By Henry Mahan
1 Samuel 2:1-10
A godly man named Elkanah had two wives. One was named Hannah and the other was named Peninnah. Hannah was much loved by her husband, but the Lord had shut up her womb and she had no children. Peninnah had several children and, being jealous of Hannah, continually provoked and harassed her because she was barren. Peninnah was especially unkind to Hannah when their husband was away, so that Hannah wept and would not eat. The next time Elkanah went to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord, he took Hannah with him.
Hannah was in much distress of soul, and she wept and prayed before the Lord that he would give her a son (1 Sam. 1-:9-11).
She promised to give this son unto the Lord all the days of his life. Eli, the priest, saw Hannah praying and weeping; but because no words came from her mouth, he thought she might be drunk, so he reprimanded her (1 Sam. 1:12-14). Hannah explained her sorrow and her desire to the man of God, who prophesied that God would grant her request (1 Sam. 1: 15-18).
Hannah and Elkanah returned home and a son, Samuel, was born to them (1 Sam. 1:19-20). The men of a household were required to appear before the Lord at the three festivals; the women were not. Therefore, when Elkanah and his household went up to offer unto the Lord, Hannah would not go; for she said, 'I gave him to the Lord to serve before the Lord, so I will not Lake him until he is old enough to abide there and not return home with me' (1 Sam. 1:21-23). According to reports, there was a three-fold weaning of a child in old times. (1) When he was weaned from the mother's milk at two or three, (2) when he was weaned from a nurse at seven, and (3) when he was twelve and weaned from childish manners. So Samuel was about 12 years old when Hannah took him up to Eli (1 Sam. 1:24-28).
Hannah had prayed for a son, and God heard her prayer.
Then, as she fulfilled her vow and brought him before the Lord, she gave thanks and magnified the Lord. 'O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men' (Psalm 107:8).
v. 1. My Heart rejoices in the Lord;' not in my husband, my son, nor even in my happiness and fulfillment, but in the Lord. The Lord Jesus is the fountain of grace and the giver of all (,James 1:17-18; Phil. 3:3).
'my horn (strength) is exalted in the Lord.' The change in her state and her strength to conceive was by his power and grace (Col. 2:13). Spiritual life is in and by Christ (John 1:12-13; John 5:21). 'I rejoice in thy salvation.' Hannah probably referred to those who mocked her in her barrenness. But, judging from Verse 10, she also had a wider meaning; for Christ is God's King and his anointed: and it is through Christ that we have the victory over our enemies, Satan, sin, death, hell, and the grave (1 Cor. 15:25-26).
v. 2. 'there is none holy as the Lord.' Here is a well-taught believer who understands that God's chief attribute is his holiness. God is essentially, originally, perfectly, and unchangeably holy, as others are not! 'There is none beside thee,' holy, righteous, and just. All that God does is in accordance with and in keeping with his holiness. Christ came, lived, died, and arose that God may be holy, just, and the justifier of sinners (Rom. 3:25-26). 'neither is there any rock like our God.' Our Lord Jesus is often called the Rock. He is our Rock and our salvation to hide, shelter, and support all who come to him (Psalm 62:6-7; Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 10:4).
v. 3. 'talk no more exceeding proudly.' We have no room to complain if we are barren and no room to boast if we are blessed (1 Cor. 4:7; John 3:27). Arrogant words and thoughts will be judged, for God knows every heart (Dan. 5:20; James 4:6). Actions are weighed before God by the motive and principle from which they proceed.
vv. 4-5. Hannah, praising God's grace to the humble and weak, illustrates how he exalts the humble and resists the proud. (1) Mighty men, trusting in their strength and arms, are broken to pieces, while God gives strength to those who stumble in weakness. (2) Those who have proudly lived in plenty are forced to toil for bread, while the hungry have been filled by his grace. (3) Barren Hannah, by his mercy, has born several children, while proud Peninnah (according to tradition) can bear no more and loses those she has (Jer. 9: 23-24). God's grace is a gift to the needy and humble, not a reward for the rich (Matt. 5:3-7).
vv. 6-7. It is true that the Lord sovereignly, according to his purpose, controls all things; and men live and die, succeed or fail, are rich or poor, and rule or serve by the will of God. But it is also true that before God saves a sinner and reveals Christ to his heart, he will strip that sinner of all self righteousness, all self-hope, and all personal merit. God will bring us low before he exalts us, strip us before he clothes us and show us our poverty before he reveals our inheritance in Christ (Matt. 9:10-13: Phil. 3:4-10).
v. 8. Here is a description of our state in sin--poor beggars in the dust and on the dunghill (Eph. 2:12-13). But, because of our Lord's righteous obedience and shed blood, we are seated with him among princes on the throne of glory (Eph. 2:4-10),.
vv. 9-10. His word and his covenant shall not fail. He will keep his saints, his sheep, and not one shall perish (John 6:37-39: John 10:27-30). He shall judge the wicked, and none can stay his hand. The Lord will give power, strength, and victory to his king, the messiah! (John 17:23; Psalm 24). Christ came to set the captive free, and he shall not be discouraged (Isa. 61:1-3).