Saturday, June 19, 2010


Hannah was a wonderful woman of faith and is among my favorite women in the Old Testament. Hannah was married to a devout Israelite man named Elkanah who also h
ad another wife, named Peninnah. Elkanah and Peninnah had several children together, but Hannah remained childless.
The Old Testament mentions the word mother, or one of its derivatives, 232 times, which is 50 percent more than all of the other standard works combined. This shows the significance of mothers in the Old Testament. To be childless in this society must have been devastating for Hannah. She knew the importance of being a mother and all of her thoughts must have been about becoming a mother and holding her baby in her arms
Each year Elkanah took his family to worship and offer sacrifice at the tabernacle in Shiloh. There he gave Penninah and her children a portion but he gave Hannah a double portion because of his love for her. He may have done this too because she did not have any children. This must have made Peninnah very jealous because she began to taunt Hannah about being childless.
One day Hannah became so heartbroken that she wouldn’t even eat and her husband could not comfort her. She then went up to the tabernacle, and prayed with great weeping. In her prayer she asked God for a son and in return she vowed to give that son back to God for the service of the Shiloh priests. She promised he would remain a Nazarite all the days of his life.
Eli the High Priest came upon her and saw her praying. Hannah was silently moving her lips and sobbing so deeply that he thought she was drunk and questioned her. When she explained that she was not drunk but was pouring her heart out to the Lord, he told her to “Go in Peace and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou has asked of him.”
As promised, she conceived and bore a son. She called his name Samuel saying, Because “I have asked him of Jehovah”. Now it would have been easy for Hannah to rationalize her promise, To thank God and keep her treasured child. But she did not go back on her word. She raised Samuel until he was weaned and brought him to the tabernacle. She presented her precious son to Eli the priest so that he could grow up and worship the Lord there.
The amazing thing to me about Hannah is that she was not bitter at all. She was truly grateful to the Lord for her son and seems triumphant in returning Samuel back to him. In her song, she looks beyond the gift and praises the giver.
"My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God." (I Samuel 2:1-2)
Because of her great faith Hannah continued to be blessed by the Lord. After this, she had several more sons and daughters. She was also able to visit her son in the tabernacle each year and to see Samuel become an instrument of the Lord. Samuel became a great prophet and judge in the land. Because Hannah asked of the Lord, all of Israel was blessed.

In reading this story, there are many similarities between Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Hannah. I can’t help but think that Hannah was an inspiration to Mary.

~First of all, both women raised their sons knowing that they were to be given to the Lord. Unlike other Hebrew sons, they would not grow up and have normal lives, marry, have children and be there for their aging parents. They were raised for a greater, more holy purpose. Their children’s lives were dedicated to the Lord and solely for doing his will.
~Hannah refers to herself three times as a “handmaid” of the Lord, signifying that she is a servant of the Lord too. When Mary is told by the angel of God that she is going to be the mother of Jesus, she also refers to herself as his “handmaiden”. Both of these women show their humility and willingness to undergo whatever the Lord asked of them, no matter what the consequences.
~Both of their reactions were similar. They each praised God, no matter what trials or opposition they faced.
~The birth of each of their firstborn sons were miracles.
Hannah praises the Lord and refers to “his anointed”. This was another name for the Messiah. Can you imagine Mary’s comfort in knowing that Hannah was looking forward to the birth of her child, the Messiah to come? Her testimony, her faith and trust in Jesus Christ must have given Mary great strength. I love Hannah for this!


Anonymous said...

I'm doing a research project on Hannah, and from my point of view, she seems to be a very faithful and commiting person.

Anonymous said...

This story brings tears to my eyes. I too cried before the Lord praying for a child. He eventually blessed me with a son and I named him Samuel.