Samuel and the word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:1b-4:1a

The literary structure of 1 Samuel 3:1b-4:1a

Last week we saw how Samuel and Eli were going in two different directions:

  • Samuel the child, was growing in favor with God and people, getting ready to do great things for God.
  • While Eli the old man, and his house, were told they would lose their place as the chief priestly family in Israel, along with other judgments.

This contrast continues in our story today. The judgment on Eli and his house is confirmed and reinforced, and we see Samuel begin his ministry which offers new hope to Israel.

The setting

As we begin our story, Samuel is anywhere between 8 and 12 years old. (He was 3 or 4 when Hannah left him with Eli. And in the story before this we learn that his mother had five other children. So if she had one a year he might be 8 or 9. But there may have been more space between children, so he could be older. Josephus, the first century Jewish writer thought he was 12 – Antiquities 5.10.5.) And Eli is in his nineties (he dies later at age 98 – 1 Samuel 4:15).

1And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

 Now we just heard a prophet condemn Eli and his house, but we are told here that such words, as well as visions, didn’t happen very often at this time in Israel’s history. This was, no doubt, a sign of the distance between the people and God due to their unfaithfulness. (Amos 8:11-12; 1 Samuel 14:37; 28:6)

2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

We learn several things here. Samuel was sleeping in the tabernacle/temple, although probably not in the holy of holies with the ark, but near to it. (The point is not that Samuel is in the holy of holies but that the ark is in the temple in general. The mention of the ark, prepares us for the following ark stories starting in 1 Samuel 4.). Eli seems to be out of the tabernacle, but nearby.

And it was in the early morning hours, before the lamp of the tabernacle went out at sunrise. Perhaps Samuel was in the tabernacle all night to tend to the Lamp, to make sure it didn’t go out before sunrise, as the Law of Moses instructs, since Eli couldn’t see anymore (Exodus 27:21; Leviticus 24:1-4)

The Lord calls out to Samuel

4Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

 We see here Samuel’s eagerness to serve Eli, his adopted father. He goes to him ready to help him with whatever need he might have. But God doesn’t get through to Samuel.

6And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”

So the same thing happens again. Then we have an explanatory word –

7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

When it says Samuel didn’t “know the Lord” it doesn’t mean that Samuel had no relationship or understanding of God, for as we saw last week he served the Lord and grew in favor with the Lord (2:26). The phrase very specifically explains the situation here – he didn’t yet know what God’s voice sounded like. This is in contrast to later in his life when he heard and recognized God’s voice all the time. (The two phrases “did not yet know the Lord” and “the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” are synonymous.) (The word for “know” is the same as in 2:12 that describes Eli’s sons, but for them it has the sense of “did not have regard for the Lord.”)

In v. 8 we start to make some progress –

8And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Eli figures out what’s going on and tells Samuel what to do.

10And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Finally, on the fourth try a connection is made. It’s interesting that it says, “the Lord came and stood.” This was not just Samuel hearing something, but also him seeing something – it was a vision experience (v. 15). And then we have –

The Lord’s message

 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

“Tingling ears” means that people will be astonished by what they hear; more specifically in Scripture it means astonished by a coming disaster. (2 Kings 21:12; Jeremiah 19:3)

12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

Once again Eli’s responsibility and sin is pointed out. He did not restrain his sons and their activities as priests. Now, this doesn’t apply to all parents and their kids, where after a certain age children make their own choices. Eli’s situation is different. He was the chief priest and he could have removed his wicked sons from their roles.

But since he didn’t, God did it – for all their house throughout all time. If before, God promised to them that they would be priests forever (2:30), here he says that their punishment will be forever; and their sin will not be atoned for forever. And the Lord seals this with an oath.

(What God told Samuel here is pretty much the same as what the unnamed prophet told Eli. But this second message serves to confirm the first word and it makes it irrevocable [Birch]).

Now, put yourself in Samuel’s shoes. He is anywhere from 8-12 years old, and God has just told him that his adoptive family will be severely judged. What would you do?

15Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.

 I would be hesitant and afraid too.

