The prayer song of Hannah quoted in 1Samuel 2:1-10, is a song of thanks giving and gratitude offered to God, for the way the God blessed Hannah with a male child whom Hannah sacramented to the service of the Lord as a mark of respect and reverence to God. Hannah, who was one of the wives of Elkanah, was childless for long time, carried a great agony within heart and poured out all requests before God, as described “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore”. (1 Samuel 1:10). Hannah weeps in the temple of the LORD “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”. (1 Samuel 1:11).
Hannah experienced all the pain that a woman without a child passes through and there are no instances of Hannah sharing the affliction with any one else except with God. With a groaned heart Hannah replies to priest Eli “No my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunken neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD” ( 1 Samuel 1:15)
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The heart of a married woman who is childless is clearly quoted in the case of Hannah which remains unchanged even in the present times as of now. Hannah’s husband Elkanah consoles inspite of the fact that Hannah is childless and each year together with Hannah visits temple of the LORD for thanksgiving. “Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons? (1 Samuel 1:8)
For a woman, being a barren, causes a great grief and life is almost done with as the society norms in those days as well in the present times that a married woman must bear children bringing complete satisfaction to the family and most importantly to husband. It is also the will of the LORD as quoted “but the LORD had shut up her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5) “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb”. (1 Samuel 1:6)
Hannah also proves that it is the LORD who makes “impossibility into possibility” that can happen in a flick of a second with the touch of God’s wand. “and the LORD remembered her”(1 Samuel 1:19) . Hannah’s heart was wounded, carried a great grief, affliction that lifted up Hannah’s prayers to God and blessings were sent upon her and as an act of sincere thanksgiving, Hannah prays “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 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.” (1 Samuel 1:27,28) . And after anointing the child as Samuel, Hannah begins her song of prayer in the 2 chapter of 1 Samuel, beginning with verse “My heart rejoiceth in the LORD: and my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation”.
Hannah did not confide in any one except the LORD God Almighty and this has been evident throughout the entire passage of prayer. “ There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee” neither is there any rock like our God”. This inspiring verse provides a meaning that it is good to believe in God who is holy and who has great strength and who is incomparable in all respects. Hannah came out of pain and grief being blessed with male child with the fact that God listened to Hannah’s prayer and recognized the sincerity and honesty and God purifies hearts where God’s great works and miracles have to be carried and God chooses people in order to spread out God’s works. This has been evident with Abraham, Noah, Miriam, Moses, Deborah and Joshua and Ruth wherein each chosen vessel has been allocated a portion of work of God that propagates the works of God whether it is by the tribulation or by being ordained by God. Hannah was chosen to be a mother of prophet, who would be named as Samuel and who would be anointing kings to lead Israelites. God did not reveal this plan whereas, offered a transformed heart to Hannah who obeyed God diligently. Hannah was also a prophet and a housewife through whom God unfolded fortune after a short period of grief. Hannah also became an instrument for the rise of David’s regime and fall of King Saul “The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength” (1 Samuel 2:4).
The prayer song of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 includes thanksgiving, praise and describes how powerful God is and how God guards people who trust and confide in God alone. It is God alone who uplifts poor and unworthy and provides rich rewards of throne and glory. Hannah’s song quotes between the period B.C.1137 . Hannah’s son Samuel became the last judge and the first prophet and priest for Israelites and God for this purpose chosen a good and pious woman like Hannah who was relying only on God to bless Hannah with a son and who pleaded with God for blessing. Centuries later, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, also modeled a prayer in St.Luke 1:46-55 similar to the prayer of Hannah that is in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
A brief description of Hannah song of prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Verse 1-3 : Great things about God that there is none like him, but there is none besides them. Hannah praises the giver, the prettiest child, Hannah longed and prayed for.
Verse 4: the bows of mighty men are broken which means that God brings down one and setteth up another according to the thoughts of God. The physical strength of men cannot face the wrath of God which is stated by Hannah.
Verse 5: It is God who blesses women with children and who feeds the hunger and thirsty.
Verse 6: God does not like disobedience and it is God who brings up one and put down another.
Verse 7: It is God who understands the hearts and minds of human, and chooses the weak vessels and even impoverishes the rich when there is a sheer disobedience to God’s instructions.
Verse 8: God raises up poor from dust, and even sets the poor to the throne and glory, if God is satisfied with obedience that is being offered to God as the pillars of earth belong to God.
Verse 9: God keeps the feet of saints, and wicked have a place only in darkness for God says, that human strength does not stand in any way before God’s mighty strength.
Verse 10: God anoints kings according to His revelation and no adversaries can break the word of the LORD, and it is God who judges the earth.
