Hannah, Prophetess

Hannah, Prophetess Faith, Promises and Obedience

August 1, 2020

Elkanah had two wives; the name of the primary wife was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had given birth to his children, but Hannah had no children and remained childless.

Hannah who longed for a child in the Scriptures and explains how she took her request to the Lord and how the Lord gives us the Prophet Samuel. Let’s take a look at this story of faith, promises and obedience.

We find Hannah’s story in the Bible at 1 Samuel Chapter 1, 2. The Biblical account is believed to have been written around 1171 B.C.

1 Samuel 1:1 A certain man lived in Ramathaim-zophim, { another name for Ramah} which is in the hill country of Ephraim. He was Jeroham’s son Elkanah, the grandson of Elihu and grandson of Tohu, who was the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite {by residence only}.

Elkanah was a Levite and a priest, because Samuel was a priest and his name means, God Has Created.  Ramah, known as the height {vs 19}, a village about 25 miles north of Jerusalem.

1 Samuel 1:2  He had two wives; the name of one was Hannah {means Grace} and the name of the other was Peninnah {means Pearl}. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1 Samuel 1:3 That man would go up from his town each year to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of the Heavenly Armies at Shiloh, where Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phineas served as priests of the LORD.

Shiloh, located about 40 miles north of Jerusalem, 15 miles north of Ramah, was the religious center for the nation at this time and the location of the tabernacle.

1 Samuel 1:4  On the day when Elkanah offered sacrifices, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters,

1 Samuel 1:5 but he would give twice as much to Hannah because he loved her. Now the LORD had closed her womb.

1 Samuel 1:6 Her rival {Peninnah} would provoke her severely so that she complained loudly because the LORD had closed her womb.

  • He was a godly man but he had a divided home,
  • His favorite wife, Hannah, carried a constant burden of sorrow
  • because of her barrenness and
  • because of the persecution of the other wife.
  • Like many of us, Hannah was sure that she had the right to be bitter.
  • She took every occasion to flaunt her children before Hannah.

1 Samuel 1:7 Elkanah would do this year after year, as often as Hannah went up to the house of the LORD. Likewise, Peninnah would provoke her, and Hannah would cry and would not eat.

This verse shows Hannah’s devotion to the Lord in that she also made annual treks to Shiloh {Feast of Tabernacles} to worship God. she wept and did not eat: Peninnah’s constant taunting drove Hannah to depression.

1 Samuel 1:8 Elkanah her husband told her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why don’t you eat? Why are you upset? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

Elkanah sought to encourage her, he did not do a very good job and told her, Why make such a fuss over having no children?

1 Samuel 1:9 Hannah got up after she had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the chair by the doorpost of the tent of the LORD.

Hannah went over to the Tabernacle. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance to the Tabernacle.

1 Samuel 1:10 Deeply distressed, she prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 

Hannah was a woman of prayer, so it is no surprise to find her son Samuel a great man of prayer. So burdened was her heart that Hannah left the feast without eating and went to the tabernacle to pray.

In her bitterness, Hannah took two vital steps.

  • First, she took her bitterness to God.
  • And second, in prayer she began to reorder priorities.

Hannah made a commitment to dedicate the son she prayed for to the Lord. She no longer wanted a child just for herself. She began to look beyond her own needs, and to envision the good that meeting her need might do for others.

1 Samuel 1:11 Hannah made a vow: “LORD of the Heavenly Armies, if you just look at the misery of your maid servant, remember me, and don’t forget your maid servant. If you give your maid servant a son, then I’ll give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and a razor is never to touch his head.”

  • Hannah did not “bargain” with the Lord; rather, she proved her spirituality by willingly offering God her best—her firstborn son.
  • Hannah’s vow indicates that merely bearing a male child would establish her in the community.

In Hannah prayer and vow, she dedicated her son for lifelong service.

  • We know it is acceptable to God to make vows,
  • Provided they obeyed the laws governing them.
  • Vows were completely voluntary,
  • But the Lord expected the vow to be fulfill
  • What did God say that could be done about a vow.
  • Most vows can be sold or redeemed except for one type of vow.
  • A vow by a wife, if disapproved of by her husband, was not valid.

Numbers 30:13 “Her husband may confirm or revoke every vow and binding obligation that afflicts her.   

**Leviticus 27:1-34: covers the Laws about vows, including and specific Samuel the Prophet,  in verse 28.

Leviticus 27:28 However, anything utterly devoted to the Lord—people, animals, or inherited fields—shall not be sold or redeemed, for they are most holy to the Lord.

Interesting, this is the only vow to God, cannot be redeemed, that I know of.  One vow that is devoted to God and we are required to keep it.  Cannot get out of in any way.

