Hannah- "Women of the Bible"

Hannah = Favored, or grace.

(Perhaps one of the most famous women of the Bible, Hannah demonstrates strengths which are often overlooked. Her story reveals the pain of many women not living up to man's standards, yet she shows courage and faith to overcome that pain.

about 1064 to 1061 B.C.

1 Samuel 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim,

(= the two heights of the watchers)

of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah,

(= EL [God]-provided, acquired by God, i.e. perhaps in exchange for firstborn (Num. 3:13,45), a son of Korah. See Ex.6:24)

the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah:

(= Pearl. Note the fig. of speech)

and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

(Hannah faced several serious problems. First her husband had another wife, a wife who gave Elkanah something Hannah couldn't, children. Hannah had a deep desire for children. Hannah simply to be a mother to her own children. This woman experienced a pain many women today share--she was barren. Sadly, women today still face the same societal pressures Hannah faced. A heartrending longing for a child by an infertile woman (or man) wounds, yet a Christian culture that defines women solely by the biological "purpose" of childbirth can provide the death blow to a broken spirit. We must be aware of the Hannahs in our midst when we preach that a woman's place is child rearing. We must remember only God Himself creates us, and only God Himself can give us purpose.

Being barren also means in these latter days is saying that you are the bride of Christ, and that you have not taken another husband before Christ's return at the seventh trumpet. Many today are being groomed to be taken by the false messiah, into a wedding that will result in great shame.)

1 Samuel 1:3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts

(Yahaveh Sabaioth, one of the Yahaveh-titles. Denotes God of Israel as the Lord of all hosts of heaven and earth. This title especially characterizes this book)

in Shiloh.

(= place of rest. Where the Tabernacle and Ark was at one timr. Josh.18:1; 19:51; 22:9. Judg. 18:34)

And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou?

(cp. John 20:13,15)

and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

(Again we see how Hannah's story mirrors the experiences of modern women. Elkanah really tried to make up for Hannah's loss. He gave her the double portion. Peninnah picked on Hannah, "because LORD had closed her womb." How many times have well meaning Christians provoked modern Hannah's? "Well, dear, if you'd just pray a little more, I'm sure God would give you a child," we sometimes hear. Or, "You just need to clean up that sin in your life, dear." Remember this went on for years. When we know the gist of the story, we may think, "Oh, it was so easy, Hannah just went to the Lord in prayer and her problem was solved." But Hannah had experienced this "year by year".

Hannah's story also reminds us to use discernment when dealing with a problem. In the church it is popular right now to give Satan and sin credit for everything "bad" in our lives. We hear that satan steals this from us, or took away that. We're told we should demand those things back or "storm the gates of hell to take back what he took". Well, not everything we don't like in our life can be laid at the enemy's door. Satan hadn't prevented Hannah from having children. Several times the Bible says, "the LORD closed her womb." Just because we don't like something, doesn't mean its not part of God's "good plan" for our lives. Hannah's infertility lead to the founding of Samuel's ministry. Samuel anointed David. Without Hannah's infertility, her vow and her obedience Samuel wouldn't have been raised in the house of the Lord and wouldn't have anointed David.

Elkanah shows us we also need discernment in dealing with people. He shows what happens when we lose patience with people. "Why do you weep?" he asked, knowing full well why. "Am I not more than enough to you than ten sons?" "Look at everything else you have," might be a modern response. Since he had sons, he couldn't understand Hannah's grief. He couldn't experience compassion, because he'd never experienced lack. Today, when you watch members of your church, You will find compassion most earnestly expressed by those who have overcome drug addictions, homelessness and criminal histories. These are the people who have experienced lack. People who have grown up in the safety and security of the church tend to be less understanding, because they've never gone without, we tend not to have compassion for those who experience lack.)

1 Samuel 1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

(Heb. heykal. 7 mentioned in Scripture: (1) The Tabernacle, 1 Sam.1:9; (2) Solomon's, 1 Kings 6:5,17; (3) Zerubbabel's, Ezra 4:1,2' (4) Herod's, John 2:20; (5) The future one of 2 Thess.2:4; (6) Thee Millennial Temple of Ezek.41:1; and (7) the heavenly Temple of Rev. 21:3,22. Also 7 references to believers as a temple in N.T.: 1 Cor. 3:9-17; 6:19. 2 Cor.6:16. Eph. 2:20,21. Heb. 3:6. 1 Pet. 2:5; 4:17. #7 = Spiritual completeness - perfection.)

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

(Vow of the Nazarites, see Num. 6:5. Judg. 13:5; 16:17. This is the same vow that "John the Baptist" took, and it was at Nazareth that Christ would come forth for His ministry.

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made her vow.

Hannah has an intense time with the Lord. We can see she has literally poured out her heart to Him. Hannah hurt, and she wasn't going to pretend before her God that everything was OK. She bled and wanted God to tend her wound.

