Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the LORD establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.”
And he worshiped the LORD there.
Comment: It is easy to make promises, but not always easy to keep them! Hannah must have found this hard. Weaning often occurs later in some cultures than in the West. In Africa I have seen grandmothers using their breasts as dummies (comforter) for children several years old. I have read that the word meant in this context that the child reached an age when he could make decisions. This apparently varied with the child from about three to nine years old. I suspect that Samuel may have been four or five when he was taken to be placed in the care of Eli, the priest. Hannah surely felt that the child no longer needed her care as an infant or small child would. She took a sizeable offering to give to God as a sacrifice. As was the custom some of the meat would have been a final parting meal as the parents handed over this much desired child into the care of Eli, but more specifically into the service of the God who had answered her prayer. Samuel was her son but she lent (that is gave) him to God!
Prayer: Let me not back out of promises which I make to you, my God.