16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”

Eli knows it’s bad. He knew the sins of his sons and that he did not stop them. And he has already heard the word of judgment from the unnamed prophet in chapter 2.

18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.

Samuel comes through. Despite his fear he tells Eli everything.

And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”

I don’t know whether Eli’s response is a good one coming from submission to God or whether it is mere resignation that he knows there is no way to avoid his judgment at this point. Either way he accepts it.

Our final verses focus on –

Samuel’s ministry as a prophet

– going into his adult life.

19And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. 4:1And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

Just as Deuteronomy 18 predicts, God has raised up a prophet like Moses. Samuel is like Moses in that he held three offices at once. He was a Levite with priestly privileges, he was a political leader (a judge, as we will see) and he was a prophet. And he is also like Moses, or any true prophet in that all his words came true (Deuteronomy 18:22). None fell to the ground.

And this means that there is a new hope in Israel. God is once again speaking to them through Samuel. From Beersheba to Dan means from the southern-most point of Israel to the northern-most point. God is speaking to all Israel once again, through Samuel.

This leads me to my first reflection on what we should learn from this story. Even in the most difficult times, when peoples’ ears are tingling it is so bad –

1. God gives hope to his people. Things are really bad. The house of Eli, the chief priestly family in Israel will fade away due to their sin. But there is new hope for Israel in Samuel, the prophet.

And even when things seem bad for us as his people today, God is still working and so we can have hope as well, that God will accomplish his purposes through us.

 2. God works in the lives of children. Already, last week we saw Samuel growing in the presence of God. But here there is more.

  • God speaks to a child/young person and gives him a specific message to deliver to an adult.
  • God called him as a child/young person to serve him as a prophet and this continued on throughout his life.

We need to be attuned to what God is doing in the lives of the children and young people around us so that we can help, just as Eli helped here, to connect them to God.

A question. 3. Is God trying to talk to you? I’m not suggesting that it is something as dramatic as with Samuel here, or an audible voice and a vision. But God does seek to speak to us and his Holy Spirit lives within each one of us as believers in Jesus. Well, Eli and Samuel teach us how to listen.

  • In v. 10 Samuel said, “speak,” Lord. This is an invitation for God to speak to us. Do we ever invite God to speak, or take time to listen for what he might say? Or are we always talking at God with our needs and concerns. Invite God to speak to you.
  • In v. 10 he also says, “for your servant hears.” This indicates that you are not just willing to hear it, you are his servant and so you are willing to do what God says. It is an obedient listening that opens the door to God’s voice in our lives.

Another question. 4. Is God calling you? As we know, God calls various ones to special roles of service among the people of God. And this can happen as here, when you are a child/young person or as with Moses when you are 80 years old. For myself I was 14 years old when God called me.

What about this morning – is there anyone here who is sensing that God is calling you?

And then finally today, 5. We should be brave and do God’s will. Bravery doesn’t mean you don’t have fear. It means that you act despite your fear. And the child Samuel here is an example of bravery to us. Yes, he was afraid, but he spoke out the message anyway; all of it.

  • Even though it was a negative word of judgment.
  • Even though it was to his adoptive family.

If you want to do God’s will it’s not just about encouraging people and making them feel better. It also involves dealing with sin and brokenness in people’s lives and sometimes this is not well received.

But just as Samuel obeyed anyway, so should we when God tells us to act.

Samuel and Eli: Two people, two different directions. 1 Samuel 2:11-3:1

The literary structure of 1 Samuel 2:11-3:1

We are moving forward in the book of 1 Samuel, after the stories about Hannah, Samuel’s mother. The next two stories are about Samuel as a child. And today we look at the first of these, which is a contrast case between Eli and his family, and Samuel and his family and how they are going in different, even opposite directions. Eli and his house will fade from the scene due to God’s judgment, while Samuel’s family is blessed, and he himself is getting ready to do great things for God. We will look at the verses that treat Eli first and then Samuel.

The wrong direction: Eli and his sons

We begin with the sins of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, starting in chapter 2:12.

12Now the sons of Eli were worthless men.

Worthless can also be translated as scoundrels. It literally means “sons of wickedness.”

They did not know the Lord. 

