Hannah and Grace
Hannah could not eat. Her throat was too tight to swallow; her heart felt like a stone; and her stomach was contracted into a painful knot. The sorrow and shame had grown beyond her strength to bear. With tears on her face, she listened to the happy chatter of her husband's children as they ate the festival meal. The spiteful insults from their mother spun in her mind-the malicious tone emphasizing the cruel words.

She found no comfort in her husband's assurance that he loved her the best of his two wives. The disgrace of her barren state was a weight that grew heavier with each passing year. Would her husband still love her when the beauty of youth had disappeared into faded old age? How could she put up with her jealous rival's taunts even one more day? How lonely she felt as looked into her childless future.

She barely heard her husband's effort to comfort her. How could he understand her grief?

When Peninnah and her children finished their meal and left, Hannah turned toward the temple. She prayed silently. Her emotions moved across her face, her lips and body. She implored God  to give her a son. Hannah did not hold anything back; not her tears; not her desperate desire for relief from her tormentor. She even vowed to dedicate to God the son she hoped God would give her. 

Eli the High Priest was watching and assumed the worst. He thought she must be drunk. Indignant, he rebuked her.

She pleaded, “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Hannah returned to her family. Hope now replaced her “great anguish and grief.” The next morning, Hannah, her husband, his other wife and children worshipped God and left Shiloh for home.

“So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel (asked or heard of God) saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’”

Hannah's Hebrew name Channah means favored or grace. God's grace was extended to Hannah. He gave her the son she prayed for and years later a new family of three sons and two daughters of her own.

She did not forget God's grace in giving her more than she asked for. Her prayer of praise and thanksgiving was recorded and preserved to remind generations to come, and God's people today, that God is mighty, holy, and gracious.

References: The New Strongs Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, copyright 2001 Thomas Nelson Publishers; Josephus Book V Chapter X, 1957 edition, The John C. Winston Co.; Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the bible, 1986 by G. G. The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd.; The Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 1985 The Zondervan Corporation; I Samuel Chapters One, Two, and Three; Scripture quotations from The New International Version

For the Scripture reference list and related Bible Study Guide go to Bible Study Guide: Hannah and Grace: Heard of God, Prayer God Answers

Scarlett Stough