Elkanah, A Model Father

by Gene Taylor

The responsibility God gives to fathers is great. Ephesians 6:4 tells them that they must bring up their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Sadly, many fathers, even those who claim to be Christians, fail to accept the responsibilities of fatherhood causing much grief in many families.

It behooves us, therefore, to teach men their God-given responsibilities in respect to their children. One of the best ways to do that is to study the examples given to us in the Bible of those men who were good fathers.

There are many men we could consider. Abraham, Zebedee, and Joseph, the "father" of Jesus, come to mind. In this article, though, we will focus on a character that is not widely known or closely studied. We will examine the example of Elkanah, the father of Samuel.

Elkanah is presented unto us in the first chapter of First Samuel. Though it does not seem that much information is given concerning him as a father, in reality, there is a great deal to be learned from him in this text (1 Samuel 1:1-28).

He Set An Example Of Worship And Service

He was concerned with worshiping God (1 Sam. 1:3). This speaks more of him than stating his wealth, physical appearance, fame, etc. Notice, he did not go to worship alone. His family accompanied him (1 Sam. 1:21). Children need to accompany parents to all services.

He trained his family to worship by supplying them with individual portions for sacrifice to God (1 Sam. 1:4). Fathers need to train their children to worship properly today.

He Loved His Wife

He loved Hannah, his wife, the mother of his children (1 Sam. 1:5). Husbands are to love their wives (Eph. 5:25). Through the love a husband has for his wife, the love for their children is revealed. Someone has said, "The best thing a father can do for his children is to be a good husband to their mother."

He Cooperated In Rearing Their Child

Hannah prayed to God for a son and promised to devote him to service to Him if her prayer were answered (1 Sam. 1:11). Elkanah concurred with her decision and allowed his son Samuel to be given to Eli, the priest (1 Sam. 1:3).

He Was Possessed By God

The name Elkanah means "God has possessed." He was the man he was, the husband he was, and the father he was because he was God-possessed. He had given himself to God. God was in control of his life. Such is probably the key to success in fatherhood—whether or not one's life has been given in submission to the will of God.