The Song of Mary and the Song of Hannah

There is a similarity between the Songs of Mary and Hannah, both in background and significance.  Both were singing of the birth of a child, Hannah sang her Song after the birth of her child, Samuel, whereas Mary sang her Song at the impending birth of her child, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Both sung their song at a time when Israel was corrupt.  In Hannah’s time the priesthood was corrupt because of the wickedness of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and in Mary’s time the priesthood and the rulers were corrupt: so much so that they crucified her Son.  In Hannah’s days the land was ripe for conquest by the Philistines, and in Mary’s time, about 100 years hence it was to be conquered by the Romans.  In Hannah’s time, her son Samuel, meaning asked of God, was to be instrumental in bringing about great changes in the nation, by anointing David as their king, who would subdue their enemies, the Philistines, in particular by slaying their champion, Goliath.  In Mary’s time her Son, Jesus, meaning, Yahweh is salvation, was to be instrumental conquering the Goliath of the flesh in himself, and in bringing about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

We have set out in the table here the parallels between Hannah’s Song and Mary’s Song.

We have selected the verses from Mary’s Song to show where they are parallel to Hannah’s Song.  It is noteworthy that Hannah uses the title handmaid five times in chapter 1, 3 times in verse 11 and in verses 16 and 18.  The same word is applied to Mary in Psalm 116:16:

O Yahweh, truly I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds”.

Hannah no doubt saw the corruption in the priesthood and therefore lent her son to Yahweh and foresaw prophetically in her words how her son would be instrumental in bringing about a reformation in the nation.  This came about in the words of the man of God to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:27-36.  We shall quote verse 31 and verses 34-35:

“Behold the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. . .And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.  And I will raise up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever”.

The promise in verse 35 is similar to the Davidic promise in 11 Samuel 7 in that a sure house is spoken of.  Moreover the priesthood is immortal (“for ever”) and takes us forward to the immortal priesthood of Ezekiel 44:15-16 and Samuel will be among this number (Psalm 99:6).  Clearly Samuel fulfilled the role of priest (1Samuel 7:9-10).  Nevertheless the words of 1 Samuel 2:35 had a dual fulfilment, firstly in the reign of David when their was a change in the priesthood, the line of Ithamar coming to an end and Zadok from the line of Eleazar fulfilling the priestly role (see Chronological Chart), and secondly it takes us forward to Christ, the “King of righteousness” (Heb.7: 2).  

When Hannah spoke these words there had been no king as yet, but the time of the kingdom was about to dawn in the reign of David.  Her words are summarised in Psalm 78, which speaks no doubt in verse 58 of the sins of Hophni and Phinehas and then we read in verse 59:

“When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:  So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand. . . Their priests (Eli’s sons) fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation”.

Then we read in verse 65-71 of the change wrought by David:

“Then the Lord awaked as one out of a sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.  And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.  Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. . . . He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:  From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance”.

Yahweh waking as out of sleep and “like a mighty man”, no doubt applied to David slaying Goliath.  It also links with the words of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:4:

“The bows of the mighty men are broken (Goliath), and they that stumbled (David) are girded with strength”.

We also see 1Samuel 2:8 fulfilled in David.  When he fled from Saul he was made to be a beggar, having to plead with Ahimelech for the discontinued shewbread, then having to plead with 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.  There is much more that can be said about Hannah’s words but this has been dealt with in a separate three part study on “The Prayer of Hannah”.

As we have shown, there are parallels between Hannah’s song and Mary’s song.  Mary, as Hannah rejoiced in the salvation of God, in the words in Luke 1:46-47:

“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour”.

These words show the falseness of the Catholic doctrine, which exalts Mary, for they show that she was dependant upon Yahweh for her salvation.  But she was to give birth to one whose name Jesus means “Yahweh is salvation”.  She then continues in verse 48:

“For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Mary was poor which was shown in her only offering two turtledoves to fulfil the law concerning the birth of a man child (2:24 Exod. 13).  Hence the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, the things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  That no flesh should glory in his presence” (See also Jas. 2:5).

We then read:

“For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation”.

These words relate to Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:3:

“for Yahweh is a God (Ail) of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed”.

The words of Psalm 33: 13-18 are apposite:

“Yahweh looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. . . Behold, the eye of Yahweh is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy”.

Yahweh weighs our actions.  How circumspect we should be to walk with God!  

