Hannah's Praise Prayer

INTRODUCTION: Because of the Easter season at the beginning of this study, I was prospecting in the Word for verses related to resurrection, and part of my varied search led me into the middle of the second prayer recorded for Hannah, the mother of Samuel the prophet. As I explored the passage for the context of the resurrection verses, I decided this prayer itself would be the core for this MPN.

Hannah is one of those fascinating people of the Old Testament times, whose era preceded so much of the scriptures yet to be written, but she had such a heart for the Living LORD. Her faith as recorded in scripture, although she is not listed among those of Hebrews 11, makes her one of my heroes of the faith. If you look very closely, with perspective to those "too numerous to be mentioned" by the author, you may see at least "honorable mention" of Hannah, tucked in between David and Samuel in Hebrews 11:32.

She vowed to the LORD that she would dedicate her male child if he would give her one, and she prayed fervently for that child, even as she sorrowed in her barrenness. 1 Samuel 1:10 "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore." But when Eli blessed her, she went home with renewed spirit. When her request was fulfilled, she chose a significant name for her son. 1 Samuel 1:20 "Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD." When Samuel was still of very young age, Hannah fulfilled her vow to dedicate him, then praised the LORD. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 "For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there." Following that, Hannah was blessed with other children. 1 Samuel 2:21 "And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD."

NOTE: All Bible text is taken from the 1769 KJV.


1 Samuel 2:1

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

COMMENTS: Genesis 49:18 "I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD." The preceding reference containing [LORD, thy, salvation] is the only one prior to Hannah's time. The others appear in the Psalms or the prophets. Yet this woman who petitioned the LORD using this phrase, also uses other interesting terms, regarding her LORD; and some of those appear again only in later-period scriptures.

Psalms 20:5 "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions." --- as he fulfilled Hannah's petition. Psalms 40:16 "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified." --- and we who love him say AMEN!


1 Samuel 2:2

2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

COMMENTS: The psalm of Moses, recorded in Deuteronomy 32, was spoken to the whole congregation of Israel, and provided the first reference of praise to God as the rock. A few centuries later, his message of praise to God was not lost in Hannah's heart as she proclaims the LORD her rock in the verse above as holy and unequaled. Deuteronomy 32:4 "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."

[NOTE: the full text of the song of Moses was the subject of the MPN in March 2001] King David continued the theme of the rock of salvation, 2 Samuel 22:1-3 "And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: and he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence." [The complete song of David in 1 Samuel 22 was replicated in scripture in Psalms 18, so David's praise is underscored by placement in the book of congregational worship.]

The spirit, which moved in Hannah's heart, moved in the heart of her son Samuel who was dedicated to the LORD. Samuel anointed King David, who also had that spirit. Hannah's praise speaks of the spirit within her, and it is difficult to say whether she is honored to be counted with Samuel and David, as those who have that spirit; or whether the honor is theirs to be counted with her, since her life preceded theirs. This praise of Hannah's which we study herein, after all, is recorded in the book of her son Samuel to be part of scripture for all generations.

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." The apostle Paul provides expanded reference to our triune God, as he speaks of the rock in the wilderness as Moses led the nation Israel out of bondage from Egypt. 1 Corinthians 10:4 "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." May the Spirit of Christ, our rock, continue to permeate the layers of all generations of his church.


1 Samuel 2:3

3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

COMMENTS: Perfect indeed is the LORD's knowledge and he alone will judge righteously. Job 31:6 "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity."
Psalms 35:24 "Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me."
God's judgment of us MUST be according to his righteousness, since we have none, except it be imputed, and because of that imputation, we can request that his name not be slandered in us, as in the preceding psalm verse.
Proverbs 16:2 "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits." --- So Solomon, the man of wisdom, agrees with his predecessor in the faith, Hannah, about the God who judges those lost in their own pride.
Psalms 103:6 "The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." Psalms 119:75 "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."

Those who are oppressed, as was Hannah, can have confidence that God knows of the oppression, and he does not waste affliction on those he loves. And in Jeremiah the LORD himself speaks to us.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."
We should realize the temporal status of the gifts of personal wisdom, power, or riches; and take sheer delight in knowing the LORD God who displays his lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, which are eternal.

1 Chronicles 16:10 "Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD." Psalms 105:3 "Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD." 1 Corinthians 1:31 "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." 2 Corinthians 10:17 "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Paul then joins the affirmation that the LORD rewards those who love him. 2 Timothy 4:8 "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."


1 Samuel 2:4

4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

COMMENTS: A search in scripture for "girded with strength" led me again to David's psalm in 2 Samuel 22:40 "For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me." Whether for a woman with an antagonizing rival, or for a king with mighty warrior foes, God the LORD does the subduing for the enemies of his saints, and that help is far superior to any which is available through man, apart from God. Jeremiah 17:5 "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."