Wow! What a way to begin the story. Worthless and don’t know the Lord. You certainly get the impression that things are going downhill from here and that is correct.

13The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.

Priests lived off of the offerings given to the Lord. And what portions of meat the priests got was legislated in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 7:28-36; Deuteronomy 18:3). The custom here at the Shiloh tabernacle is different than what the Law of Moses prescribes, but the real problem shows up in the next verses.

15Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.”

Eli’s sons didn’t want boiled meat. And they took their portion before the Lord got his. And if there was resistance they threatened violence to those who came to sacrifice. They even took the fat, which was strictly reserved for the Lord (Leviticus 7:22-25)

This would be something like church officials today stealing the offering of the people for their own use and then threatening violence if church goers to give more.

17Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s more.

22Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” 

So their own father, the high priest and judge of Israel, testifies against them and warns them. (For women at the tabernacle see Exodus 38:8)

But v. 25 goes on to say, 

But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. 

In other words, it was too late for them. God’s mind was made up. They had moved past the point of grace due to their previous sins.

Now we turn to Eli’s sins. 

27And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel.’ 

Eli’s house, among all the Levites, was chosen to be the chief priests in Israel.

29Why then do you scorn (or, look with greed on) my sacrifices  and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’

Here is where we see that Eli is not without sin. All the “yous” here are plural. He warned his sons, but allowed the abuses to go on. As high priest he could have removed them from service (1 Samuel 3:13). He even seems to have benefited from their taking whatever meat they wanted. The prophet says, you all have “fattened yourselves,” and later we learn in chapter 4:13 that Eli was overweight. Perhaps there is a connection.

30Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.’  

A promise that God made forever is revoked because they despised the Lord. This is really serious!

32Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever.’ 

Notice how the judgment fits the crime. They were greedy with God’s offerings and now they will be cut off from the support of the offerings of Israel, even as Israel is about to enter into a time of real prosperity. 

33The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.’

This part of the prophecy was fulfilled when King Saul killed 85 of Eli’s descendants in the city of Nob (1 Samuel 22:6-23). Only Abiathar was spared. And although he served David for a time, during Solomon’s reign he was exiled and this prophecy is referenced when this happened in 1 Kings 2:26-27.

34And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day.’

This is narrated in chapter 4:11.

35’And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, ‘Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.’” 

This was fulfilled with the choice of the house of Zadok, another of David’s priests, to be the chief priests over Israel (1 Kings 2:35). Eli’s descendants will beg from them for an opportunity to receive of the Lord’s offerings for support.

Well, this is certainly the wrong direction – sin and fearful judgment. Now we move to –

The right direction: Samuel and his family

And first we look at his parents Elkanah and Hannah. 

18Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. 19And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Both the ephod and the robe here were priestly attire. It is very sweet that his mom brought him a new robe each year. This gives us a picture of a loving and caring family, despite their distance. 

20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the Lord.” So then they would return to their home. 21Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. 

So Hannah was blessed with six children, including Samuel.

And then we come to Samuel himself. In the midst of all the sin and judgment on Eli and his sons narrated here there are five statements about Samuel, skillfully woven in, that show he is going in a different direction. The first and last are the same and begin and end this story:

2:11bAnd the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest. 

3:3Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. 

He was under apprenticeship to Eli. And so even as a child he is carrying out various duties in the tabernacle.

Then we have:

v. 18 – Samuel was ministering before the Lord

v. 21 – And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord

v. 26 – Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man 

This presents a picture of one who is getting ready, even with all the corruption around him; getting ready to serve the Lord in great ways.

Let me highlight –

Three themes

– that stand out to me and that we can take with us today.

1. God judges sin. And this is true no matter what position you hold – being important priests or even the high priest and judge over all Israel. And this is true no matter what promise you have from God, as Eli’s house had a promise “forever” from God. In the end this truth stands clear – “those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt” (v. 30). And we see the terrible results on Eli’s sons, Eli himself and his household.

And if we take the path of sin and walk in this direction, we too will find sorrow and judgment. No matter what position we have or what promise we may think we have from God. God judges sin. 

