Ouxano 56: 1 Samuel, Chapter 2

Ouxano 56: 1 Samuel, Chapter 2 July 7, 2014

One of the first things you’ll notice when you turn to the second chapter of 1 Samuel is that the first half of the chapter is laid out like a poem and the second looks like a prose or narrative.  This is intentional because the first half is, in fact, a poem; and the second half of the chapter continues the story of Samuel.

The first ten verses of 1 Samuel 2 is a song of praise by Hannah, Samuel’s mother.  Now, that strikes me as odd. She has just given up her son to live with priests for the rest of his life.  From this point on, Hannah will only see her son once a year.  Now, as a parent, if I had just given my three or four-year-old son over to other people to care for, the LAST thing on my mind would be a song of praise to God.  And yet, I have to tell you, that this was God’s plan for Hannah.  It was something that He put in her heart to do.

And yet it’s often those times – even times of life’s greatest pain – that we feel deepest in our hearts like praising God.

Then Hannah prayed:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
2 No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 “Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
4 The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
5 Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
6 The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
7 The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
8 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.

9 “He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10     Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”

So, this song of praise from Hannah doesn’t just come as something that’s crafted later; or something that had no connection to Hannah’s life.  These are Hannah’s actual words.  And they are amazing!

Now, literarily speaking, if you look at the Books of Samuel, there are two songs of praise which sort of serve as “bookends” to the entire book.  The first one is here in chapter two where Hannah basically praises God for sending an “anointed one”.

Now, that’s crazy to me!

There hasn’t been an anointed one sent yet.  Hannah is prophesying about the coming of a king.  And, as we look forward to the other “bookend”, we see David’s song of praise, as he’s dying, thanking the Lord for raising him up in order to defeat Israel’s enemies, in order to be the anointed one.

That’s just amazing!

Firstly, we see Hannah – a lowly woman by that day’s standards – and then we see Israel’s greatest king, and they both thank God for the same thing:  His bringing of His anointed king.

So, we see that the author, along with the Holy Spirit who oversaw the writing of all scripture, is crafting things together so that we readers are pointed to kingship.  And then, as New Testament readers, we understand that it’s not just pointing to kingship, but to the Eternal King, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Here’s another awesome aspect of this portion of scripture.  We know that women did not receive much respect at all during Old Testament times.  Yet what we see here is the first prophesy in the book about an anointed king in verse 10:

“Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.

He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”

You know, if you read furthering the Bible, there’s another song of praise that sounds a lot like Hannah’s.  In the first chapter of Luke, verses 46-55, we see Mary’s song of praise.

So, what’s incredible about this, if you look at Scripture as a Christian, you take this book of 1 Samuel, you see that in the first chapter there is a child born that could only be born by the help of God:  Samuel who becomes the prophetic anointer of kings.  Then you go to the New Testament and you see in Luke a story that starts the same way:  there’s a childless couple who eventually have a son named John the Baptist, who becomes a forerunner to the Messiah!

And then (going back to 1 Samuel), Hannah sings a song of praise, praising God for sending the anointed king.  And in Luke, we have Mary (Jesus’ own mother) singing a song of praise.

This is no coincidence.

Throughout Scripture, there are many times when a woman is a more central character, she gets God’s point more quickly than the men.

Now remember, the Bible was written thousands of years ago when feminine literary heroes were hardly ever found.  Men were the ones to receive all the credit for the world’s events.  But remember, the Bible is a book superintended (or overseen) by the Holy Spirit through human authors who were writing, and God wanted to make sure that the position of being a woman was exalted and set right beside men as the co-image bearers of God Himself.

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