And Hannah prayed, and said - The Chaldee very properly says, And Hannah prayed in the spirit of prophecy; for indeed the whole of this prayer, or as it may be properly called oracular declaration, is a piece of regular prophecy, every part of it having respect to the future, and perhaps not a little - of it declaratory oil the Messiah's kingdom.
Dr. Hales has some very good observations on this prophetic song.
"This admirable hymn excels in simplicity of composition, closeness of connection, and uniformity of sentiment; breathing the pious effusions of a devout mind, deeply impressed with a conviction of God's mercies to herself in particular, and of his providential government of the world in general; exalting the poor in spirit or the humble-minded, and abasing the rich and the arrogant; rewarding the righteous, and punishing the wicked. Hannah was also a prophetess of the first class, besides predicting her own fruitfulness, 1 Samuel 2:5, (for she bore six children in all, 1 Samuel 2:21;), she foretold not only the more immediate judgments of God upon the Philistines during her son's administration, 1 Samuel 2:10, but his remoter judgments 'upon the ends of the earth,' 1 Samuel 2:10, in the true spirit of the prophecies of Jacob, Balaam, and Moses. Like them, she describes the promised Savior of the world as a King, before there was any king in Israel; and she first applied to him the remarkable epithet Messiah in Hebrew, Christ in Greek, and Anointed in English, which was adopted by David, Nathan, Ethan, Isaiah, Daniel, and the succeeding prophets of the Old Testament; and by the apostles and inspired writers of the New. And the allusion thereto by Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, in his hymn, Luke 1:69, where he calls Christ a 'horn of salvation,' and the beautiful imitation of it by the blessed Virgin throughout in her hymn, Luke 1:46-55, furnishing the finest commentary thereon, clearly prove that Hannah in her rejoicing had respect to something higher than Peninnah her rival, or to the triumphs of Samuel, or even of David himself; the expressions are too magnificent and sublime to be confined to such objects. Indeed the learned rabbi, David Kimchi, was so struck with them that he ingenuously confessed that 'the King of whom Hannah speaks is the Messiah,' of whom she spake either by prophecy or tradition; for, continues he, 'there was a tradition among the Israelites, that a great zing should arise in Israel; and she seals up her song with celebrating this King who was to deliver them from all their enemies.' The tradition, as we have seen, was founded principally on Balaam's second and third prophecies, Numbers 24:7-17; and we cannot but admire that gracious dispensation of spiritual gifts to Hannah (whose name signifies grace) in ranking her among the prophets who should first unfold a leading title of the blessed Seed of the woman."
In the best MSS. the whole of this hymn is written in hemistich or poetic lines. I shall here produce it in this order, following the plan as exhibited in Kennicott's Bible, with some trifling alterations of our present version: -
1 Samuel 2:1. My heart exulteth in Jehovah; My horn is exalted in Jehovah. My mouth is incited over mine enemies, For I have rejoiced in thy salvation.
1 Samuel 2:2. There is none holy like Jehovah, For there is none besides thee; There is no rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:3. Do not magnify yourselves, speak not proudly, proudly. Let not prevarication come out of your mouth; For the God of knowledge is Jehovah, And by him actions are directed.
1 Samuel 2:4. The bows of the heroes are broken, And the tottering are girded with strength.
1 Samuel 2:5. The full have hired out themselves for bread, And the famished cease for ever. The barren hath borne seven, And she who had many children is greatly enfeebled.
1 Samuel 2:6. Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive; He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
1 Samuel 2:7. Jehovah maketh poor, and maketh rich; He bringeth down, and he even exalteth.
1 Samuel 2:8. He lifteth up the poor from the dust; From the dunghill he exalteth the beggar, To make him sit with the nobles, And inherit the throne of glory. For to Jehovah belong the pillars of the earth, And upon them he hath placed the globe.
1 Samuel 2:9. The foot of his saints he shall keep, And the wicked shall be silent in darkness; For by strength shall no man prevail.
1 Samuel 2:10. Jehovah shall bruise them who contend with him; Upon them shall be thunder in the heavens. Jehovah shall judge the ends of the earth; And he shall give strength to his King. And shall exalt the horn of his Messiah.
It is not particularly stated here when Hannah composed or delivered this hymn; it appears from the connection to have been at the very time in which she dedicated her son to God at the tabernacle, though some think that she composed it immediately on the birth of Samuel. The former sentiment is probably the most correct.
Mine horn is exalted in the Lord - We have often seen that horn signifies power, might, and dominion. It is thus constantly used in the Bible, and was so used among the heathens. The following words of Horace to his jar are well known, and speak a sentiment very similar to that above: -
Tu spem reducis mentibus anxiis,
Viresque et addis Cornua pauperi.
Hor. Odar. lib. iii., Od. 21, v. 18.
