Day 96: Hannah's Prayer

The Two Books of Samuel 

Author and Date: 

The two books of Samuel are believed to have been originally a single volume written from various source documents by editors in the Deuteronomic tradition during the Babylonian Exile or in the immediate post-exilic period (sixth century BC). The Books of Samuel are part of the Deuteronomic history along with Joshua, Judges, and 1-2 Kings.


There were two versions of the Books of Samuel operative in the Christian era. The older is found in the Greek Septuagint (third to second centuries BC), which was translated from the older Hebrew texts as part of the Scriptures for the benefit of the Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora. This version was the first to divide Samuel into TWO BOOKS; it regarded them as the first two Books of Kings. (The books are now called 1-2 Kings were titled the Third and Fourth Books of the Kingdoms, and the Latin Vulgate [fourth century AD] referred to these four books as the “Books of the Kings.”)

Main Themes:

The two Books of Samuel highlight the beginning of the monarchy in Israel from the divine appointment and anointing of Saul to the succession of David and his reign. The themes that permeate these books are familiar ones: God remained faithful to his covenant despite the sins of his people and the personal failings of his anointed kings. The renewed covenant under David was full of God’s promises and placed a lesser obligation upon the people. The prophet Samuel served as the moral conscience of the kings, challenging them to remain or return to fidelity to God when their poor judgement led them into error. 

The two Books of Samuel are historical accounts that are infused with religious significance in order to show how God’s plan of salvation continues to be carried out even when the People of God and their leaders fail to cooperate with his will as they ought. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Samuel 1:1-28 Hannah, who was childless, prayed fervently for a son; God heard Hannah’s prayer and granted her what she asked for despite her apparent infertility. Her son, Samuel, would become a prophet and judge of Israel. Samuel is a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!) in his stalwart obedience to God that brought about the next phase in God’s plan of salvation, the kingly era of Israel. (CCC 489, 2379)

Ch 2:1-11 Hannah’s song of praise and thanksgiving resembles in many ways the greeting of Mary on her visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat (cf. Lk 1:46-55). 

My heart exults: True prayer must not be reduced to mere words but must spring from the heart. (CCC 2097, 2562, 2619, 2622)

Ch 2:12-36 Samuel was a reverent and faithful servant at the shrine at Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was located. Nevertheless, Samuel’s sanctity contrasted dramatically with the sinfulness of the sons of Eli, who not only had little regard for the proper sacrificial rituals and laws but also engaged in illicit sexual liaisons with the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting. An unnamed prophet announced God’s condemnation of the sons of Eli and foretold a future reform of the Levitical priesthood. (CCC 1544, 2118, 2120, 2578)

Psalm 149 A Military tone characterizes this psalm to illustrate the effort of the faithful who, strengthened by prayer, go forth to do battle against evil and injustice. This psalm refers to two groups of people: the hasidim (faithful ones) and the anawim (poor and humble ones), who together comprise the “sons of Zion,” the People of God. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, May 23, 2001)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” 

Hannah’s Prayer 

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we do give you praise. We do lift up your name. We want you to be glorified, Father. God, you are good and you are glorified this day and every day whether we acknowledge it, whether we even notice or recognize your great glory. Lord God, you are the source of all goodness and all goodness on its own gives you praise. Every beautiful thing praises you, because you are the source of all beauty. Every true thing praises you, because you are the source of all truth. Every good thing praises you, even if it praises you in ignorance, because you are the source of all goodness. And so, help us to always always recognize your hand and your sustaining power in goodness and truth and beauty. Come to us in our need with your power. Come to us in our brokenness with your healing. And come to us in our weakness with your strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”