(Anʹna) [from Heb., meaning “Favor; Grace”].
A prophetess, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. Her name is the Greek form of Hannah.
Anna had become a widow after just seven years of married life and, at the time of the child Jesus’ presentation at the temple, was 84 years of age. Nevertheless, she was constant in her attendance at the temple, evidently from the time of the morning service until the evening service and, as a result, was privileged to see the young child Jesus and bear witness about him. Her “fastings and supplications” indicate a mourning attitude and an earnest longing on her part. The centuries-long period of Jewish subjection, coupled with the deteriorating religious conditions that reached even to the temple and its priesthood, could well explain this. At any rate, though she might not have expected to be alive when the child became grown, she now joyfully witnessed to others of the liberation due to be effected through this coming Messiah.—Lu 2:36-38.