The exegesis of scene six in 1 Samuel 1:21-23 enables us to make this Summary Statement: Will Hannah give Samuel to the Lord as vowed? The Summary Statement which is the meaning for the original audience will be converted into a Timeless Principle or meaning for our modern audience: Will we give our best to God back to God? when He answers prayers?
If the story in 1 Samuel 1 were a simple plot, then the narrative would quickly come to its conclusion because the conflict has been solved. Barren Hannah has given birth to her son. But the story is not a simple plot; it is a complex plot with scene six introducing the turning point or new conflict which must be solved before the plot can end. There is a location change in v.21 which helps to identify the new scene. Elkanah’s intention in v.21 is to immediately take Samuel to the house of the LORD in Shiloh (location change) and present him for full-time service as Hannah vowed in v.11 However, Hannah had other plans as expressed in the first of two dialogues. Hannah is not going to take Samuel to Shiloh until she has weaned him. The word “wean” is used three times in scene six and once in scene seven and is the focus of the conflict. According to 2nd Maccabees 7:27, breast feeding could take three years. “O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endured the troubles of education,” pleads the mother in 2nd Maccabees for her son not to renounce his faith before Antiochus. Once Hannah’s son is weaned, she will take Samuel to the house of the LORD for full-time service where he will “there abide for ever.”
The new conflict arises because Elkanah thinks Hannah is selfishly postponing the service of her son because she does not intend to ever present him to the LORD. In the second dialogue of the scene six, Elkanah uses a word from the time of Judges. Elkanah says to Hannah, “Do what is good in your eyes .” That phrase is used in Judges 17:6 and 21:25 to describe the moral and religious selfishness that characterized Israel at her lowest point. Elkanah compares the selfishness of Hannah to the selfishness of morally and religiously apostate Israel. Whereas Hannah stresses keeping Samuel until he is weaned so she can bring him to the LORD and “there” he would remain for ever in service to the LORD; Elkanah sees Hannah allowing Samuel to tarry (here) at home. Both view the same event, weaning, differently. The conflict is whether Hannah is going to keep her part of the vow made back in v.11. Hannah is not postponing presenting Samuel for full-time service but rather, Hannah is preparing Samuel for full-time service. “Hannah has chosen to lay the foundations of Samuel’s life herself by protecting the most intimate and physical phase of the mother-child relationship and by keeping him with her. Before the child removes to the temple, he can enjoy the oral phases at home, close to his loving mother, who thus vouches for a substantial basis to the development of his personality,” observed Fokkelman. J.Carl Laney agrees: “The word translated ‘weaned’ literally means ‘dealt fully with’ and may include the idea of spiritual training as well. It may well be that Samuel learned of the importance of prayer from this godly mother at a very young age and thus became a great prophet of prayer.” The summary statement for scene six is a question: Is Hannah postponing or preparing her son for the full-time service ?
 Manuel Komroff, ed., The Apocrypha (New York: Tudor, 1937), 327.
Fokkelman, Narrative Art and Poetry in the Books of Samuel, 65.
Laney, Carl L. First and Second Samuel, (Chicago: Moody, 1982), 19.