THE prayer of hannah (2)
In our previous article we considered the background to Hannah’s prayer, referring to the great changes which the man of God spoke of to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:27-36. In her prophetic prayer she foresees these great changes with their ultimate fulfilment in the reign of Messiah. But there was a primary fulfilment in the reign of David who Samuel was instrumental in anointing. The kingdom was about to dawn in the person of David through whom Israel would have salvation from their enemies. We believe that it is these enemies and the enemies of Messiah that Hannah is rejoicing over more than over the provocation of her adversary because she was barren. One can think of six women in the Scriptures who were barren, namely, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Hannah and Elisabeth. In each case their barrenness preceded the birth of a notable child. Sarah was typical of the seventh example, namely “Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother city of us all”(Gal.4: 26-27). We may feel barren now, but let us strive to walk faithfully, that our names may be “written in heaven”, that we may be part of the “general assembly and ecclesia of the firstborn” when “the tabernacle of God is with men”. So Hannah’s barrenness came before the birth of the notable prophet, Samuel.
The word rejoiceth in verse 1 means to jump for joy, to exult. She rejoiced in Samuel’s birth for the consequence of this was that her horn was exalted in Yahweh. Horn represents power (Dan.8: 7), so she continues, “my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies”. The word enemies has the idea of hating. It is a stronger word than adversary in chapter 1:6 therefore we conclude that it is prophetic. This is reinforced by the words that follow; “because I rejoice in thy salvation”, which takes us forward to Jesus, whose name means “Yahweh is salvation”, but also these words had a primary fulfilment in David saving Israel from Goliath and all their enemies. Her words “My heart rejoiceth in the LORD (Yahweh)” are significant therefore, for it is only in Yahweh that we can be saved. Hence Jesus’s name “Yahweh is salvation”. Moreover when David stood against Goliath, he said;
“I come to thee in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Sam.17: 45).
Hannah then continues:
“There is none holy as Yahweh: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God”.
David spoke similar words in 11 Samuel 22:2-3:
“And he said, Yahweh is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence” (see also v.31-33).
Hannah recognised the complete dependability of Yahweh in responding to her prayer. Furthermore she was confident of his strength and power to deliver Israel from her enemies. We need also to completely put our trust in Yahweh, in the words of 1 John 5:19:
“we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”.
We know that this wicked world will be judged when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and we shall have to help Christ in this work. Now our warfare is spiritual but when the Master returns we have to be, “in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (11 Cor.10: 4-6).
With Hannah, her adversary spoke arrogantly, but now she knew that “Yahweh is a God (Ail) of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Sam.2: 3). Yahweh had weighed up the actions of Hannah and her adversary and in response to her prayer had provided her with a child. The same applied to David. Yahweh saw David opposed by his adversary Saul and eventually exalted him to kingship. This was the case with Babylon, the adversary of Israel, when God said to Belshazzar, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting”. The same will apply to the latter day Babylon who will oppose Christ when he returns, of whom we read:
“For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities . . . How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Rev.18: 5-8).
How important it is that we remember that God (Ail) knows and by him our actions are weighed. We shall have to give account of ourselves before the judgement seat of Christ. Moreover, where we suffer adversity as Hannah did it is a great comfort to know that Ail, he who is a God of Might and Power knows; he weighs men’s actions and will show us all up at our true worth. This mighty power of Ail is now shown in verses 4 and 5 in the following way between those who trust in their own strength and those who trust in God’s strength:
The blessing of trusting in God’s strength was shown by the Master in his Sermon on the plain:
“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy (as Hannah did): for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Lke.6: 20-23, see also Eccl.9: 11 & Ps.33: 14-20).
It should be noted that Hannah did not bear seven (see v.21), therefore her words are prophetic of Sarah’s children of whom we read;
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Yahweh”(Isa.54: 1).
The fulfilment of these words is shown by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:26-28, where they are applied to Jerusalem, the mother city of the saints. The saints have not been recognised in all ages and Jerusalem has appeared as barren, but this will be changed when the Lord Jesus Christ appears as we read in Isaiah 66:8-14:
“for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. . . Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her. . . Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem”.
The words of 1 Samuel 2:6 , “Yahweh killeth, and maketh alive” will have their ultimate fulfilment when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and we read of this in Deuteronomy 32:39-43:
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no God with me: I kill, and I make alive. . . neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever (these words apply to Christ not the Father). If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgement; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. . . Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people”.
It is noteworthy that these words are very similar to the theme of Hannah’s prayer.
1 Samuel 2:8 is very significant:
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory”.
How true this was of David. To begin with he was raised up from the sheepfolds, not thought worthy by his family to be brought before Samuel when he came to anoint one of Jesse’s sons. He was cast out and pursued by Saul, so that he and his men were without food and David literally became a beggar, having to firstly plead with Ahimelech for the Shewbread, then having to plead to Nabal. Furthermore he had to flee into the land of the Philistines, the enemies of Israel, for safety and sustenance. But he was exalted by Yahweh to inherit the throne of glory and was set among the princes of the land. Above all this applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. We read of Jesus in Psalm 40:17:
“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God”.
The word needy has the same Hebrew root as beggar in 1 Samuel 2:8. Jesus and his disciples as David suffered hunger, so that they had to pluck ears of corn as they went through the fields. Jesus said:
“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head”(Mt.8: 20).
Jesus was truly was poor and needy, yet he has been exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, being given, “the name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2: 9-11) and Jesus is destined to inherit the throne of glory, when he “shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously” (Isa.24:23).
But then in 1 Samuel 2:8 we read:
“the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s, and he hath set the world upon them”.
What are the pillars of the earth? The Hebrew word matsuq means something narrow, i.e. a column or hilltop. I suggest that this refers to the hills, perhaps, particularly Mount Zion. The world can apply to the inhabited earth but also to a particular land as Babylonia or Palestine. Could Hannah be speaking here of the land of Israel, the kingdom of God on earth, which was described as, “a land of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills”? But again these words will have a far greater application when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and when his feet touch the Mount of Olives and the great earthquake will lift Jerusalem above the hills and no doubt transform the whole earth. Note, the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s. Yahweh created it to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18), with one particular nation in mind, namely Israel (Isa. 45:17) and one particular person to reign on the throne of glory, namely the Lord Jesus Christ, the seed of David.
We shall continue the concluding part of the prayer of Hannah, God willing, in the next article.