1 Samuel 1:12 As she continued to pray in the LORD’s presence, Eli was watching her mouth.

Observed the motion of her lips, and no doubt her distorted countenance, and uplifted eyes and hands,

Hannah’s prayer was a desperate one, so heartfelt that her lips moved, even though she was praying in her heart.

1 Samuel 1:13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.

1 Samuel 1:14 Eli, High Priest, told her, “How long will you stay drunk? Put away your wine!”

Eli assumed that she had drunk too much wine.

1 Samuel 1:15  “No, sir!” Hannah replied. “I’m a deeply troubled woman. I’ve drunk neither wine nor beer. I’ve been pouring out my soul in the LORD’s presence.

1 Samuel 1:16 Don’t consider your maid servant a worthless woman. Rather, all this time I’ve been speaking because I’m very anxious and distressed.”

1 Samuel 1:17  “Go in peace,” Eli answered. “May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

  • Very encouraging news for her from the High Priest, Eli.
  • He found he was mistaken in her, and
  • that her prayer was not only sober and rational,
  • but religious and spiritual; and therefore dismisses her in peace,

When she explained that she was praying out her anguish and grief, Eli blessed her and Hannah went away with a strange assurance.

1 Samuel 1:18  She said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

Hannah’s changed attitude seems to indicate that she experienced God’s peace as she waited for the answer to her prayer.

That prayer of Hannah’s was answered: she conceived and bore a child whom she named Samuel. A child who would grow up to become one of the Bible’s most significant characters. 

1 Samuel 1:19 They got up early the next morning and worshiped in the LORD’s presence, and then they returned and came to their house at Ramah. Elkanah had marital relations with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her.

1 Samuel 1:20 By the time of the next year’s sacrifice, Hannah had become pregnant and had borne a son. She named him Samuel because she said, “I asked the LORD for him.”

Samuel Given to the Lord

1 Samuel 1:21 Then Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the yearly sacrifice to the LORD and pay his vow.

1 Samuel 1:22 Hannah did not go up because she had told her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I’ll take him to appear in the LORD’s presence and remain there forever.

Israelites children were normally weaned when they were two or three years old, but it is a guess.  Not only from the breast, but also from the mother’s knee and care, and from childish food; ’till the child be something grown up, and fit to do some service in the tabernacle: for it seems that as soon as he was brought up he worshiped God.

1 Samuel 1:23 “Do what you want,” Elkanah told her. “Stay until you have weaned him, only may the LORD bring about what you have said.” So Hannah stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

Hannah vowed concerning Samuel, that he may grow up, and be accepted and employed by God in his Service.

1 Samuel 1:24 Then, when she had weaned him, she brought him up with her to Shiloh, along with a three-year-old bull, a half-bushel of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh, and the boy was young.   {well off} 

1 Samuel 1:25  They slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli.

She needs to give a burnt offering for the dedication of Samuel to the Lord

1 Samuel 1:26  Hannah said, “Sir, as surely as you are alive, I’m the woman who stood before you here praying to the LORD.

1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this boy, and the LORD granted me the request I asked of him.

Hannah offered a testimony of what God had accomplished on her behalf. By telling others, she exalted God and praised Him for His gracious acts toward her

1 Samuel 1:28 Now I’m dedicating him to the LORD, and as long as he lives, he will be dedicated to the LORD.” Then they worshipped the LORD there.

While Elkanah was worshiping,

  • his wife was praying and praising God.
  • Hannah certainly exemplifies a godly mother,
  • for she put God first,
  • she believed in prayer,
  • she kept her vows, and
  • she gave God all the glory.
  • It must have been painful for Hannah to leave Samuel.

Hannah’s Prayer – from the heart, song: is a true Prophecy

1 Samuel 2:1  Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; my strength is increased by the LORD. I will open my mouth to speak against my enemies, because I rejoice in your deliverance.

This beautiful prayer/song was her tribute of thanks for the divine goodness in answering her petition.  It takes its place by the side of the songs of Miriam, Deborah, and the Virgin Mary.

1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge you to offer to God petitions, prayers, intercessions, and expressions of thanks for all people,

Hannah enemy: Peninnah – 1:7,8 her taunts

1 Samuel 2:2 There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed there is no one besides you, there is no rock like our God.

She is saying in truth there is none holy besides you.

Rock, a prophecy of Jesus, speaks of His eternality, stability and relieability.

Jesus is often called the rock of Israel, the rock of refuge, and of salvation;

1 Samuel 2:3 Don’t continue to talk proudly, and don’t speak arrogantly, for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

Hannah just told her enemy not to boast no more of your many off springs

1 Samuel 2:4 The bows of warriors are shattered, but those who stumble are equipped with strength.

The bow was one of the chief weapons of war. The bow being broken is a natural symbol of defeat.

Hannah mentioned three examples—military power, wealth, and the birth of children—of how God reverses human circumstances, humbling the proud and raising the lowly.

