(Hanʹnah) [favor, graciousness].
Mother of the prophet Samuel. Hannah lived with her Levite husband Elkanah and his other wife Peninnah in Ramathaim-zophim in the mountainous region of Ephraim. In spite of Hannah’s long barrenness, contrasted with Peninnah’s bearing several children, Hannah was still Elkanah’s more beloved wife. Peninnah taunted Hannah because of her barrenness, notably when Elkanah took his family for their yearly appearance at the tabernacle in Shiloh.—1 Sam. 1:1-8.
On one visit to Shiloh, Hannah vowed to Jehovah that, if she could bear a son, she would give him to Jehovah, for His service. Seeing her lips move as she prayed inaudibly, High Priest Eli at first suspected that she had overindulged in wine and was drunk. But on learning of her sober fervor and sincerity, he expressed the wish that Jehovah God would grant her petition. Indeed, she soon became pregnant. After giving birth to Samuel, she did not go to Shiloh again until Samuel was weaned. Then she presented him to Jehovah as she had promised, bringing an offering consisting of a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a large jar of wine. (1 Sam. 1:9-28) Each year thereafter, when she came to Shiloh, Hannah brought along a new sleeveless coat for her son. Eli again blessed her, and Jehovah again opened her womb so that in time she gave birth to three sons and two daughters.—1 Sam. 2:18-21.
Several desirable qualities are observed in Hannah. She was prayerful and humble, and had a desire to please her husband. Each year she accompanied him to sacrifice at the tabernacle. She made a great sacrifice of her own, giving up the companionship of her son, to keep her word and show appreciation for Jehovah’s kindness. She retained her motherly affection, as shown by her making a new coat for Samuel each year. The thoughts expressed in her song of thankfulness, when she and Elkanah presented Samuel for temple service, are quite similar to the sentiments voiced by Mary shortly after learning she was to mother the Messiah.—Luke 1:46-55.