Whenever I hear that exuberant “song” now known as Mary’s Magnificat, I hear an echo from another time—many centuries before she lived. I hear another woman bursting forth with the same joyous intensity, blessing God in similar circumstance. And now, especially at Christmastime, I think of an odd and startling thing that other woman said—a special foretelling she was first to speak, at the end of all her other declarations…
Her name was Hannah. Hannah the barren. Yes, another wife yearning sick to be a mother. And at the answer to her wrenched out prayer for a child, after the birth of the little boy who would become Samuel the judge and prophet, she bursts out in singing.
Eons later, Mary bursts out in her echo. Hear them sing together:
Hannah: “My heart exults in the LORD (1Sa 2:1, NASB).
Mary: “My soul exalts the Lord (Luk 1:46, NASB).
Hannah: “I rejoice in Your salvation” (1Sa 2:1, NASB).
Mary: “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luk 1:47, NASB).
Hannah: “No one is holy like the LORD” (1 Sa 2:2, NASB).
Mary: “Holy is His name” (Luk 1:49, NASB).
Hannah: “Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger” (1Sa 2:5, NASB).
Mary: “He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed” (Luk 1:53, NASB).
Hannah: “The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To… inherit a seat of honor (1 Sa 2:4, NASB, 1 Sa 2:7-8, NASB).
Mary: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.” (Luk 1:52, NASB).
Hannah: “My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies” (1Sa 2:1, NASB).
Mary: “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luk 1:48-49, NASB).
And the parallels go on.
But what strikes me most is how Hannah ends her “song,” that and a little phrase in the middle of it.
Its grand finale declares, “Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed” (1Sa 2:10, NASB).
This speaks of a king, God’s anointed–and Israel had no king at that time. In fact, later, when Israel clamored for an earthly one, God was highly displeased!
Where did she get this idea of a king especially anointed of the LORD, involved in His judging of the ends of the earth? She who Mary echoes was prophesying the appearance of Mary’s Son: not only at His first advent, but also again, when He returns to judge us all!
And one more thing nearly hides amid Hannah’s song: the power of God for resurrection:
“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1Sa 2:6).
What enormous thoughts poured from the lips of these two women, prompted by the births of their special sons! What a lot they give us to think about, as we celebrate the birth of the greater Son, our Savior and King, born to save His people, someday to return, resurrect the dead, and judge the earth!
[Edited and reposted from The Archives]
Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament)
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I am searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book. I plan to post (nearly) every weekday (leaving myself some margin) a short peek at some hint or promise of the coming baby who would make all the difference. Like the wise men, I’ll be Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing what I find. I hope you’ll join me, because if it turns out as rewarding as the past spring’s pre-Easter explorations, this focus could make this one of the richest, most blessed Christmas seasons yet.
Previous posts in this series:
Linked to Brag On God Friday, letting Hannah and Mary do the bragging today, and