1 Samuel 2:5 Those who had an abundance of bread now hire themselves out, and those who were hungry hunger no more. While the barren woman gives birth to seven children, she who had many children languishes.

They sell their labors for necessary food; this frequently happens in life.  We see this today where individuals lose their work and take a job for food.

1 Samuel 2:6 The LORD kills and gives life, he brings people down to where the dead are and he raises them up.

Hannah was low in life, no children, then the Lord raised up her with many children and happiness.  Jesus will raise up people from the grave at His return to the earth and at the Great White Throne Judgment. 

Daniel 12:2 Many of those who are sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken–some to life everlasting, and some to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Perhaps even more significant, it is a prayer that shows a deep awareness of who God is. Hannah acknowledged God as holy (v. 2), as One who knows and weighs human deeds (v. 3). Hannah saw Him as the One who satisfies the needy (v. 5), who is Master of life and death, of poverty and wealth (v. 6). Her sense of the power and glory of God is summed up beautifully in these verses:  She knows her Scriptures

1 Samuel 2:7 The LORD makes people poor and he makes people rich, he brings them low, and he also lifts them up.

For many cannot bear affluence, and if God should continue to trust them with riches, they would be their ruin.  Whereas, some he can trust, and therefore makes them stewards of his secular bounty.  Jesus gives us parables about this.

1 Samuel 2:8  He raises the poor up from the dust, he lifts up the needy from the trash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. Indeed the pillars of the earth belong to the LORD, and he has set the world on them.

There are festering compost piles outside the city walls where people dumped their refuse, including the ash from ovens. It was there that beggars and lepers would sit and solicit alms.  Hannah probably thought of this verse. 

Psalms 113:7-9 He lifts the poor person from the dust, raising the needy from the trash pile (8) and giving him a seat among nobles–with the nobles of his people. (9) He makes the barren woman among her household a happy mother of joyful children. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!

Since the very “pillars” that uphold the earth belong to Jesus, the Creator God, all creation is stable and secure under His care by the Word of His Power.

Psalms 75:3 While the earth and all its inhabitants melt away, it is I who keep its pillars firm.”

1 Samuel 2:9 He guards the steps of his faithful ones, while the wicked are made silent in darkness. Indeed it’s not by strength that a person prevails.

This about this, Hannah contrasted the righteous and the wicked. The Lord would keep His saints from stumbling, but the those who are against the LORD would face certain calamity.  Jesus will order and direct all the Saints and keep them from every evil way, the evil one.  There is No one that can prevail against Jesus.

1 Samuel 2:10 The LORD will shatter those who contend against him, he will thunder against them in the heavens. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth, he will give strength to his king, and he will increase the strength of His Anointed One.”

Interesting, This is the first place in Scripture where the word “anointed,” or Messiah, occurs; and as there was no king in Israel at the time, it seems the best interpretation is a reference to Jesus.  She grounded her prayer or song on Jesus who was to come, the Anointed One.

This phrase points to the ultimate King, before whom every knee shall bow 

Philippians 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 Samuel 2:11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah, while the boy was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli the priest.

The story of Hannah and Elkanah concludes with a single paragraph. Each year the two returned to the tabernacle to worship, bringing Samuel new clothes.

But they did not come alone. God had opened Hannah’s womb, and she bore three additional sons and two daughters. What a wonderful reminder. It is impossible for us to out-give God.

As for Samuel, the boy ministered before the Lord and was cared for by Eli the priest.

1 Samuel 2:18 Now Samuel was ministering in the LORD’s presence, as a boy wearing a linen ephod.

The linen ephod was a sleeveless garment that was worn by priests, especially when officiating at the altar, a priestly garment.

1 Samuel 2:19 His mother would make a small robe for him, and she would bring it each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Small robe was probably a long outer garment like those worn by people of rank or special status, as the priests wore.  Different from vs. 18

Hanna was aware that he could not yet render any useful service as a young service to the tabernacle, she undertook the expense of supplying him with wearing apparel.

1 Samuel 2:20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you descendants from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” Then they would return to their home.

The word dedicated here indicates a complete giving up of the child to God

1 Samuel 2:21 The LORD took note of Hannah, and she became pregnant and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel continued to grow, and the LORD was constantly with him.

Samuel grew in age and stature, in grace and goodness, and improved much in the worship and service of God, basically physical, moral and spiritual.

What a tremendous change. Before Hannah who was so bitter and downcast that she could not even sense God’s grace now saw the Lord clearly.

Because of deep pray, praising God and giving her heart to God, she could forgive herself as our Lord forgives us.

In fact, she was able to praise God in a situation which some might expect would throw her back into despair—the loss of the very child she had prayed for!  God blessed her beyond she could have imagine.

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