Hannah’s song: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

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Icon May 2, 2015

Main point

Hannah delights in Gods deliverance her from her trials and looks forward to the way God’s anointed king will deliver all that are on the LORD’s side.

Main purpose

Let the hearer draw nearer to God in praise and thankfulness because God is powerful and purposeful. We are to serve him with humility and trusting obedience.

Supporting argument

Despite Elkanah and Hannah’s faithful obedience (1:3), God had closed Hannah’s womb, reminiscent of God’s dealings with the patriarch’s wives. Hannah brings her personal grief and desperation before the Lord Almighty (1:11). God allows her grief, her honesty, her boldness, and her bargaining. In her distress in asking for a son she foreshadows Israel in it’s distress in asking for a king (1 Samuel 8:19-20). God knew that Hannah would faithfully keep up her end of the bargain – she had 3 years to change her mind, to weaken in her resolve, to love man more than God, but she proved faithful and dedicated her son’s life to God just as she had promised. Hannah, Elkanah and Samuel’s humble, thankful characters are contrasted with those of Eli’s wicked sons. Hannah’s obedience and faithfulness in keeping her promises is also contrasted with the unfaithful Israelites in the book of Judges.

As God works through Hannah’s suffering to bring about his good purposes, Hannah’s private grief before God (1:13) turns to public praise (2:1-10). The birth of a child to a barren woman is cause enough for celebration. But Hannah’s joy is not ultimately in the way God has blessed her, but in God.The shape of Hannah’s prayer of praise shifts from personal experience (‘my’, ‘my’, ‘my’) (1-3), to God’s general rule over creation (4-8), to looking forward to God’s full and complete rule over the earth through his anointed king (9-10). As Hannah’s horn is lifted up in verse one, illustrating God’s deliverance in providing a son, Hannah prophetically looks forward to God’s anointed king having his horn exalted, picturing his rule over the earth with power and strength (9b – 10).

Hannah’s prayer of praise moves the story of God’s chosen people from being king-less, oppressed and powerless at end of Judges, towards the reinstatement of God’s chosen people under his kingship in 1 Samuel. Fittingly, Hannah prophesies a king as she dedicates her son who will be a prophet establishing Israel’s kingship under God. The ‘king’ being prophesied here was expected from Judah’s tribe (Gen 49:10), anticipated clearly in Deut 17:14-20, failed to emerge during the time of Judges (Judges 9), and at least partially realised through the reign of David (2 Samuel 22). However Hannah’s song of praise looks forward further still as it provides a source of inspiration for both Mary and Zechariah’s songs in Luke 1, as they point to God’s ultimate saving/delivering/redeeming work in Christ as the ‘horn of salvation’ and the fulfillment of the holy covenant between God and his chosen people (Luke 1:69-75). This act of micro-salvation from God for Hannah then looks forward to his plans for macro-salvation in a king, and then ultimately in Jesus Christ.

Resources

  • Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Fearn: Christian Focus, 2000), 22–27.
  • Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, NIBC/UBCS 6 (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000), 39–42.
  • Robert Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel. Vol. 7. The New American Commentary. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 74-77.
  • Robert P. Gordon, 1 and 2 Samuel (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1984), 25-26.
  • Walter A. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, IBC (Louisville: John Knox, 1990), 15–21.