Sunday, July 10, 2011

1 Samuel 1 & Psalm 113 - Hannah's Sorrow Turned to Joy

If you are reading according to the Bible Book Club schedule:

(I LOVE alliterations)

For the rest of the Old Testament, there will be many more psalms included in their historical context. Through this, I hope we will grow in our prayer life as we pray through these Psalms.

LINK: 1 Samuel 1 & Psalm 113 

BACKGROUND for 1 & 2 Samuel

1 & 2 Samuel were originally one book. The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) was the first version to split it into two parts. The three most important characters in 1 & 2 Samuel are Samuel, Saul, and David. The period of the Judges was about 300 years. The historical period covered in 1 & 2 Samuel is about 150 years starting with the birth of Samuel in about 1120 B.C. (other accounts say 1105) and ending with David on his deathbed in 971 B.C.

BACKGROUND for 1 Samuel 1

Samuel is considered Israel's first prophet and last judge. 1 Samuel 1 begins with the birth of Samuel to Elkanah and Hannah. It was the time of the judges. So, Elkanah had done what was "right in his own eyes" (Judge 21:25) and taken a second wife because Hannah was a barren wife. Elkanah still loved Hannah more and gave her twice what he gave Peninnah when they took offerings to Shiloh where Joshua had located the tabernacle (Joshua 18:1). This aroused jealousy and provocation from Peninnah, but this caused Hannah to press in and pray to the Lord.

Hannah's vow was a Nazirite one that you have learned about in Numbers 6:1-8 and in your study of Samson in Judges 13:2-5.  During her intense prayer, Eli, the high priest, thought she was drunk; but when he heard her toil and sincerity, he blessed her instead, and she conceived. She is one of many women who prayed and were blessed with a son. See Genesis 17:16; 25:21; 30:22; Judges 13:2-3; Luke 1:13.

Samuel's name technically means "his name is God," but Samuel sounds like the combination of three Hebrew words. She had "asked" (šā’al), and God (el) had "heard" (šāma‘).

You notice that Elkanah went up to make the vow. Even though Hannah had made the Nazirite vow, Elkanah could have annulled it if he disagreed. By not denying it at the time it was made, he was obligated to pay it also (Numbers 30:1-8). They gave up Samuel as a living sacrifice to the Lord (Exodus 13:11-13). He was probably three years old at the time he was given up to the Lord and placed in Eli's care.
File:Hannah VICTORS, Jan.jpg
"Hannah VICTORS, Jan" by Jan Victors - Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

This painting is not set in the historical period, but it is beautiful!


Hannah is such an example of prayer for all of us. She carried her burden to the Lord, left it there, then waited. When God answered her prayer, she responded in praise and thanksgiving!  I hope we can all learn to pray like Hannah!

Here is what the Life Application BibleLife Application Study Bible NIV says about Hannah and her prayer:
Earlier Hannah had been discouraged to the point of being physically sick and unable to eat. At this point, she returned home well and happy. The change in her attitude may be attributed to three factors: (1) she honestly prayed to God (1:11); (2) she received encouragement from Eli (1:17); (3) she resolved to leave the problem with God (1:18). This is the antidote for discouragement: tell God how you really feel and leave your problems with him. Then rely upon the support of good friends and counselors. 
Let us grow in this way as we pray!

Throughout the next few weeks, we will walk with another distressed and discouraged individual, David, and learn how he poured his heart out to the LORD in full honesty, leaving his problems with God. I hope that you will learn more about prayer as we sprinkle the Psalms in our Bible Book Club story from here on out!

PRAYER Psalm 113

Your application today is prayer!

Hannah was a prayer warrior, let us follow her example.

The contents of Psalm 113 are very similar to what you will be reading tomorrow in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Psalm 113:7 and 1 Samuel 2:8 are almost identical. Some commentators believe it was the model for Hannah's prayer while others believe her prayer was added to the Psalms in a modified form. They both include praise for giving barren women unborn children. Take Psalm 113 and pray through it. By praying through it, I mean read a small section (my Bible has it written in paragraphs) then respond in praise and prayer. Praying through Psalms is one of my favorite ways to pray!

Psalm 113-114 were traditionally sung before the Passover meal while Psalm 115-118 were sung afterward. All of these songs were also sung during the Feasts of Pentecost, Tabernacles, Dedication (Hanukkah), and the new moon festivals. Psalm 113-118 were called the "Egyptian Hallel" because of the emphasis in Psalm 114. According to the Easton Bible Dictionary, it was chanted in the temple while the Passover lambs were being slain.  The Levites chanted it verse by verse while the people repeated or chanted hallelujahs.  It was also chanted in homes during the Passover. It is believed that Jesus and the disciples chanted it during the hymn sung at the Last Supper in the Upper Room (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). 

2015 Update: I just read through them in a community Passover meal last week! 

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