The song of Deborah is recorded as old as 8th Century BC (before 1174 BC) in the book of Judges. Holy Bible is taken as Torah in Hebrew which means “Law” wherein the law of Moses and law of God is scriptured in several books of Old Testament and it was a practice for Israelites to refer to the law of Moses for any dispute or for any religious practice. So also the book of Judges is recorded as a guide for Israelites who sought the assistance of Judges to resolve disputes that arise among society and Deborah was the only women Judge in the Bible. Deborah was also a prophetess who guided people lead by the Holy Spirit of God. The song of Deborah that is recorded in Judges 5 is completely the work of God, who used Deborah to bring Israelites out of bondage who were living in precarious conditions for twenty years under a Canaanite tribe. Israelites were the children of God according to Old Testament who were leading lives as slaves some time in Pharaoh’s kingdom whereupon, God sent Moses to lead Israelites to the land of Canon and Moses became an absolute and obedient servant of God. After Moses, Joshua was assigned the leadership of leading Israelites and during these times, the works of Deborah also proved to be helpful for Israelites. Deborah was pious and possessed outstanding military technics with great courageous skills. Deborah inspired, motivated common people to lead battle and brought victory to the people of God and after this battle Israelites lead a peaceful life for another forty years as indicated “And the land had rest forty years” (Judges 5:31). Clearly, Deborah was an instrument of God.
Deborah song containing 31 verses describe about leadership and the importance of God’s leadership to lead His people. “When leaders lead in Israel,
When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the Lord! ( Judges 5:1-2)
People are lead by leaders and kings who are chosen by God in the Old Testament and there are no instances of people choosing leaders and kings. This is evident in the song of Deborah. Verse 5: “Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. Lord, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, The earth trembled and the heavens poured, The clouds also poured water; The mountains gushed before the Lord”. This Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.
The song also describes how Israelites were oppressed and were suffering. “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, In the days of Jael, The highways were deserted,
And the travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel.They chose new gods; Then there was war in the gates; Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. (Verse 6-8)
The song describes emotions, struggle, poverty, the reign of kingdoms and the mighty works of God all through to restore peace and tranquility to the people of God. Throughout the song, there are strong evidences that Deborah was lead by the spirit of God, with the way Deborah sings praises to God about victory in the land and defeat to enemies. Deborah was indicating that if God does not permit victory, enemies would rule over Israelites and the works of God only prevail on the earth. Very little is known about the personal life of Deborah and a great scope of works is discussed only two chapters of Judges 4 and 5.
Deborah and Hannah belong to different dates of Old Testment Bible times. Deborah takes the lead as woman judge, a respectable woman in society who was also prophesying about the works of God and who sat under palm tree to declare justice when disputes arise among Israelites. Israelites asked for the guidance and leadership of Deborah at the time when Israelites were in dire need of help to get released from bondage and whose lives were being oppressed by enemies. Hannah passed through very difficult times and experienced a deep personal agony who shared and poured all the grief before God alone and reaped the harvest of being a mother to a great priest, prophet and judge who is called as Samuel who anointed King David. It was Samuel who listened to the voice of God as a child when ordained to the service of God by Hannah. Both Hannah and Deborah were prayerful and trusted in God alone. Both the women did good the society and set an example as to how women can be chosen by God for performing His works and how important it is to pay reverence to God in all respects at all circumstances.
Both the songs contain mighty works of God, wrath of God, and praises to God. One similar significance is both the women offered prayer songs, after the miracles were performed collectively offered thanks and praises to God. The song of Hannah is great example for women who are married and are waiting to be blessed with children. God clearly exemplifies through Hannah that it is important for women to be prayerful in order to blessed with children. The role of women is not small either in society or in family life which is clear in both Hannah and Deborah who dedicated lives to God and waited upon the LORD for His direction and instructions. Personally Hannah does not possess any rebel qualities and stands as very much obedient to God whereas Deborah played the role as woman judge of Israelites and possessed courageous and military tactics to save God’s people which means that Deborah was much more powerful than Hannah with God’s wisdom and knowledge and filled with Holy spirit which turn commanded the people of God.
Hannah and Deborah resemble as role models of modern society. Times truly change whereas women responsibilities and roles have remained unchanged whether it is in family or in society. Women need to girdle with godly weapons of piety, reverence, honesty, faithful and above all carry purity in heart which are intangible and that bring upon blessings for families. It is women who carry generations from one to another by creating the mighty works of God. God checks the heart of women how faithful and sacred the hearts are and accordingly schedules the plans each according to the nature and character. Hannah and Deborah were fruitful in respective efforts who have reaped rich rewards from God. Most importantly, both the women were obedient to God and followed the commandments of God. God listened to the requests of Hannah and Deborah and acted on time and offered complete and full fold blessings according to the requests as God was satisfied about these two women.