Hannah

How she waited and prayed patiently for a child and was rewarded.

Print this page Print this page

Hannah's narrative concludes with a comment on her annual visit with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. At that time, her motherhood is emphasized: it is not "Hannah" but "his [Samuel's] mother" who makes a "little robe" and brings it to him at Shiloh (2:20). Elkanah and Hannah receive the blessings of Eli the priest, who prophesies that she will have other children because of her vow to God. Indeed, Hannah's story concludes with fulfillment of God's blessing in the form of three additional sons and two daughters.

Hannah's image is secure indeed: she is recognized as mother of Samuel--who becomes a prophet, judge, and king-maker--and as a good woman. She proves herself independent and resourceful, never abandoning her goals or demeaning others as a means to achieve them; she demonstrates women's activity in family ritual practices; she discloses social responsibility by making a vow that is upheld by her husband; and she links the realms of private and public religious life by vowing dedication of her son and by bringing her own sacrifice to God in fulfillment of that vow.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Lillian Klein (Abensohn) received her Ph.D. in English literature from University of California, Irvine Campus, and her M.S.B.A. from Boston University. She taught literature, specializing in Bible, at the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, for twenty years before returning to the United States to teach at American University. She is the author of The Triumph of Irony in the Book of Judges and From Deborah to Esther: Sexual Politics in the Hebrew Bible as well as many articles published in A Feminist Companion to the Bible.