Poole on 1 Samuel 2:1: Hannah's Song, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] And Hannah (Phil. 4:6) prayed, and said, (see Luke 1:46, etc.) My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, (Ps. 92:10; 112:9) mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I (Ps. 9:14; 13:5; 20:5; 35:9) rejoice in thy salvation.



[And Hannah prayed, וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל] That is to say, Hannah had prayed, that is, she had asked from God a son; because she had received him from Him, now she says, or gives thanks. Or, Hannah prayed to God, that He might receive Samuel as welcome; afterwards she give thanks over such a benefit received; or, now, she prayed, that is, she poured out prayers, etc. (Vatablus). That is to say, she had prayed, etc. But this exposition is harsh. At first appearance the language of prayingappears to be conjoined with the following song, rather than with the preceding prayer. But why is this song called prayer? Response: Because it is a certain speaking of the mind with God, or elevation of the mind to God; and the giving of thanks is reckoned among the parts of prayer (Mendoza). To pray, in the place of to praise, Psalm 72:20 (Mendoza).


Hannah prayed, that is, praised God; which is a part of prayer, Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1; so it is a synecdochical expression.


[My heart hath exulted, עָלַץ] It rejoiceth (Vatablus, Drusius). It is more than glad. For he exults, who shows his inner joy of soul by an external sign, as by leaping and raising himself up, by showing the disposition of his soul by movement and leaping (Drusius, similarly Sanchez, Mendoza).


[My heart] Profane joy overflows the body, but does not penetrate into the heart; the mouth only is filled with laughter, Job 8:21 (where he speaks of temporal felicity), but in laughter the heart is sorrowful, Proverbs 14:13 (Mendoza).


My heart rejoiceth, or, leapeth for joy; for the words note not only inward joy, but also the outward demonstrations of it.


[In the Lord, בַּיהוָה] Through Jehovah, that is, by the Lord as author, or the blessing of the Lord, my heart is full of joy (Vatablus). Either, this my joy is not at all vain and mundane, compared to emulation or mockery: but solid, ordered in its entirety unto the honor of God. Or, I do not claim for myself the matter of such great joy; I attribute nothing to my merits, but all to divine grace (Malvenda).


In the Lord, as the author and the master of my joy, that he hath heard my prayer, and accepted my son for his service.



[Mine horn is exalted] The same idea is repeated in other words (Piscator). A horn signifies power and glory (Menochius, Lapide, Vatablus, Mendoza, Sanchez). It is a Metaphor taken from horned animals, which defend their lives with their horns; whence they are wont to glory because of their horns or strength. That is to say, I have matter of glorying in thy power, O God (Vatablus). My head, both well instructed and sublime, was made firm and strong (Malvenda out of Junius, similarly Munster). Thus they maintain horn is to be taken, Job 16:15, and with this passage they compare Psalm 27:6. Formerly I was infirm, but now enlarged with a son and powerful (Malvenda). She calls Samuel her horn, because he was the strength of his mother; as Reuben is called the strength of his father, Genesis 49:3 (Sanchez).


[In my God[2]] That is to say, My glory I both received from God, and return to God; I attribute no part of it to myself (Mendoza).


Mine horn is exalted; my strength and glory (which are oft signified by a horn, as Psalm 89:17, 24; 92:10) are advanced and manifested to my vindication, and the confusion of mine enemies.


[My mouth is enlarged, רָחַב] It enlarged itself: which is to say, I now have something to say in response to my enemies, if they should cast my barrenness in my teeth: formerly my mouth was closed (Vatablus, similarly Menochius, Tirinus, Sanchez, Lapide). Hitherto the shame of barrenness had bound the tongue of Hannah, and had obstructed her mouth (Tirinus out of Sanchez). My mouth, which was previously shut with sorrow, is not unimpeded, and unbound (Martyr). With opened mouth, I boast and glory (Piscator). My mouth is opened to speak mighty deeds of God (Jonathan in Malvenda). Others: My mouth is enlarged with laughter and joy, as in Psalm 126:2, our mouth was filled with joy (Hebrew, laughter[3]). But to enlarge the mouth is sometimes taken for to mock, to ridicule, to jeer; because it is wont to be the gesture of those mocking, to stretch out the tongue with the mouth open. Thus in Psalm 35:21; Isaiah 57:4. As if Hannah should say: I now how ample material for retaliation of tongue against my enemies, and for warding them off with sneers, etc. (Malvenda).


