Women of Purity: Hannah
By Selma Komisky
“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.”
– 1 Samuel 1:10 (RSV)
Hannah was a woman of faith and purity because she sought God and she realized that only He could answer her prayer and meet her needs. Hannah’s plight was she was barren. In a time and culture where women that were barren were considered insignificant because they could not produce a male heir, many were without joy. Yet, Hannah chose to trust God despite her circumstance and pain.
This woman who was the favorite wife of Elkanah, a Levite priest who had two wives (Hannah and Peninnah) due to polygamy that was apart of the culture at the time, was dearly loved but unable to have children (1Samuel 1:5). On the other hand, Peninnah who birthed Elkanah children, grieved and taunted Hannah with her cruel tongue while Hannah continued to struggle with infertility (1 Samuel 1:6-7). Perhaps Peninnah was jealous of the special love shown to Hannah by her husband or protective of her own children and therefore unsympathetic. Either way, this was an agonizing experience for Hannah as she longed for a child.
Yet, we see that Hannah’s character shine as she did not angrily retaliate against Peninnah as hard as her situation was. In her meekness, she exhibited self control and endured the insults cast against her. This is commendable as she knew who her God was to fight her battles.
Hannah’s name means “gracious” or “favor” and we later see that God did indeed show her favor. She knew who her Wonderful Counselor was so she ran to Him in her time of anguish and sorrow. Do we run to Jesus when we have a heavy heart or do we run away? Hannah humbly knelt down in the inner court and cried out with all her soul and she entered fully into God’s presence with adoration. She was a prayer warrior and she was led to pray fervently. She cried out and kept asking, seeking, and knocking in her prayers and found refuge through prayer. Do we talk with God and tell him our problems and how we feel?
Jeremiah 29:13 in the New Living Translation says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” We often want to tell our problems or secrets to our best friends and it feels good to do so BUT it is even better to run and tell God our problems, fears, and unload our hearts. When we do this, it shows we have a intimate relationship. You can be sure He is listening, that we have His attention, and that He cares!
Hannah understood what it meant to wait year after year for her prayer to be answered.
How do you react when your prayers have not yet come about? Do you give up or do you continue on persevering in your prayer and wait with expectancy? The Bible states in 1 Samuel 1:11-13 that Hannah prayed without words, she just moved her lips unspoken to God’s throne. This was a inward prayer which only God heard. Her vow was twofold: If God granted her prayer, she would conceive a son and she would give him back to the Lord for service for life and he would be a Nazarite. This signified according the BibleGateway to be set-apart.
God heard the barren woman’s cry. In 1Samuel 1:13-18 we see Hannah believed! Her mourning turned into joy. She went on her way with a joyful heart and peace from the Lord. God honored her vow and granted her request. Hannah’s faith was rewarded and conceived a son that she named Samuel which means “Asked of the Lord,” (1 Samuel 1:19-20) which is a beautiful significance for his name. Hannah gives God Praise (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and models that we should thank the Lord for answering our prayers. We should praise the Lord whatever the outcome is because He is worthy! So she celebrated!
Nevertheless, the vow was fulfilled and Hannah chose to keep her word and dedicate Samuel to God. Most people when a crisis surfaces pray and make these long lists of promises and vows to God but when they get their prayer answered, most walk away without even a thank you. How beautiful is the picture that she gave her only son just like God gave His only begotten Son Jesus for us. Hannah loved the Lord and gave up her son sacrificially for Gods use after she weaned him. In those days three years was the usual period for weaning (Thomas Nelson Study Bible). Can you imagine waiting all those years to conceive a baby and then only having them for three years and give them up? By Gods grace, she later conceived and bore Elkanah three other sons and two daughters besides Samuel (1 Samuel 1:21).
Hannah’s son Samuel would become the last judge in Israel’s history, a gifted prophet, the one to anoint the first two kings of Israel (Saul and David), and a pivotal spiritual leader who turned the nation toward God. All this occurred because of one woman trusted God (Nelsons Study Bible). It is interesting that the Bible never mentions Hannah appearance but her beauty definitely shines through because of her godly character. She was a noble example to all mothers. A woman of purity who trusted God when life was hard and reaped the blessings of trusting in His perfect will for her life that resulted in blessing beyond Hannah’s imagination.
“The effective fervent prayer of righteousness man avails much.”
(James 5:16 NKJV)