Hannah Character Bible Study Background and Lessons
Character Study Key Verse
Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 1 Cor 10:6
Character’s Name: Hannah
His Ancestry and Family Life: Her husband Elkanah had two wives.
When and Where She Lived: Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim
Her Occupation: Mother and Wife
Place in History: Mother of Samuel, the prophet of God
Her husband loved her even though she had no children.
She was barren
1:7 Wept and would not eat because of difficult circumstances
1:16 Vexed; provoked
2 In her prayer she had a gloating attitude toward the other wife
Jealous of Pennineh’s fertility
Did not make her husband feel as if his love was special to her
1:6 Faithful- went yearly to the house of the Lord
1:10 Woman of prayer
1:18 Faith – after Eli told her God would answer she ate and had a cheerful countenance
1:19 Worshiped God
1:21-24 Devoted mother
1:24 Kept her vow to God
1:18 Humble “your servant”
2:1 Even though she was leaving her son at the temple, her heart rejoiced in God.
1:24 Grateful to Lord (3 year old bull plus other stuff)
Important Acts and Events:
1:11 Prayed and made vow to God
1:27 God answered her prayer and gave her a son
God blessed her with more children- 3 sons/2 daughters
Lessons from Her Life:
Her barrenness was not as a result of any sin or deficiency on her part. God had closed her womb- (1:5-6)Her barrenness was not forever. God used it for a time, and remove it in answer to her prayers. Just because a condition or circumstance lasts a long time, doesn’t mean that it’s permanent. Keep praying. God could remove it at any time.
Two wives for one husband is a recipe for trouble.
You cannot allow someone else’s sinful actions to rob you of joy. (1:6-7)
When your heart is set on something, even having something else very wonderful cannot replace it. Hannah had a wonderful husband, who loved her dearly and gave her much honor, but her heart was heavy because she didn’t have a child and her rival provoked her bitterly. It’s easy to look at one thing someone else has that we want, but not take in the full picture. Also, it’s easy to pine for what we don’t have, and take for granted what we do have.
When we are deeply distressed, pour it out before The Lord. Turn to Him rather than the escape of alcohol, friends, recreation, or other substitutes. (1:10, 15) What are some things we might be tempted to use as an escape, rather than pouring it out before The Lord?
Hannah knew how to make a petition before The Lord. She was humble (your servant), requested special favor (remember me), and was specific (grant me a son…give him to The Lord all the days of his life…razor will not touch his head [nazarite vow]). She kept it between herself and The Lord. (1:11)
Prayers don’t have to be heard to be answered. Hannah’s prayer was just between her and God. (1:13)
After Hannah prayed, pouring out her burdens before The Lord, that was it. She was able to eat and her face was no longer sad. She fully trusted The Lord to do the very best for her, and no longer carried the sorrow and anxiety that her burdens had brought forth. (1:18)
Though she cast her desires on The Lord, she didn’t stop doing her part in it. She wanted to have a son, so she continued to have marital relations with her husband. She didn’t worry about it, but she did what she could, and God did the rest. (1:19)
“In due time” Hannah conceived and bore a son. That is, in God’s time, it happened. Hannah may have wished that it happened earlier, but God’s timing was perfect for her and for Samuel.
She acknowledged God’s answer to prayer in the birth of her son, and was thankful. 1:20
Hannah was a dedicated mother. She didn’t have Samuel long, only long enough to wean him (probably 2-3 years), but she spent that time diligently training her son. You can see later as Samuel grew up that he didn’t follow the poor example of his mentor Eli’s sons, but he was much more godly. Doubtless, that was due in part to his mother’s godly influence.
She didn’t just think that giving here firstborn son to The Lord was enough. She also brought a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine as sacrifices. She was an abundant and generous giver.
Immediately after giving her young son, her heart’s dearest desire, to The Lord, she launched into praises and worship to Him. She had no way of knowing that The Lord would bless her with more children, but she was content in the knowledge that she could give all she had as a sacrifice to The Lord.
Though she could have left all responsibility for Samuel to Eli and the temple, she continued to visit and make him a new robe yearly. I have no doubt she also fed into his life and trained during that time, as she seems to have been a very conscientious mother.
God does not always choose to do it this way, but in the case of Hannah, He rewarded her willingness to give here son to Him by granting her 5 other children. Whether the benefit is seen here on earth or not, you cannot out-give God. As it says in Luke 6:38- “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”