Mary then continues in verse 51:

“He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts”.

Her son would be the arm of Yahweh as we see from Isaiah 53:1 and Psalm 98:1-3:

“to whom is the arm of Yahweh revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”.

“O sing unto Yahweh a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.  Yahweh hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.  He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God”.

How true are the words, “to whom is the arm of Yahweh revealed”.  Hence the words of  John:

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11).

There was nothing about the appearance of the Master to attract him to people, yet,

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power (privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.

To those God’s salvation and righteousness was made known, and through the preaching of the Apostles that salvation and righteousness was made known to all nations.  Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist remembered the words of this psalm when he said:

“Blessed be the Lord god of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people. . . To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham”.

The words of Mary, “he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart”, were fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ in that he confounded the chief priests and Pharisees so that they were not able to answer him (Mt. 22:46).  Their pride was laid open by the words of the Master in Matthew 23:5:

“But all their works they do to be seen of men. . . And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues”.

That pride was brought down when the rulers and people were scattered in AD 70 by the Roman armies, because they rejected their Messiah (Dan. 9:24-27).  Hence the words of Mary:

“He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree”.

The mighty of the land, the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees were put down, and the one they had crucified, their king who was “just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass” was raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God.  Moreover the Apostles, who came from despised Galilee, were given that great task of taking that word of salvation and righteousness throughout the Roman habitable.  So powerful was their preaching and the  witness of the early believers that in AD 313, the power of paganism was put down by Constantine and Christianity albeit a false form of it was exalted.

Mary continued:

“He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent away empty”.

Not only did Jesus feed the people who responded to him with the good news of the kingdom of God but he fed the 5000 and the 4000.  In AD 70, those who had rejected Jesus and who resisted the Roman armies were in terrible straits when the Roman armies besieged Jerusalem and the people were dying of starvation.  The word of Jesus to the Jews in John 8:28 is very relevant:

“When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father, I speak these things”.

Those who lived until AD 70 would then know that the one who they had crucified was their Messiah, but it would be too late.

Mary’s concluding words were:

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever”.

How did Jesus fulfil these words?  We saw earlier that he came unto his own but his own received him not.  But some received him.  So Jesus said:

“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”,


“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 15:24 & 10:6).

When they responded as Zacchaeus did Jesus said:

“This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:9-10).

Because the true sheep of Israel had been lost and had been oppressed by the shepherds of Israel who fed themselves, but not the flock, our heavenly Father sent his beloved Son to them, saying, “They will reverence my Son”.  That Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost, we see from Ezekiel 34: 10-12:

“Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.  For thus saith Adonai Yahweh; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek our my sheep, and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day”.

The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this in his first coming, in which he came as “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. 15:8).  His coming was in a cloudy and dark day in which he alone was the light of the world.  He sought the lost sheep in his ministry, and guided them in his words in Matthew 24:15-28, so that they were delivered from the destruction of Jerusalem in which the false shepherds were caused to cease from feeding the flock and then the people of Israel were scattered throughout the Roman Empire.  But because of the opposition to him from the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees and the Roman power, the Son of God. Who was full of grace and truth was crucified, there by confirming the promises made to the Fathers in Genesis 15 and by his resurrection was “declared to be “the Son of God with power” (Rom. 1:4), demonstrating that he is the true seed of Abraham who is the rightful heir of the world (Gen, 15:18).

So, the latter words of Ezekiel 34 have yet to be fulfilled.  In fact all of the words of Mary’s song apply to a greater fulfilment at the second coming of the Master.  The nations are forming into that proud colossus of Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar’s image, the great oppressing power of Israel, and very soon the Lord Jesus Christ will return and when he has gathered his saints unto him, will come against this colossus as the mighty stone power which will smite the image on the feet so that it will become the chaff of the summer threshing floor.  Then the Lord Jesus Christ, the arm of Yahweh will be revealed, the mighty will be put down from their seats and Christ and the saints will be exalted to reign over the earth.  Then the words of Mary concerning Israel and the words of Ezekiel 34:13-15 will be fulfilled:

“And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be:  there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.  I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith Adonai Yahweh”.

The way Mary’s words were fulfilled in the first coming of the Master reveal the depth of the wisdom of the Almighty:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.  Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).

(To be continued)

Carlo Barberesi