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Hannah Exalts the Lord in Prayer

Hannah prayed,[a]

“My heart has rejoiced[b] in the Lord;
my horn[c] has been raised high because of the Lord.
I have loudly denounced[d] my enemies.
Indeed I rejoice in your deliverance.
No one is holy[e] like the Lord!
There is no one other than you!
There is no rock[f] like our God!
Don’t keep speaking[g] so arrogantly.[h]
Proud talk should not[i] come out of your mouth,
for the Lord is a God who knows;
he[j] evaluates what people do.
The bows of warriors are shattered,
but those who stumbled have taken on strength.[k]
The well fed hire themselves out to earn food,
but the hungry no longer lack.[l]
Even[m] the barren woman has given birth to seven,[n]
but the one with many children has declined.[o]
The Lord both kills and gives life;
he brings down to the grave[p] and raises up.[q]
The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;
he humbles and he exalts.
He lifts the weak[r] from the dust;
he raises[s] the poor from the ash heap
to seat them with princes—
he bestows on them an honored position.[t]
The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord
he placed the world on them.
He watches over[u] his holy ones,[v]
but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness,[w]
for it is not by one’s own[x] strength that one prevails.
10 The Lord shatters[y] his adversaries;[z]
he thunders against them from[aa] the heavens.
The Lord executes judgment to the ends of the earth.
He will strengthen[ab] his king
and exalt the power[ac] of his anointed one.”[ad]