But just a surely, 2. God blesses faithfulness. We see this with Elkanah and Hannah and how God gave them 5 more children after giving up Samuel to serve the Lord. And we will see this for sure in Samuel’s life as he grows up.

And if we take the path of faithfulness to God and walk in this direction, we will be blessed as well. We will go through hard times too, but we will be blessed.

3. We must honor God above our family. Eli’s key sin is stated in v. 29 – you “honor your sons above me.” Faithfulness to God must come before our loyalty to our family. But he had it the other way around. So, when he had to make a choice, because his sons were sinning terribly – he chose to overlook their sin or even benefit from it, instead of being faithful to God. Notice he didn’t commit the sins his sons did, but since he could as high priest and judge stop them, but didn’t,  he became responsible for them also.

And we might one day have to make a choice like this as well. When we do what God calls us to do, or do what we know to be right, our family might reject us. But we must be faithful to God anyway. We must always choose God when faithfulness is at stake even in difficult family situations.

Hannah’s praise. 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Follow the link for The literary structure of 1 Samuel 2:1-10

We are finishing up the stories about Hannah in 1 Samuel today. We have covered her prayer for a son, her gift to God of her son and now today we cover her praise to God.

I said when we began this series, that Hannah was a strong and godly woman and I want to take note of this briefly before we get to our passage today in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

Hannah was a strong woman

  • She endured a great deal of testing – her rival wife’s taunting and a husband who didn’t really get it. She put up with a lot.
  • She prayed boldly at the tabernacle by herself, which must have been unusual in that day.
  • She made a vow to give up her child to God, without talking to her husband first.
  • She placed her child under a Nazarite vow, without talking to her husband first.
  • She defended her character before the High priest and ruler of the land, when he thought she was drunk. She stood up for herself; she spoke up.
  • She named her son, not her husband.
  • She decided when to take Samuel to give to the Lord, 3 or more years later, after he was weaned.
  • She brought Samuel to Eli and offered him up. Even though both she and her husband were there she is the one who says, “I have lent him to the Lord” – 1 Samuel 1:28.

We already know from the story that her Elkanah loved her, but we can see here that he respected her. Her strength was not a threat to him. He accepted her vow to give up the child who was his son as well; he accepted that the child would be a Nazarite; and he accepted that Hannah would fulfill her vow after Samuel was weaned, saying, “do what seems best to you” -1 Samuel 1:23.

She was a strong woman, but also –

Hannah was a godly woman

  • She did not return evil for evil, harm for harm to Peninnah.
  • She took her problem to the Lord, she didn’t scheme; she didn’t fight with Peninnah; she didn’t rely on the flesh.
  • She knew how to pray boldly and persistently
  • She had great faith in God to answer her prayer
  • She kept her word, the vow that she made to God.
  • She was very generous in her offerings to the Lord
  • She gave the gift of her son to serve God forever
  • She publicly worshiped and praised God for his goodness to her.

Well, not only was she strong and godly, as we will see, she was a prophet as well. This leads us to our verses for today.

Hannah’s praise to God

I want to point out four things from these verses. And the first is found in vs. 1-2. 1. Hannah thanked God for answered prayer.

1And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. 2There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.”

She was reviled for not being able to have a child. She was looked down on. Some would have said that God was punishing her. But God heard her prayer and lifted her up. And in response, she not only brought an offering, and gave her son – she also spoke out words of praise to God, publicly, for all to hear. And notice how wholehearted and personal it is – “my heart . . . I rejoice.”

The phrase “my horn is exalted” is not something we go around saying, but it was a way of talking about one’s strength or victory, like an animal that wins a battle and lifts up its head. It can also refer to having a progeny (1 Chronicles 25:5) which she gained through Samuel.

She confesses her strong faith in a God who is beyond compare:

  1. there is none holy like the Lord
  2. there is no God besides God, that is, the one true God
  3. there is no rock like God

And this should remind us that we should also thank God for answered prayer. We might be quick to ask for prayer, but we need to be just as quick to give praise to God when he acts to save and bless us, and to do so publicly. This is only right and it also encourages and strengthens others when they hear what God is doing.

