SETTING: About 1070 B.C. in a temple in the Israelite city of Shiloh. The left side of the stage is the “temple” area. The two chairs with the basket in between them are on the right side of the stage creating the “home” of Hannah and Elkanah. The baby doll is concealed within the basket. Hannah is kneeling down in prayer in the temple. The rest of the actors are offstage, waiting for their cues.
NARRATOR: Hannah was an Israelite woman married to a man named Elkanah. Although Elkanah was a good husband and loved his wife very much, Hannah was still very unhappy. She wanted desperately to have a child. So far, God had given her no children. This made her feel sad and empty. One day, while Hannah and Elkanah were visiting the city of Shiloh, Hannah went to the Temple to pray. While she prayed to God, she made a very special promise.
HANNAH: (Pleadingly.) O Lord, if you give me a child, I will soon give him back to You; neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head.
(Hannah continues to pray, however, quietly, with just her lips moving. The priest Eli enters the temple and looks at Hannah suspiciously.)
NARRATOR: Hannah continued to pray quietly. The priest of the Temple, Eli, noticed Hannah. He couldn’t tell that she was praying and thought instead that perhaps she had had too much wine.
ELI: (Angrily.) How long will you make a show of yourself? Pull yourself together!
(Hannah is startled by Eli. She then stands up to talk to him.)
HANNAH: (Imploringly.) I was only pouring out my trouble to God.
ELI: (In a much more patient tone.) Well then, go in peace and may God grant you what you ask.
(Appearing tired, Hannah leaves the Temple while her husband Elkanah goes onstage to meet her centerstage. They stroll to their “home” area on the right side of the stage. Eli exits the stage. Hannah and Elkanah sit down on the chairs at their “home,”)
NARRATOR: Hannah felt much better after she poured her heart out to God.
(Hannah begins to smile. Elkanah is happy to see her at peace once again and smiles as well.)
NARRATOR: She and her husband returned to their home in the town of Ramah, and before long, Hannah was blessed with a baby boy.
(Hannah takes the baby doll from the basket. She gazes lovingly at the baby. While Elkanah looks on cheerfully.)
NARRATOR: Hannah and her husband named their baby boy Samuel. They loved Samuel with all of their hearts. However, Hannah remembered her promise to God and knew that one day soon, she would have to give Samuel back to God at the Temple in Shiloh.
(Hannah looks toward heaven, remembering her prayer and promise to God.)
NARRATOR: Finally, when Samuel was old enough and no longer needed Hannah for nourishment, it was time to take him to the Temple.
(Hannah sets the baby doll back in the basket and Samuel as a small boy enters the stage and goes to stand by Hannah.)
HANNAH: (Lovingly.) Oh Samuel, you are growing so fast!
ELKANAH: (In a serious tone.) Hannah, it is time for our yearly pilgrimage to Shiloh, and Samuel is now old enough to come with us. Remember your promise to our Lord … we must leave Samuel with Eli, the priest at the Temple.
HANNAH: (Somberly.) Yes, you are right. It is time.
(Narrator waits while the family makes their journey to Shiloh. Hannah, Elkanah, and Samuel exit the stage from the house side, walk through a small area of the audience and then return to the stage on the Temple side. Hannah and Elkanah appear downtrodden during this “journey” while Samuel appears oblivious to their sadness. Meanwhile, Eli reenters the Temple to wait.)
NARRATOR: Although it was very difficult for Hannah to relinquish Samuel, she knew it was important to keep her promise to God.
(Hannah, Elkanah, and Samuel approach Eli in the Temple and quietly present Samuel to Eli.)
HANNAH: (Sadly.) I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now, I in turn, give him to the Lord.
(Hannah gently shoves Samuel towards Eli. Hannah then begins to weep and buries her head in her hands. Elkanah gently guides her offstage. Eli begins to pantomime giving Samuel instructions about living in the Temple.)
NARRATOR: When Hannah and Elkanah returned home, Samuel remained in the service of the Lord under the priest Eli. Hannah never forgot her son. Every time she and Elkanah made a pilgrimage to Shiloh, she would visit Samuel. God rewarded Hannah for her sacrifice by blessing her with five more children. When Samuel was a grown man, he became a wonderful prophet and judge.