Hannah’s story offers us a model of how God can work within us when we put all our hope and trust in Him,
Find out more about the miraculous conception of the Prophet Samuel, who was gifted to Hannah by God ~ 1 Samuel:1-2
Hannah was married to Elkanah, who had two wives. The other was called Penninah. They all lived in Ephraim, which was to the northeast of Jerusalem.
Penninah had produced ten children for Elkanah, but however much Hannah longed for them remained barren, and this grieved her.
Every year they all went to worship and make a sacrifice to God at Shiloh, a place located to the west of where they lived, in the modern-day West Bank.
In the 12th-11th century BC, Shiloh is where the Israelites had set up the ancient Tabernacle, and in it, the sacred Ark of the Covenant was kept. It rested there for three centuries, and the tribes of Israel would visit for various feasts or to offer sacrifices for peace.
On the annual journey to Shiloh, Elkanah would offer a sacrifice to God, and as was the custom, he offered it also to his family. He always gave Hannah a double portion because he loved her and felt sorry for her barrenness.
But as well as being barren, Hannah had another problem; it was Penninah, the other wife, who enjoyed taunting her because of her lack of children while she had many.
This year on their visit to Shiloh, something must have snapped in Hannah because she went to the temple’s door and prayed in earnest to be blessed with a son, and if this happened, she promised she would dedicate the child to God.
A priest called Eli heard her praying and thought she must be drunk as she was praying with such desperation, but when he discovered her anguish, he said; Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.
Shortly afterward Hannah discovered that she was carrying a baby. She named the boy child Samuel and, after weaning him for three years, presented him to the priest at Shiloh who had blessed her, as she had promised in her original prayer.
Then Hannah prayed again and said;
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.[a]
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my[b] victory. 1 Samuel:2-1 NRSV
You can read the full prayer here. It is well worth reading.
The priest Eli raised the child to become the Prophet Samuel, and Hannah went on to have five more children. Every year she made a robe for Samuel, which she took to him on the family’s annual visit to Shiloh, where she watched him develop his priesthood.
What does Hannah’s amazing and selfless faith tell us today?
Hannah’s selflessness in her prayers and the sacrifice of Samuel completely changed the direction of the priesthood, and God was able to use Samuel in powerful ways through preaching, prophesy, and guidance.
All this started with a desperate woman’s prayers and offers us hope today when we face seasons of trial and tribulation, which we all be at different times of our lives.
The situation was complicated, as are many today. On the one hand, we can imagine how long Hannah had endured the torture of being taunted for being barren because Penninah had managed to give birth to ten children; perhaps Hannah even had to help as the midwife with each delivery. On the other hand, Elkanah seemed to love Hannah the most (he always gave her a double portion of the sacrifice), which Penninah must have noticed.
It is easy to see how their relationship could have become toxic, but Hannah’s time had now come, and she poured her heart out in prayer at the temple; the time must have been right for God, too because he finally responded. This reminds us that if we feel our prayers are not being answered to persevere like Hannah until God’s time is right.
Hannah completely surrendered herself to God in this prayer; she did not hold back and allowed God’s spirit to move into the situation – and this is a model for us today too. If you face a season of trial and tribulations, why not hand it over to God in prayer? He still works miracles today. If you are traveling through difficult times, you might like to work with The Surrender Prayer.
Hannah’s story offers us a model of how God can work within us when we put all our hope and trust in Him; she was a devout woman who believed with all her heart that God could deliver her from her suffering.
Epilogue: After Hannah gave up Samuel to the priest Eli, she gave birth to five more children, but Penninah lost eight of her ten children because every time Hannah gave birth, two of her children died. After Penninah pleaded with her when she was pregnant with her fifth child, Hannah prayed that the last of her two children be saved, the two children were spared and Penninah taunted Hannah no more.
You can find out more about Hannah mother of Samuel at A Church Near You in the link below – or contact me to learn more: