Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Five Righteous Women

Lesson 5: Hannah Prays for a Son

(Scripture to Read: 1 Samuel 1:1–18)

The life of Samuel, the prophet of Israel, served as the bridge from the period of the judges to Israel's transition as a monarchy. Samuel ministered as a judge-leader in Israel, and he also anointed both Saul and David, Israel's first two kings. The focus in the story of Samuel's conception and birth is on Hannah, a barren wife of Elkanah, who lived in Ramathaim (better known as Ramah), about fifteen miles north of Jerusalem.

Hannah's inability to have children did not diminish her husband's love. But she longed to have a child, since barrenness was considered a curse in ancient Israel. When Elkanah and Hannah went to worship the Lord at the tabernacle in Shiloh, about fifteen miles north of Ramah, she prayed so intently the high priest, Eli, thought she was drunk and rebuked her. But when he heard Hannah's request, Eli assured her that her prayer would be answered.


Study Questions

  1. It was common in that day for a man to take a second wife, especially if his first wife was barren. How did this practice compare to God's plan for marriage (Genesis 2:24)?
  2. Hannah promised God that her son would be a lifelong Nazirite. Since this was not required by the Law of Moses (Numbers 6:1-8), why do you think Hannah made this vow?
  3. Hannah prayed in deep anguish for a child. What circumstance in her own home deepened her pain at being childless (v. 6)?
  4. The Bible says in Genesis 15:6 that Abraham "believed the Lord." How do we know we can say the same thing about Hannah in terms of her request?

Something to Think About

We sometimes use prayer as a last resort, after we have tried every other thing we can think of to meet our needs or get help in a tight situation.

But Hannah's example reminds us that prayer is where the real strength of the life of faith is found. Be sure to make time each day to pray.