She makes a vow. Often Hannah's vow has been used to support restricting women, people say that Hannah's vow wasn't valid until Elkanah agrees to it. Keep an eye out for Elkanah's "agreement" as we go through the Scriptures.)

1 Samuel 1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

(Take note, head priests can and do make mistakes)

14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

(Eli was looking at Hannah praying and Eli noticed that Hannah's mouth was moving. She was praying directly to God. Remember that Christ had not come to earth yet to become our sacrifice, and to pray directly to God was to go against the form which was set down for the people by God through Moses. The Levitical priest were to be the go-between to speak and petition for the people, and here Hannah was seeking God's help without petitioning through Eli the priest.

This story reminds us to look at our own faults before we look at the faults of others. Elkanah couldn't see that his disobedience in having two wives caused the women pain and conflict. Eli, priest and prophet of God, had spent so little time with God he couldn't even distinguish prayer from drunkenness. We would have expected understanding from these two, one the understanding of compassion and the other spiritual understanding; yet both lacked that understanding. Eli's lack of familiarity with his Lord would cause him problems later in his life.)

1 Samuel 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

(Old Eli was taken back a great deal, when he had falsely accused this woman in sorrow of being drunk. Priests and ministers don't like to admit when they are wrong.

Many times we are like Eli, more concerned that someone not "make a spectacle" of themselves, than honoring someone's devotion to the Lord or sharing their pain.)

1 Samuel 1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace

(Which is what her name means)

in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.

(Back to the vow issue. Notice that Eli offers no instruction to Hannah about a vow or telling her husband. Eli, the priest and prophet, doesn't seem concerned about Hannah gaining permission for the vow.)

1 Samuel 1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.

1060 B.C.

20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son,

(Thus Samuel was a descendant of Korah. See Ex. 6:24)

and called his name Samuel,

(= asked of God, or, God heard)

saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

(God honored Hannah's request and she bore a son. Again, we see that the Lord did wait until Elkanah acknowledged Hannah's vow. Instead He acted on the force of Hannah's word.

Once she was told that that prayer was heard and answered, she believed it to be true, and had the faith that it was true. She trusted God, just as you and I have the same opportunity to trust Him also.)

about 1064 to 1061 B.C

1 Samuel 1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned,

(I.e. at 12 years old, able to stand on his own, see v.24)

and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

1055 B.C.

23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

(Elkanah goes up to make the yearly sacrifice (its that vow he pays not Hannah's.) But Hannah decides not to go. Hannah decides to wean the child. Hannah tells her husband she is given the child up as a nazirite. This woman isn't waiting for her husband to act, to decide. She has made decisions, and is going to act on them. This is the first time the Bible records her telling Elkanah that Samuel will be a nazirite. So how did Elkanah respond?

Some have claimed this was Elkanah validating Hannah's vow. If so, he seems somewhat lackadaisical about it. If on the other hand, "Do what seems best to you" refers to Hannah staying home that year to wait while the child is weaned (as he states) then it makes more sense.)

1048 B.C.

1 Samuel 1:24 And when she had weaned him,

(From 2 Macc. 7:27 it has been inferred that the time of weaning included the periods of nourishment and up-bringing, which would bring Samuel to the age of at least 12 years. Cp. Isaac's weaning at the age of 5 years, and see Gen. 21:8)

she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.

27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

28 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.

(Hannah did a number of things preachers today tell women they can't. She approached the Lord with her problem directly. Many times we're told women must go through their husband's, the "household priests" (no, the Bible doesn't link husbands with priests). She made a vow before the Lord, a vow with great spiritual impact not only for herself, but for all of Israel. Once God answered her, she fulfilled her part of the vow. She, alone, took her son to the temple, with the appropriate sacrifices, and offered him to the Lord. Faith, decision-making, and covenant keeping are only a few of Hannah's strengths.

This fact is not brought to the attention by many teachers, but Hannah was a prophetess, and we know from the book of Judges that Deborah was a Judge that ruled over Israel, and even led the army of Israel against the Philistines. Deborah took charge when all the men of Israel did not have the courage to do that. God was interested in Hannah, and knew that she, like Deborah would respond to the call when the time was necessary, which she did. God accomplished his plan through her, and she prepared the child for the duties that God would expect of Samuel. God brought forth Samuel for the duties of Judge, priest, and prophet. In chapter two we will see the role that Hannah played a a prophet.

Hannah also composed one of the most beautiful prayers of the Bible.)

1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed,

(Hannah was a prophetess)

and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn

(Horn is symbolic of power and strength [spiritually]. Part of head-dress over which the veil is thrown hanging over the shoulders; mothers making it more perpendicular. This is now fast becoming extinct. Cp. 2 Sam. 22:3. Ps. 75:4. Luke 1:49)

is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

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

(Cp. 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.