1 Samuel 2:5

5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

COMMENTS: God has demonstrated in those individuals key to his plan, that he is the only one who can remove barrenness and replace it with a fullness which cannot be removed. Genesis 11:30 "But Sarai was barren; she had no child." Genesis 25:21 "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." Psalms 113:9 "He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD." Isaiah 54:1* "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD."

Galatians 4:22-26 "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
Galatians 4:27 "For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband."
Galatians 4:28-29 "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."

And that persecution from Isaac's time, carried through Hannah's time, Paul's time, and continues in the present.
1 Peter 4:4 "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:"
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."


1 Samuel 2:6

6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

COMMENTS: The order of statement here is interesting, first the way down, then the way up, and both by the LORD.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

The text from Deuteronomy stated the choice before Israel and before us all, and other scriptures assure us that no one escapes the grave through personal effort.
Psalms 22:29 "All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul."
Psalms 30:3 "O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit."
Psalms 49:15 "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah."
Hosea 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes."
John 12:24-25 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."


1 Samuel 2:7

7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

COMMENTS: Are not all things for good for those who are the called, according to his purpose? Exodus 4:11 "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"
Proverbs 10:22 "The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Proverbs 22:2 "The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all."
Proverbs 22:4 "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life."
Psalms 107:41 "Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock."

Isaiah 44:24 "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;"
1 Corinthians 4:7 "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
2 Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
So, whether we consider material wealth or want; consider physical wellness or loss; the LORD makes all to our benefit as he transfers through Christ Jesus, his wealth and wholeness to us, when we believe.


1 Samuel 2:8

8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

COMMENTS: How far can my trust in the True and Living God carry me when circumstance seems to defeat me? There are no limits for the LORD who set the pillars of the very earth, and I have within myself, sealed by his spirit, the hope of glory. As Peter said, John 6:67-69 "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."


1 Samuel 2:9

9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

COMMENTS: The LORD is faithful to a thousand generations, to those who keep his commandments. The law was fulfilled in Christ, and my hope is in him alone. Zechariah 4:6 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
2 Peter 2:9 "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
The reward of the righteous, and of the wicked, is determined and delivered by the LORD according to his glory, not by any man for himself.


1 Samuel 2:10

10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

COMMENTS: The God of Israel was to be their king from the time they came out of Egypt, but during Hannah's time, Israel was drawing close to fulfilling what God had revealed through Moses: they would desire a man to be set over them as king. In the above verse of her inspired praise, Hanna makes reference to the kingly line of Christ. We start with Israel in the wilderness to see the progression.

Numbers 23:21 "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them."
Numbers 24:7 "He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted."
Deuteronomy 17:14-15 "When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother."
Deuteronomy 28:36 "The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone."

So, the history was laid out before it came to pass: the period of the kings, and then the captivity. The period of the kings began through Hannah's son Samuel, judge and prophet in Israel, as he anointed the first two kings. 1 Samuel 8:22 "And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city."
1 Samuel 12:14 "If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:"
1 Samuel 15:1 "Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD."
But Saul was to be replaced at the LORD's direction, for his failure to harken. 1 Samuel 16:1 "And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons."

2 Samuel 5:12 "And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake."
With the selection of David by God through Samuel, began the kingly line of the Messiah. And the Son of David who was to come, is now exalted at the right hand of the Father. Soon the LORD will devastate his advisaries to the ends of the earth, and our king Jesus will come from heaven to reign over all the earth. Hallelujah!


1 Samuel 2:11

11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.

COMMENTS: This is Hannah's prayer, and her story; but her husband is the head of the household, and this very simple statement reveals that Elkanah ends with the same attitude of submission to the course directed by the LORD as when the story started. Hannah made a vow, and Elkanah did not use his right to nullify that vow when it required leaving their first born son with Eli. As for Samuel, he remains in his appointed place pursuant to the vow of his mother. These simple acts without fanfare provide examples of the type of obedience we can exhibit in our own lives.

Hannah =" grace"
Elkanah = God has possessed" or "God has created"
Samuel =" his name is El"


--- Reflections in prayer ---

My heart rejoices, and my strength is increased to exalt in my LORD; my words of praise to my Savior are greater than the defiant words of the enemies of the LORD, who are also my true enemies. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside you: neither is there any rock like my God. All exceedingly proud talk and arrogance must be put away: for you LORD are a God of knowledge, and you weigh all actions. You break the bows of the mighty, and gird with strength those who were stumbling in weakness. Those who had been full must hire themselves out for a morsel, and those who had been hungry will cease to hunger; the barren will now be prolific, and the former productive one will dwindle in strength. You LORD remove life but also restore it, you return your creation to the dust and you resurrect to new life.

You LORD make the poor and the rich, you humble and you elevate. You raise up the poor out of the dust, and lift up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and you have set the world upon them. You will keep the feet of your saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by personal strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; you shall thunder out of heaven upon them: you shall judge the ends of the earth; and you shall give strength unto your king, and exalt the horn of your anointed. So I shall go to my house in confidence and peace, and will minister to my Savior as long as you allow. Amen.

Published 3 June 2004, first issued 4 June 2003