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  1. 1 Samuel 2:1 tn Heb “prayed and said.” This is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.
  2. 1 Samuel 2:1 tn The verb עָלַץ (ʿalats) is a fientive verb. (Some emotion verbs in Hebrew are stative and some are fientive.) The Qal perfect form of a fientive verb is past or perfective (past action with a result that continues into the present). The LXX renders “my heart was strengthened.”
  3. 1 Samuel 2:1 sn Horns of animals have always functioned as both offensive and defensive weapons for them. As a figure of speech the horn is therefore often used in the Bible as a symbol of human strength (see also in v. 10). The allusion in v. 1 to the horn being lifted high suggests a picture of an animal elevating its head in a display of strength or virility.
  4. 1 Samuel 2:1 tn Heb “my mouth has opened wide against.”
  5. 1 Samuel 2:2 sn In this context God’s holiness refers primarily to his sovereignty and incomparability. He is unique and distinct from all other so-called gods.
  6. 1 Samuel 2:2 tn The LXX has “and there is none righteous like our God.” The Hebrew term translated “rock” refers to a rocky cliff where one can seek refuge from enemies. Here the metaphor depicts God as a protector of his people. Cf. TEV “no protector like our God”; CEV “We’re safer with you than on a high mountain.”
  7. 1 Samuel 2:3 tn Heb “Do not do a lot; do [not] speak.” The two verbs are understood together to refer to abundant speaking.
  8. 1 Samuel 2:3 tn Heb “proudly, proudly.” If MT is original, the repetition of the word is for emphasis, stressing the arrogance of those addressed. However, a few medieval Hebrew manuscripts and some other textual witnesses do not reflect the repetition, suggesting that the Hebrew text may be dittographic.
  9. 1 Samuel 2:3 tn The negative element, “not,” is understood to reapply from the first sentence through the poetic technique of ellipsis and double duty.
  10. 1 Samuel 2:3 tc The translation assumes the reading of the Qere וְלוֹ (velo, “and by him”), which is supported by many medieval Hebrew mss, is correct, rather than the reading of the Kethib וְלוֹא (veloʾ, “and not”).tn HALOT cites three possibilities for the phrase. Reading the Niphal verb as passive to the Qal meaning (“to examine, check”) and reading the Qere וְלוֹ (velo, “and by him”): “actions [are] tested by him.” Taking the Niphal verb to mean “to measure up, be in order, be correct” (cf. Ezek 18:25, 29; 33:17, 20) and reading the Qere וְלוֹ (velo): “his [God’s] actions are in order.” Taking the verb as in the previous case but reading the Kethiv וְלֹא (veloʾ) and taking the noun עֲלִלוֹת (ʿalilot) as a pejorative: “[disgraceful] actions have no place.” (HALOT s.v. תכן). The translation agrees with the first option and translates the verb with active instead of passive voice.
  11. 1 Samuel 2:4 tn Heb “stumblers have put on strength.” Because of the contrast between the prior and current condition, the participle has been translated with past tense. The Hebrew metaphor is a picture of getting dressed with (“putting on”) strength like clothing.
  12. 1 Samuel 2:5 tn By implication these lines refer to those formerly well-fed and those formerly hungry.
  13. 1 Samuel 2:5 tc Against BHS but with the MT, the preposition (עַד, ʿad) should be taken with what follows rather than with what precedes. For this sense of the preposition see Job 25:5.
  14. 1 Samuel 2:5 sn The number seven is used here in an ideal sense. Elsewhere in the OT having seven children is evidence of fertility as a result of God’s blessing on the family. See, for example, Jer 15:9, Ruth 4:15.
  15. 1 Samuel 2:5 tn Or “languished.”
  16. 1 Samuel 2:6 tn Heb “Sheol”; NAB “the nether world”; CEV “the world of the dead.”
  17. 1 Samuel 2:6 tn The first three verbs are participles; the last is a preterite which is normally past consecutive. It is rare, even in poetry, for a preterite verb to follow a participle. The English translations all render the last verb as a participle. They either reason that the preterite continues the force of the participle or assume that it should be repointed as a simple vav plus imperfect (which can be habitual present). If the participles are understood as substantival, then the latter half might mean “the Lord…is one who brings down to [the point of] the grave and then raised up.”
  18. 1 Samuel 2:8 tn Or “lowly”; Heb “insignificant.”
  19. 1 Samuel 2:8 tn The imperfect verbal form, which is parallel to the participle in the preceding line, is best understood here as indicating what typically happens.
  20. 1 Samuel 2:8 tn Heb “he makes them inherit a seat of honor.”
  21. 1 Samuel 2:9 tn Heb “guards the feet of.” The expression means that God watches over and protects the godly in all of their activities and movements. The imperfect verbal forms in v. 9 are understood as indicating what is typically true. Another option is to translate them with the future tense. See v. 10b.
  22. 1 Samuel 2:9 tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss in reading the plural (“his holy ones”) rather than the singular (“his holy one”) of the Kethib.
  23. 1 Samuel 2:9 tc The LXX begins the verse differently, “granting the prayer to the one who prays; he blessed the years of the righteous.”
  24. 1 Samuel 2:9 tn Heb “For not by strength a person prevails.” Since the Lord’s strength is apparent in the context, the translation adds “one’s own” for clarity.
  25. 1 Samuel 2:10 tn The imperfect verbal forms in this line and in the next two lines are understood as indicating what is typically true. Another option is to translate them with the future tense. See v. 10b.
  26. 1 Samuel 2:10 tc The present translation follows the Qere, many medieval Hebrew manuscripts, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Vulgate in reading the plural (“his adversaries,” similarly many other English versions) rather than the singular (“his adversary”) of the Kethib. The LXX adds material very similar to Jer 9:23-24. “the Lord is holy. Let not the wise boast in his wisdom, and let not let the strong boast in his strength, and let not let the rich boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this: to understand and know the Lord, and to practice justice and righteousness in the midst of the land.” The Greek text of Jeremiah uses different words for “wise” and “strong” and closes by referring to the Lord as one who performs justice, etc. and whose will is in these things.
  27. 1 Samuel 2:10 tn The Hebrew preposition here has the sense of “from within.”
  28. 1 Samuel 2:10 tn The imperfect verbal forms in this and the next line are understood as indicating what is anticipated and translated with the future tense, because at the time of Hannah’s prayer Israel did not yet have a king.
  29. 1 Samuel 2:10 tn Heb “the horn,” here a metaphor for power or strength. Cf. NCV “make his appointed king strong”; NLT “increases the might of his anointed one.”
  30. 1 Samuel 2:10 tc The LXX greatly expands v. 10 with an addition that seems to be taken from Jer The anointed one is the anticipated king of Israel, as the preceding line makes clear.