Hannah was a woman who seemed to suffer greatly from her barrenness. Unlike Elizabeth, we meet Hannah when she was a young woman still in her childbearing years. Not only did she endure the sorrow of her barrenness, but also the provocation of her husband’s other, fertile wife, Peninnah. Not content to merely enjoy the blessing of motherhood, Peninnah entertained herself by provoking Hannah to an intense emotional state over her barrenness. 1 Samuel 1:6 says that her adversary (Peninnah), “provoked her severely to make her fret”. Interestingly, that word fret is also translated thunder. Peninnah didn’t just make Hannah cry, she made her angry!
Regardless of what her exact emotional state was, because of what she lacked and the continual harassment of her adversary, Hannah couldn’t enjoy what was set before her. And in the house of the Lord the shame of it all must have pressed upon her even more. Her husband, Elkanah, was a Levite, which meant his sons would also serve the Lord as Levites. Peninnah had many sons to offer to the service of the Lord, but Hannah had none. Nothing to give to God. And so we come to her prayer, as she pours out her heart before God. Could I just summarize it like this – “Oh God, would you please give me something that I can offer to You?”
The soul that realizes it has nothing to offer the Lord but that which He Himself gives, is the soul that is only a hairs breadth away from great blessing.
You know the story…..she has a son whom she gives into the service of the Lord. He is Samuel, a mighty prophet used greatly by the Lord. And on that day when she brings Samuel to the house of the Lord her heart cannot contain her joy. Her prayer of triumph is recorded for us in chapter 2. One verse in particular caught my attention:
“The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.” 1 Samuel 2:10
No longer does Hannah speak of her adversary for the Lord has vindicated her. No longer does Hannah thunder from vexation because the Lord has thundered in judgment. She smiles at her enemies because she rejoices in the salvation of the Lord, for He has rendered the weapons of her enemy powerless against her.