Original Research

Interpreting the Hannah narrative (1 Sm 1:1–20) in light of the attitude of the church in Nigeria towards childlessness

Solomon O. Ademiluka
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a2004 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.2004 | © 2019 Solomon O. Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2019 | Published: 11 November 2019

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Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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The Hannah narrative bears close affinities to the African context with respect to the problem of barrenness. Hence, employing the exegetical approach and contextual analysis, this article examines the narrative in relation to the attitude of the church in Nigeria towards the problem of barrenness among its members. The suffering of Hannah resonates with the travails of childless African women; yet, beyond the weekly or monthly prayer services for them, the church has not exploited these similarities enough to assist its barren members. This article states that the church can organise regular programmes to address issues such as causes of barrenness as well as the role of male and female cells in the conception process. It also needs to teach the right attitude of friends and relatives towards childless couples so as to reduce the psychological effects of childlessness particularly on the women. The church can also identify with childless couples by introducing them to the practices of child adoption and surrogacy when all efforts to have children by the natural process fail. As there will always be childless persons in spite of all efforts to have children, the church has the responsibility to make its members accept the fact that children are a gift from God, and that matrimony must not necessarily end in parenthood. Finally, the church in Nigeria needs to assure childless members that they can live happy and fulfilled lives despite their situation of childlessness.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This research involves the disciplines of the Old Testament and Christian Ethics. It examines 1 Samuel 1:1–20 in relation to the attitude of the church in Nigeria towards its childless members, stressing that the church can do more in identifying with them.


Hannah; Barrenness; Childbearing; Church; Nigeria


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