Chapter 2 is a big chapter. It is packed full of so much. My Bible Notes separate the commentary into two sections, verses 1-10 and verses 11-36 because there are two main stories happening alongside one another. It took me two days to do this study as well, so I decided to go along with that recommendation and break it up into pieces so that we can dig into each of these two fascinating, parallel stories.
The first story continues the story of Hannah and her son Samuel. Throughout this chapter we see, and will see in the next section, Samuel growing in his work ministering to the Lord. First, Hannah prays a prayer of praise as well as a display of her understanding of God’s wisdom. She gives God the glory for being in control of everything. Then we see that Samuel worships and ministers to the Lord in the tent of meeting.
Hannah, Elkanah, Samuel, the Lord, the mighty, the feeble, my enemies, the full, the hungry, the barren, she with many children, the poor, the needy, princes, His faithful ones, the wicked, man, the adversaries of the Lord, His king, His anointed, and Eli
Verse 10 “The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.”
1 Samuel 2:10 “The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king
and exalt the power of his anointed.”
Psalm 2:9 “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
1 Samuel 7:10 “As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel.”
Psalm 18:13 “The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.”
2 Samuel 22:14 “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice.”
Psalm 96:10-13 “Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established, it shall never be moved; he will judge the people with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.”
Psalm 98:7-9 “Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”
1 Samuel 2:1 “And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.”
Psalm 89:24 “I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.'”
Wow, just the cross references for that verse have so much to think about. As an American I struggle along with many people with the violence of Scripture. How can this God that in America is mostly focused on for His Love and Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace, etc. break people and destroy them. It makes verses about God’s judgment seem negative to us. But isn’t justice exactly what we pray for and want? We want people to have equality and equity, which is an American value. And the Psalms discussing his judgment in the above cross references share the joy that the whole world can feel because it causes such pain to the whole earth that sin and injustice are everywhere, and that so much bad happens to everyone. We can trust God in both the discipline he gives and in the future that He will judge the earth. We cannot judge the earth for we are flawed and broken and damaged as well. We deserve the worst punishment for our own sins, and yet God forgave us. He anointed us to go forth with His word. We must exalt in the Lord, give him praise, and raise up our joy along with all of Creation that His Will is being done in all the earth. We must have faith in His timing. He created time after all, He can control it and He can ensure that His Word is kept.
This verse stood out to me as a key verse in many ways. All of Hannah’s prayer is full of truth about God, and shares wisdom that I would want my son to grow up knowing about God. This last verse of her prayer introduces the next conflict in 1 Samuel. Eli as a priest was not necessarily perceived by the Israelites or by himself as an adversary of the Lord, but we find out in this chapter that God does see him as an adversary. By not raising up his children in the way they should go, by allowing them to do the despicable things they are doing, and by allowing them to continue being priests while they despise the Lord he is showing himself to be an enemy of God. And God is the one that judges and is in control of all things as Hannah just stated. In addition, we know that there is no monarchy at this time in the Israelites’ history, so Hannah’s comment about God giving strength to his king must be talking about a future king, or about God himself (Jesus!) as king. Also God exalts the power of his anointed. At the end of this chapter (verse 35) we hear that God is going to anoint someone new (I am thinking Samuel), so Hannah’s prayer becomes a prophecy of many things to come.
Jesus in the Old Testament
Hannah’s prayer brings many things to the surface as far as the “theological tone of the books of Samuel” and also contains many of the characteristics of the prayer of Mary in Luke.*
Luke 1:46-55 “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
My Bible Notes share points that both women make: the Lord’s deliverance, uniqueness, holiness, right and ability to abase the proud and exalt the humble, faithful care for those who place their trust in him and judgment on those who don’t, and they both condemn prideful boasting. And, as I mentioned, Hannah’s ending is in anticipation for the kings that we will meet in these two books of Samuel, but the ultimate True King is to be Jesus Christ. (*Paraphrased)
Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Luke 1:31-33 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
“Hannah’s story and her prayer reflect key truths of the gospel. First, God must be at the center! When he is, even life’s greatest battles can become the ground of blessing (Rom. 8:28), for God delights to embrace and encourage his own even in the midst of severe trial (cf. Isa. 40:11).”*
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
“Second, Hannah’s story and her prayer reflect the gospel truth of God’s strange reversal of what the world holds dear and counts significant. God delights to show favor to the weak and the socially marginalized. His power interlocks with human weakness and resists flaunted human strength (2 Cor. 12:9). The supreme example of this principle is the gospel itself—where God delights to accept and approve of those who trust in his Son by faith, rather than those who bring the strength of their own performance to the table.”*
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share with us.
Next Week: 1 Samuel 2:12-36
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