Hannah ~ Bible Study Questions

Hannah – Study One

Read 1 Samuel 1:1-20

1. What kind of marriage did Hannah and Penninah have with Elkanah?

2. The times of worship and sacrifice in Shiloh would also have been opportunities for festival and feasting. Why, then, was Hannah weeping and refusing to eat?

3. What vow did Hannah make in verse 11? Why?

4. How did Eli, the High Priest, react when he witnessed Hannah praying in the Temple?

5. What did Hannah’s response to Eli reveal about her character and her relationship with God?

6. How did God bless Hannah?

Read 1 Samuel 1:21-28

7. How did Hannah fulfil her vow to God?

8. What can we learn from Hannah’s example as a mother?


Hannah – Study Two

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-11

1. What did Hannah’s prayer reveal about her understanding of:

a. God’s character

b. God’s power

c. God’s relationship with people

d. God’s relationship with creation

e. God’s judgment

2. How did waiting on God strengthen Hannah’s faith?

Read Luke 1:39-79

3. In verse 10 Hannah made the first reference in the Bible to God’s “Anointed” one who was the Messiah or Christ. What hope did Hannah claim that God’s Anointed would bring to a world where the wicked seem to prevail?

4. How was Mary’s song (sometimes called the “Magnificat”) similar to Hannah’s prayer? What was celebrated in each?

Read 1 Samuel 2:18-21

5. What had Hannah sacrificed? What had she gained?

6. What can we learn from Hannah’s relationship with God?

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Samuel: The prophet who established kingship in Israel

by Narelle Atkins

The prophet Samuel was dedicated to the Lord by his mother, Hannah, at a very young age. He grew up in the temple and ministered before the Lord under Eli, the priest.

“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a Prophet of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 3:19-20.

Samuel played an instrumental role in Israel’s transition from the rule of Judges to a monarchy. He was a judge over Israel throughout his lifetime and when he grew old he appointed his sons as judges for Israel.

In 1 Samuel 8 we learn that Samuel’s sons were wicked and did not walk in the ways of their father. The elders of Israel requested Samuel appoint a king to lead them like the kings of the surrounding nations. They wanted a king who would lead them out and fight their battles.

Samuel was not happy with their request and he prayed to the Lord. The Lord told Samuel that it was not him they had rejected. The Israelites had rejected the Lord as their king. Samuel told the people the Lord’s response to their petition and how their lives would not be improved under a king (see 1 Samuel 10-18). The Israelites refused to listen to Samuel and the Lord’s response was to give His people an earthly king.

Samuel anointed Saul, a Benjamite, as the first king of Israel. Saul was not a good king and, as earlier foretold by Samuel, the Israelites suffered under Saul’s rule. Samuel later anointed David as the king of Israel. David had a difficult relationship with Saul and he did not rule over Israel until after Saul’s death.

Hannah: A faithful wife

by Deborah Horscroft

Hannah was the favourite wife of an Ephraimite called Elkanah. Hannah shared the same fate as many famous women of the Old Testament, in that she was unable to do what the culture deemed most important, and that was to have children. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah had produced children and took every available opportunity to rub Hannah’s nose in her “failing”. When the times of sacrifice and celebration came, Hannah became so depressed she could not eat.

In her anguish, Hannah poured her heart out to God. She lived in evil and chaotic times where the faithful were few. She wanted a son, not just for her own sake, but to serve God. She made a vow that would be unthinkable for most mothers. She would give up her son to God’s service, for his whole life.

Evidence of the moral and religious deterioration of the time is seen in Eli the priest’s reaction to Hannah crying and pleading before the Lord. He assumed she was drunk. Certainly Eli’s own sons had been behaving abominably in the temple, taking the offerings that belonged to God by force and treating the serving women in the temple as prostitutes, with no regard for the Lord.

1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that in those days there were few visions and it was rare to hear from God, yet Hannah knew when she fell pregnant that she had received an answer from the Lord. Her prayer of pleading became a prayer of praise.

Hannah rejoiced in a God who has power over life and death, who loves justice and is a refuge for the humble. Similar prayers of praise are recorded by King David (2 Samuel 22) and Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

Hannah’s prayer was prophetic, looking forward to the reign of God’s anointed king, David, and ultimately of the Messiah. (Messiah and Christ are the Hebrew and Greek words for “the anointed”.)

If you read through 1 and 2 Samuel you can follow the leadership of Hannah’s son Samuel, culminating in the anointing of David.

A Brief Prophetic History of Israel

by Deborah Horscroft

Below is a brief historical outline from Abraham to Jesus to help put our People of the Old Testament Bible studies into context.

The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the fathers of the nation that came to be known as Israel. Jacob (renamed Israel) had 12 sons and his descendents became the 12 tribes of Israel. They settled in Egypt around 1876 BC.

Moses and the Law: Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt around 1446BC. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the generation who had rebelled against God and worshipped the golden calf had all died (other than the faithful Joshua and Caleb). Moses gave the people God’s law but did not enter the Promised Land. Joshua led the people into Canaan.

The Judges: For 480 years God’s people were ruled by Judges. Samuel was the last.

The Golden Age of Israel: Kings Saul, David and Solomon reigned over the united kingdom of Israel from 1050-930BC. Psalms and Proverbs were written during this period.

The Divided Kingdom: The Kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), which maintained the dynastic line of David and contained the holy city of Jerusalem. Elijah, Jonah and Amos were prophets of this period.

The Fall of the Northern Kingdom 722BC: The Assyrians conquered Israel. Isaiah and Hosea were prophets during this period.

The Fall of Jerusalem 586BC: The people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon. Jeremiah was the prophet of God’s judgement. Daniel and Ezekiel were written during the exile.

The Restoration 538BC: When Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon the Jewish exiles returned under Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Esther and Zechariah were also written during this period.

Between the Testaments 432BC-5BC: After the last group of exiles had returned under Nehemiah and the last prophet, Malachi, had spoken, there was a time of scriptural silence until…

The Birth of Jesus the Christ 5 BC: Now under the rule of the Great Roman Empire, Israel awaited the promised Messiah, born in Bethlehem in the line of Judah.

This very sketchy history, including all the dates, was gleaned from the very useful notes in the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, especially the historical timeline.