Christ is the only Rock we can stand on, and we will never have a need for another foundation. Though we may waver at times, the Rock, Jesus Christ will not. God's ways are always perfect. Anytime you think His ways are not perfect, then you are out of Christ and misinformed. God's Scriptures are perfect, and when you think that there is a conflict within the Word, it is time to dig deeper to find the truth. There is nor imperfection in our Heavenly Father. His ways of doing things are always fair, and when He judges, it is fair and just.

Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, Even our enemies themselves being judges.

Their rock is different, because their rock is their father Satan. However our Rock is our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the rock of our foundation. Notice that the spelling of the Word for God is with a capital letter "R", "Rock".)

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.

(Use God's Word as a scale)

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

5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven;

(Prophecy. "Seven" is the number in biblical numerics standing for "spiritual completeness", and in Romans 11:4, But what saith the answer of God unto him?" I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

God has always had his men and women that will not bow to the world and its system. This was as true in Hannah's day, as it was when recorded in connection with Elijah and Jehu in I Kings 20, and even in this final generation God has and is reserving the completeness of His seven thousand that will not bow to Satan, the Antichrist or to Baal in the form of any world system.)

and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive:

(He, God, puts the soul in the embryo)

he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

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

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:

(Once you accept God's Word you are rich)

for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them.

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

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,

(First occ. Cp. Ps. 2:6)

and exalt the horn of his anointed.

(The first occ. as used of Christ. Sept. reads "Christos" = Christ = Messiah = The Anointed One of Yah [God].

This ends the prayer of Hannah to almighty God.

Praise God this is going to happen and very shortly, the adversaries of the Lord are all going to be broken to pieces. Hannah is now prophesying things right out of the book of Revelation. This is exactly as our Lord Jesus Christ shall return at the seventh and last trumpet.

Revelation 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He That sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.

The time of the coming of our Lord on that white horse is at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which ends this age of the flesh, and begins the first day of the Millennium age of Christ's kingdom right here on the earth.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.

Revelation 19:13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called "The Word of God".

John was the one that penned the book of Revelation as Jesus revealed it to him. John was the same one that identified Jesus as the "Word of God", in John 1:1; "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Then in the fourteenth verse John tells us, and we read; "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

Then at the end of the Millennium age of this earth, The Father will have the great white throne Judgment where those that were not save by Grace out of this earth age of the flesh, will be judged by their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

It is the dead, spiritually dead with out eternal life, all those that did not accept the blood of Christ to cover their sins will be judged by their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

The first death is the death of the spiritual body, however the second death is the death of your very soul. It is at this second death that even the remembrance of your very existence will be blotted out of the minds of your loved ones. Hannah knew of this judgment because the times of the end and judgment was made known to God's people from the very beginning, even from the Garden of Eden.

Within this prophecy of Hannah is the foretelling of a coming Messiah, also called the "Anointed One of God". "His Anointed" is "Jesus Christ", the Anointed by the Father to have the power and strength of the Father within him. However we see that the full power of kingship is not taken until the second coming of Christ. The first time Christ came as a servant, riding on a donkey, and being served up as the sacrificial Lamb for our sins. However, the second time Jesus comes will be with the power and authority to rule the world with the rod of iron. Hannah is a prophetess, and she was prophesying of the coming Messiah Jesus the Christ.)

Many times we think of Hannah as a weepy, demure, overly shy woman sniffling in the back row of the church when Eli saw her. Yet, this passage reveals a woman of strong passions! This passage reveals a woman deeply in-tune with God. Her words show her to be a prophetess, a great praise leader and a true servant of the Lord.

Only someone who has experienced a lack, who has felt a need as Hannah did, could understand her LORD as her provider and refuge. Hannah didn't have to belittle Peninnah or anyone else, all she had to do was praise God for what He did for her.

The last reference we have to Hannah is in 1 Samuel 2, where we see a mothers' devotion.)

2 Samuel 2:19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

(This little robe that Hannah made for her son Samuel was to be worn during his working around the temple. Hannah and Elkanah took care of their own son and his needs while in the service of God in the temple. Each year when they came to make the sacrifices they provided for the needs of their son. There is a subject change here from the two sons of Eli, to Samuel and his needs.)

about 1064 to 1061 B.C.

20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD.

1048 to 1044 B.C.

And they went unto their own home.

(Hannah petitioned the Lord for a son, and in turn promised that she would give that son back to Him, when the child was old enough. That age was about twelve or thirteen years of age. Hannah kept her promise to the Lord and gave the child back to the Lord to be brought up as a priest. Eli saw the dedication and commitment of Hannah to her oath, and Elkanah's commitment to Hannah and Eli gave Hannah the blessing that God would open the womb of Hannah so she would bare many children.)

21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters.

(#5 = Grace, which is what Hannah means)

And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.

(Remember back in chapter one when Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah was constantly picking on Hannah because she was barren? Hannah kept her commitment to God, and God blessed her greatly for her commitment.)

* Notes provided by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A, the Companion Bible, Pastor Murray and Roger Christopherson