I was recently listening to V. Phillips Long lecturing on Old Testament history. In discussing Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel, he noted how interesting it was that Eli, the man of God, could not tell the difference between a heavy heart crying out to God and drunkenness, and his presumption was drunkenness.
What does that say about the state of the nation of Israel, the atmosphere at the feasts, and the spiritual discernment and leadership of Eli?
I am not sure since the Bible does not tell us, but it sure does not look good.
Apparently, drunkenness at the feast was a fairly common occurrence for Eli to presume that Hannah was drunk. And Eli seems to be a pretty poor excuse for a priest, at least at some levels. He failed to hear and recognize the voice of God, which was infrequent in those days (1 Sam 3:1ff.). He failed to lead his sons either as a priest over them or as a father (1 Sam 2).
What to make of Eli’s confusion between prayer and drunkenness? Not sure, but it sparks some thinking for me.