This is a real theme in the book of Psalms. Here is just one example. Psalm 40:10 says, “I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” God had helped him and he told others about it. And likewise, we need to make it known how great God is through our public praises before the congregation. Just like Hannah did.

2. God knows about and judges the arrogant. The focus of verses 3-5 is found in verse three.

3Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth”

The enemies of the faithful are the proud and the arrogant. And these are always boasting and talking it up. They lift themselves up over God’s people. This certainly applies to Peninnah, but also more broadly to the Philistines who were dominating and oppressing Israel at this time.

Next we learn something about God that relates to this.

“for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”

What she is saying is that God knows and hears all that the arrogant say and do and God will weigh, or judge all their words and actions.

And then we have three examples of how God judges by means of reversal, putting down the arrogant and raising up the lowly who look to him.

4The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. 5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.”

  • The militarily strong and the weak change places
  • The well fed and the hungry change places
  • The woman who can’t have children and the one who can change places.

In each of these cases the arrogant who are lifted up are put down and the lowly who look to God are raised up by the hand of God.

Who are your enemies? Do you have any; those who oppose and deride you? Hannah’s message is clear know that God hears the boasts of your enemies and will act. You can trust God to take care of things.

In verses 6-9 we learn that 3. God is able to judge the powerful. The focus here is found in v. 9 and works its way backwards (in parallel to the material above – see the literary structure), so we will go through these verses in reverse order.

9for not by might shall a man prevail.”

The enemies of the faithful are powerful in this world’s eyes. But they depend on mere human strength – whether military, social or political. They rely on their own wisdom and resources.

Next we learn something about God that relates to this –

8For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. 9He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness”

V. 8 is talking about creation and how God has established the dry land on the waters by means of pillars, as it were. And so she’s saying, God is more than able to take care of his own and judge the wicked, no matter how powerful they may seem to be, because he is the same God who created the world and all that is in it.

And then we have another set of three of examples of God’s judgment that reverses the order of things.

6The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. 8He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.”

God holds the power of life and death. He can raise up and he can put down. Indeed, God can reverse any situation and set things right. The same power that God used to create the world is more than enough to reorder things and bring about justice and righteousness.

Do your enemies seem powerful? Hannah’s message to us is this – God is more powerful than any enemy we have, and he can take care of us.

4. God will use his anointed to bring victory. In v. 10 Hannah looks ahead with regard to her son Samuel and beyond.

10The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

She sees prophetically that her son will be a judge whom God uses to bring about victory over the Philistines. God will thunder from heaven to defeat the Philistines, just as he does in 1 Samuel 7:10. He is God’s anointed being a prophet, priest and judge.

Not only has God given her a victory over her arrogant and powerful enemies, God will act for all Israel through Samuel.

God will “exalt the horn” of her son and give him victory to lift up the Israelites and to put down the Philistines.

(Samuel was not a “king” or called “anointed.” Israel didn’t technically have a king at this time. This language should be taken like the “prince” and “throne” language of v. 8 in a more generic sense. Israel’s leaders could be called princes, as in Judges 5:15, and a judge ruled – Ruth 1:1 – they decided legal cases and they led in battle. But they weren’t a king like the nations around them had, who had total control of a nation state.)

But her prophetic voice doesn’t just address Samuel. It looks forward to king David, God’s anointed and how God will use him to bless Israel. (The titles of “king” and “anointed” fit David better. God also thunders for David  – 2 Samuel 22:14.) And this is where 1 and 2 Samuel is going – the stories of David.

And ultimately her prophetic vision looks forward to the Son of David – Jesus the Christ, or the anointed one.

  • For it is only with Jesus that resurrection comes as v. 6 says, “he brings down to Sheol and raises up”, that is from the dead.
  • And it is only with Jesus that lasting reversal comes, as he talks about in the beatitudes, when the hungry will be well fed, and the well fed will be hungry – Luke 6.
  • And it is only with Jesus that all the earth will be judged as v. 10 says, he will “judge the ends of the earth,” that, is the whole world.

Hannah as a prophet gives us a picture of the future, from Samuel’s adult life all the way to when Jesus returns and rules over the world.