My mouth is enlarged, that is, opened wide, to pour forth abundant praises to God, and to give a full answer to all the reproaches of mine adversaries; whereas before it was shut through grief and confusion.


[Over my enemies] Namely, Peninnah, who insulted me with hostility, 1 Samuel 1:6. A Synecdoche of genus (Piscator). Note the modesty of Hannah; she says over, not against, mine enemies. And she designates no one in particular (Mendoza). Over, that is, contrary to, against (Drusius, Menochius, Malvenda); or over, that is, more than, etc., which is to say, with the birth of one, even Samuel, I am able to glory, more than Peninnah with her multiple offspring (Menochius). One son, given by God, and consecrated to God in the Temple, was to be of more value than many living in their paternal home (Sanchez). Over mine enemies, Peninnah and others (Drusius). Her sons, or kinsmen, etc. (Malvenda).


Over mine enemies, that is, more than theirs, or so as to get the victory over them, as she saith afterwards. Here she manifests her great prudence, and piety, and modesty, that she doth not name Peninnah, but only her enemiesin the general.


[I rejoice in thy salvation, בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ] Through thy salvation, that is, through thy blessing, whereby I was made fertile (Vatablus, similarly Lapide). In or concerning thy salvation (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius), that is, because of the salvation bestowed upon me by thee (Piscator). By giving to me a son (Drusius). In thy salvation, which with the birth of Samuel I have obtained (Menochius). Or, in thee, O Lord, who art true salvation (Menochius, Sanchez). God, because He bestows salvation upon men, is often called the salvation of men. Or thus, in thy salvation, namely, which thou art wont to bestow, and for which whosoever is able to hope according to thy mercy (Sanchez). God is called salvation from the effect, Deuteronomy 32:15; Psalm 24:5; Luke 1:47. Others refer it to Christ, who in Scripture is often called salvation, Genesis 49:18; Psalm 51:14; Isaiah 52:10; Habakkuk 3:18; Luke 2:26. Thus Augustine, Gregory, and Rupertus[4] (Mendoza). Moreover, in keeping with the manner of the Hebrews she here passes from the third to the second person; as it not infrequently happens in the case of deep emotion (Sanchez). This entire canticle is full of metaphors, asyndeta,[5] and apostrophe[6] (Junius).


Because I rejoice in thy salvation; because the matter of my joy is no trivial or worldly thing, but that strange and glorious salvation or deliverance which thou hast given me from my own oppressing care and grief, and from the insolencies and reproaches of mine enemies, in giving me a son, and such a son as this, who shall be serviceable to God, and to his people, in helping them against their enemies, which she presaged, as may be guessed from 1 Samuel 2:10.


[1]Hebrew: וַתִּתְפַּלֵּ֤ל חַנָּה֙ וַתֹּאמַ֔ר עָלַ֤ץ לִבִּי֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה רָ֥מָה קַרְנִ֖י בַּֽיהוָ֑ה רָ֤חַב פִּי֙ עַל־א֣וֹיְבַ֔י כִּ֥י שָׂמַ֖חְתִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶֽךָ׃ [2]1 Samuel 2:1a: “And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord (בַּיהוָה; in Deo meo, in the Vulgate)…” [3]Psalm 126:2: “Then was our mouth filled with laughter (שְׂחוֹק), and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.” [4]Rupertus (1091-1135) was a learned Benedictine, Abbot of Tuits on the Rhine. [5]That is, the rhetorical omissions of conjunctions. [6]That is, exclamations addressed to a person (usually absent) or a thing (usually personified.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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