Meet Hannah: Mother of Samuel the Prophet and Judge

Hannah in the Bible
Hannah presenting Samuel to Eli. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images

Hannah is one of the most poignant characters in the Bible. Like several other women in Scripture, she was barren. But God answered Hannah's prayer, and she became the mother of Samuel the prophet and judge.

Hannah: Mother of Samuel the Prophet

  • Known for: Hannah was the second wife to Elkanah. She was barren but prayed to God year after year for a child. The Lord granted her request and gave her Samuel, the gift-child she offered back to Him. Samuel became a great prophet and judge over Israel.
  • Bible References: Hannah's story is found in the first and second chapters of 1 Samuel.
  • Occupation: Wife, mother, homemaker.
  • Hometown: Ramah of Benjamin, in the hill country of Ephraim.
  • Family Tree:
    Husband: Elkanah
    Children: Samuel, three other sons, and two daughters.


People in ancient Israel believed that a large family was a blessing from God. Infertility, therefore, was a source of humiliation and shame. To make matters worse, Hannah's husband had another wife, Peninnah, who not only bore children but mocked and taunted Hannah mercilessly. According to Scripture, Hannah's suffering went on for years.

Once, at the house of the Lord in Shiloh, Hannah was praying so intently that her lips moved silently with the words she spoke to God in her heart. Eli the priest saw her and accused her of being drunk. She answered that she was praying, pouring out her soul to the Lord.

Touched by her pain, Eli answered: "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." (1 Samuel 1:17, NIV)

After Hannah and her husband Elkanah returned from Shiloh to their home at Ramah, they slept together. Scripture says, "and the Lord remembered her." (1 Samuel 1:19, NIV). She became pregnant, had a son, and named him Samuel, which means "God hears."

But Hannah had made a promise to God that if she bore a son, she would give him back for God's service. Hannah followed through on that promise. She handed her young child Samuel over to Eli for training as a priest.

God blessed Hannah further for honoring her pledge to him. She bore three more sons and two daughters. Samuel grew up to become the last of Israel's judges, its first prophet, and counselor to its first two kings, Saul and David.

Accomplishments of Hannah

  • Hannah gave birth to Samuel and she presented him to the Lord, just as she promised she would.
  • Her son Samuel is listed in the Book of Hebrews 11:32, in the "Faith Hall of Fame."

Strengths

  • Hannah was perseverant. Even though God was silent toward her request for a child for many years, she never stopped praying. She continued to bring her desire for a child to God in persistent prayer with the unrelenting hope that God would grant her petition.
  • Hannah had faith that God had the power to help her. She never doubted God's abilities.

Weaknesses

Like most of us, Hannah was strongly influenced by her culture. She drew her self-esteem from what others thought she should be like.

Life Lessons From Hannah in the Bible

After years of praying for the same thing, most of us would give up. Hannah did not. She was a devout, humble woman, and God finally answered her prayers. Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV). That's exactly what Hannah did. Hannah teaches us to never give up, to honor our promises to God, and to praise God for his wisdom and kindness.

Key Bible Verses

1 Samuel 1:6-7
Because the LORD had closed Hannah's womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. (NIV)

1 Samuel 1:19-20
Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him." (NIV)

1 Samuel 1:26-28
And she said to him, "Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life, he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there. (NIV)

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Zavada, Jack. "Meet Hannah: Mother of Samuel the Prophet and Judge." Learn Religions, Oct. 6, 2021, learnreligions.com/hannah-mother-of-samuel-701153. Zavada, Jack. (2021, October 6). Meet Hannah: Mother of Samuel the Prophet and Judge. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/hannah-mother-of-samuel-701153 Zavada, Jack. "Meet Hannah: Mother of Samuel the Prophet and Judge." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/hannah-mother-of-samuel-701153 (accessed October 28, 2021).