Hannah's Story in the Bible
God Hears Prayer
15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
1 Samuel 1:15-17
The Story of Hannah
1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2 contain the account of Hannah. This story of Hannah is so beautiful and she truly is a hero. To endure suffing, to make a desperate vow in belief, and follow through on it is huge. This is the type of person and woman that God will use, I pray that you would be like her. Elkanah, her husband, loved her, but the Lord had shut her womb. She made a promise to God that if He were to grant her a son, she would give him to the Lord for the rest of his life because she was childless. The story calls her vow as lending to the Lord.
“Hannah had no children,” is what is said (1 Samuel 1:2). She is barren, meaning to be a wife without bearing children has long been viewed in the East, not just as a source of grief, but as a reproach that could lead to divorce.
Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, loved her and made an effort to uplift her. Hannah, why are you crying? You don’t eat, why? Why is your heart hurting, exactly? Aren’t I more valuable to you than ten sons? (verse 8). That is a great line in this story and very comforting.
Peninnah was Elkanah’s second wife, nevertheless. Although the bible explicitly teaches monogamy (Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31-33; 1 Timothy 3:2) and God always meant for marriage to be between one man and one woman, there are a number of examples of polygamy and related issues in the Old Testament.
The Family Goes to Worship the Lord
Hannah would go to Shiloh with her husband every year to worship and offer sacrifices to God.
And every year Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, would make Hannah cry by reminding her that she was childless. Peninnah was causing her a lot of stress and had children. She is the villian in the story.
Hannah prayed to the Lord in great distress one year at Shiloh. Eli, the priest in the tabernacle, noticed her as she was pleading. He assumed she was inebriated based on her conduct and reprimanded her for continuing to drink.
“No, my lord, I am a woman of melancholy spirit,” she said with respect (1 Samuel 1:15). She then revealed to him that she had prayed to God with all of her heart.
Sincere Prayer Works
Although it is not mentioned in the Bible that she revealed specifics of her prayer to Eli, she had in fact prayed to God with faith, asking Him to provide her a son. In her prayer, she swore that if God were to grant her a son, she would give him up to be God’s servant.
“O LORD of hosts, if You will truly consider my plight and remember me, if You will not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).
This vow’s language is significant for a number of reasons. She was speaking to God with great reverence, confidence in His strength, and humility. She considered herself to be God’s maidservant.
She also pledged to give God her firstborn son, who would be set apart for the Lord’s particular service. Hannah hoped to uphold her promise to God and give her kid a lifetime of devotion to God and His service.
“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him,” the priest Eli remarked after noticing that she had made a request of God (1 Samuel 1:17 king james version).
Eli Prophesies Samuel
Take note of Hannah’s reaction to Eli, the high priest, after his statements. She kindly replied, “Let your maidservant find favor in your eyes,” to Eli (1 Samuel 1:18). Eli was revered by her as a priest and God’s servant.
Hannah then did something else noteworthy. Her face was no longer melancholy as she went about her business and ate. She believed. She had faith that her prayers would be answered. She would give birth to a boy. Oh what beautiful faith in stories like this!
Search for the Lord & You will Find Him
Hannah’s request was eventually answered by God, as she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She gave him the name Samuel, which means “asked or heard of God,” because she had prayed to the Lord for him (modern english version). As she had promised, Hannah kept her word. She gave Samuel to the priest Eli after he had been weaned.
Hannah said to Eli, “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has answered my prayer that I made to Him. Because of this, I have also lent him to the LORD; he will remain on loan to the LORD for as long as he lives (1 Samuel 1:27-28).
Giving up her child was a serious commitment for a mother, yet she remained unfazed in carrying out her promise.
Before Eli the priest, Samuel continued to serve the Lord. Every time Hannah visited Shiloh to worship God, she would bring Samuel a little robe. Eli would then bless Elkanah and Hannah, saying, “The LORD give you offspring from this lady for the loan that was given to the LORD,” after she performed this annual deed to show her unwavering devotion to her son (1 Samuel 2:20).
Hannah received three more sons and two girls as a result of God’s answer to this prayer. She delightedly gave birth to more children as Samuel now had younger siblings and sisters. The once-sterile woman had given birth to a large family.
When Hannah presented her son to the Lord in Shiloh, she was so moved by the Holy Spirit—a Spirit of joy and truth—that she prayed a petition that is recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1–10 for all people to read. It contains aspects of prophecy and inspiration.
Similar to how King David’s private prayers are preserved for us in the Bible, this woman of faith had her own private prayer preserved as Holy Scripture.
In precisely the same manner that King David’s private prayers for us are preserved in the Bible, this woman of faith has had her own private prayer recorded as Holy Scripture. What messages of wisdom and truth does Hannah deliver to us via her prayer?
Hannah prayed, “My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is lifted in the LORD,” before King David was even born. Because of Your salvation, I laugh at my foes (compare 1 Samuel 2:1 with Psalms 9:14 and 13:5 to observe how David’s later petitions are similar). Hannah trusted and delighted in the Lord’s deliverance.
The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings to the grave and brings up, are some of the truisms of contrast that Hannah mentions (1 Samuel 2:6). She had faith in God’s ability to raise the dead through a resurrection!
Hannah’s proclamation in 1 Samuel 2:8 that “He elevates the destitute from the dust and lifts up the beggar from the ash heap, to establish them among rulers and make them inherit the seat of glory” is likewise prophetic and uplifting.
This part of Hannah’s plea is basically paraphrased in Psalm 113:7-9: “He raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him among royalty—with the princes of His people. He provides a home for the woman who is childless, like a happy mother.
These words are comparable to those in Mary’s prayer or hymn (often called the Magnificat, from the Latin translation of Luke 1:46). Mary echoed Hannah when she remarked, “He has exalted the lowly and cast down the great from their thrones” (Luke 1:52).
Therefore, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Hannah, the psalmist, expressed essentially the same ideas via the inspiration of God.
Hannah’s omen-filled prayer
Hannah’s prayer concludes with a prediction of Christ’s second coming: “The LORD’s enemies will be shattered; from heaven He will thunder against them. The ends of the world shall be judged by the LORD. He will strengthen His ruler and raise His anointed’s horn (1 Samuel 2:10).
This is a succinct summary of what the prophets have said regarding God’s enemies’ ultimate destruction and Christ’s second coming, when He comes to judge the ends of the earth and to be glorified. He is coming to judge the planet, for that reason. He will administer justice to all people (Psalm 96:13).
Biblical lessons from Hannah
Hannah certainly never imagined that her son would grow up to be a prophet of God, a judge, and a leader in the people of Israel when she prayed for a son. Samuel did grow into a powerful servant of God. She probably had no idea that after having Samuel, she would be blessed with a large family! And it’s unlikely that she ever imagined that her plea would end up in God’s Holy Writings.
Hannah’s story shows that when people come to God in trust, He does truly hear their pleas and respond to them. Despite any trauma we may experience in the world, God is always there to provide support.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He has established the world upon them, Hannah prayed. He’ll watch over His saints’ feet (1 Samuel 2:8-9 union version modern).