Thou bringest back hope to desponding minds; And thou addest strength and horns to the poor man.
Paraphrastically expressed by Mr. Francis: -
"Hope, by thee, fair fugitive,
Bids the wretched strive to live.
To the beggar you dispense
Heart and brow of confidence."
In which scarcely any thing of the meaning is preserved.
My mouth is enlarged - My faculty of speech is incited, stirred up, to express God's disapprobation against my adversaries.
The song of Hannah is a prophetic Psalm. It is poetry. and it is prophecy. It takes its place by the side of the songs of Miriam, Deborah, and the Virgin Mary, as well as those of Moses, David, Hezekiah, and other Psalmists and prophets whose inspired odes have been preserved in the Bible. The special feature which these songs have in common is, that springing from, and in their first conception relating to, incidents in the lives of the individuals who composed them, they branch out into magnificent descriptions of the Kingdom and glory of Christ, and the triumphs of the Church, of which those incidents were providentially designed to be the types. The perception of this is essential to the understanding of Hannah‘s song. Compare the marginal references throughout.
Hannah prayed and trusted; and in her son Samuel she gave to the Israel of God a most precious treasure—a useful man, with a well-formed character, one who was as firm as a rock where principle was concerned. 5T 304.1
In Joppa there was a Dorcas, whose skillful fingers were more active than her tongue. She knew who needed comfortable clothing and who needed sympathy, and she freely ministered to the wants of both classes. And when Dorcas died, the church in Joppa realized their loss. It is no wonder that they mourned and lamented, nor that warm teardrops fell upon the inanimate clay. She was of so great value that by the power of God she was brought back from the land of the enemy, that her skill and energy might still be a blessing to others. 5T 304.2
Such patient, prayerful, and persevering fidelity as was possessed by these saints of God is rare; yet the church cannot prosper without it. It is needed in the church, in the Sabbath school, and in society. Many come together in church relationship with their natural traits of character unsubdued; and in a crisis, when strong, hopeful spirits are needed, they give up to discouragement and bring burdens on the church; and they do not see that this is wrong. The cause does not need such persons, for they are unreliable; but there is always a call for steadfast, God-fearing workers, who will not faint in the day of adversity. 5T 304.3
There are some in the church in ----- who will cause trouble, for their wills have never been brought into harmony with the will of Christ. Brother E will be a great hindrance to this church. When he can have the supremacy he is satisfied, but when he cannot stand first he is always upon the wrong side. He moves from impulse. He will not draw in even cords, but questions and takes opposite views, because it is his nature to be faultfinding and an accuser of his brethren. While he claims to be very zealous for the truth, he is drawing away from the body; he is not strong in moral power, rooted and grounded in the faith. The holy principles of truth are not made a part of his nature. He cannot be trusted; God is not pleased with him. 5T 304.4Read in context »
Once more Hannah journeyed with her husband to Shiloh and presented to the priest, in the name of God, her precious gift, saying, “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.” Eli was deeply impressed by the faith and devotion of this woman of Israel. Himself an overindulgent father, he was awed and humbled as he beheld this mother's great sacrifice in parting with her only child, that she might devote him to the service of God. He felt reproved for his own selfish love, and in humiliation and reverence he bowed before the Lord and worshiped. PP 571.1
The mother's heart was filled with joy and praise, and she longed to pour forth her gratitude to God. The Spirit of Inspiration came upon her; “and Hannah prayed, and said: PP 571.2Read in context »
Reward at the Last Great Day—In your work for your children take hold of the mighty power of God. Commit your children to the Lord in prayer. Work earnestly and untiringly for them. God will hear your prayers and will draw them to Himself. Then, at the last great day, you can bring them to God, saying, “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given me.”13 AH 536.1
When Samuel shall receive the crown of glory, he will wave it in honor before the throne and gladly acknowledge that the faithful lessons of his mother, through the merits of Christ, have crowned him with immortal glory.14 AH 536.2
The work of wise parents will never be appreciated by the world, but when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, their work will appear as God views it and will be rewarded before men and angels. It will be seen that one child who has been brought up in a faithful way has been a light in the world. It cost tears and anxiety and sleepless nights to oversee the character building of this child, but the work was done wisely, and the parents hear the “Well done” of the Master.15 AH 536.3
Title to Admission to the King's Palace—Let the youth and the little children be taught to choose for themselves that royal robe woven in heaven's loom, the “fine linen, clean and white” which all the holy ones of earth will wear. This robe, Christ's own spotless character, is freely offered to every human being. But all who receive it will receive and wear it here. AH 536.4
Let the children be taught that as they open their minds to pure, loving thoughts and do loving and helpful deeds, they are clothing themselves with His beautiful garment of character. This apparel will make them beautiful and beloved here and will hereafter be their title of admission to the palace of the King. His promise is: AH 536.5Read in context »