Thoughts for the Day

Tuesday, 2nd July 2024: Samuel: 2

Prophecy Messiah 1 Samuel 1-2 Hannah and Eli Praise Samuel Nazarite God

Reading : Verses from 1 Samuel, Chapters 1 and 2

Hannah and Samuel

The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there for ever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.’ .... When she had weaned him, she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they brought the child to Eli. And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’ She left him there for the Lord.

Hannah prayed and said,

‘My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God..

‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength....

The Lord brings death and and makes alive;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honour...

‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.’

Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, while the boy remained to minister to the Lord, in the presence of the priest Eli.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


We started this story yesterday - Hannah has promised her son, Samuel, as a Nazarite to the Lord for his life, after he is weaned. She has been barren for many years, a great sadness, for conceiving a child was considered to be a sign of God's blessing. In her joy she dedicates the child to God. Having left the boy with Eli she prays this remarkable song of praise. Having cried all the way home in the car after leaving my young son at boarding school (and I would see him regularly) I have a vague idea of how upset Hannah must have been, but instead of regretting her promise to God she produces this wonderful poetic prayer.

For years Hannah had poured out her heart’s desire to God, promising Him that if she had a son, she would give the child back to Him. Hannah’s prayer begins with praise for this specific act of God, before becoming praise for His attributes and all His actions. Hannah’s lack of a child has caused her humiliation, but God has delivered her from that. Notice that she rejoices in the 'Lord', not in the child, Samuel. She praises the Giver as more important than the gift. She has been delivered from her shame and she acknowledges God’s greatness, His steadfastness, and His holiness.

Her prayer also contains prophecy. It occurs at a time when Israel had no king, for Hannah lived in the time of the Judges. However, her words look forward to the time when a king would rule the nation. It foreshadows God's action in the life of the faithful Prophet that Samuel would become, and later the shepherd boy who would reign as King David. For Christians, Hannah’s reference to God’s “anointed” is also a clear prophecy of the coming of the Messiah as seen in Jesus, who would reign as King above all kings.


Lord God
we thank You for Hannah's example
of faithfulness;
for her trust in You;
and for her gift of prophecy.
May we learn from her witness
to Your work in the world,
that You are always our sovereign Lord
and that Your love for us is always steadfast.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up this:

Or look at these:

Return to index