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Hannah - Mother of Samuel the Prophet

Profile of Hannah the Old Testament Bible Character

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Hannah840x616.jpg

Hannah presents her son Samuel to the priest Eli. Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (circa 1665).

Public Domain

Hannah is one of the most poignant characters in the Old Testament. Like several other women in the Bible, she was barren. People in ancient Israel believed that a large family was a blessing from God. Infertility, therefore, was a source of humiliation and shame. To make matters worse, her husband's other wife not only bore children but taunted Hannah mercilessly.

Once, at the house of the Lord in Shiloh, Hannah was praying so intently that her lips moved silently with the words she spoke to God in her heart. Eli the priest saw her and accused her of being drunk. She answered that she was praying, pouring out her soul to the Lord. Touched by her pain,

Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." (1 Samuel 1:17, NIV)

After Hannah and her husband Elkanah returned from Shiloh to their home at Ramah, they slept together. Scripture says, "...and the Lord remembered her." (1 Samuel 1:19, NIV). She became pregnant, had a son, and named him Samuel, which means "God hears."

But Hannah had made a promise to God that if she bore a son, she would give him back for God's service. Hannah followed through on that promise. She handed her young child Samuel over to Eli for training as a priest.

God blessed Hannah further for honoring her pledge to him. She bore three more sons and two daughters. Samuel grew up to become the last of Israel's judges, its first prophet, and counselor to its first two kings, Saul and David.

Accomplishments of Hannah:

Hannah gave birth to Samuel and gave him to the Lord, just as she promised she would.

Her son Samuel is listed in the Book of Hebrews 11:32, in the "Faith Hall of Fame."

Hannah's Strengths:

Hannah was perseverant. Even though God was silent toward her request for a child for many years, she never stopped praying.

She had faith that God had the power to help her. She never doubted God's abilities.

Hannah's Weaknesses:

Like most of us, Hannah was strongly influenced by her culture. She drew her self-esteem from what others thought she should be like.

Life Lessons:

After years of praying for the same thing, most of us would give up. Hannah did not. She was a devout, humble woman, and God finally answered her prayers. Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV). That's exactly what Hannah did. Hannah teaches us to never give up, to honor our promises to God, and to praise God for his wisdom and kindness.

Hometown:

Ramah

Referenced in the Bible:

Hannah's story is found in the first and second chapters of 1 Samuel.

Occupation:

Wife, mother, homemaker.

Family Tree:

Husband - Elkanah
Children - Samuel, three other sons and two daughters.

Key Verses:

1 Samuel 1:6-7
Because the LORD had closed Hannah's womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. (NIV)

1 Samuel 1:19-20
Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him." (NIV)

1 Samuel 1:26-28
And she said to him, "Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there. (NIV)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

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