people need to be fixed, and that wholeness and health look a particular way.

As in the previous story, the disciples fall significantly short of being pastoral.
They are not yet shepherds. They do not see the need and when made aware of it, focus on their limitations and finite resources. There is no little boy and his lunch. The meager resources are either their own or they have collected them, perhaps from mothers or wives or often erased female disciples who packed a lunch.