Bookends of 1-2 Samuel
Writers often use bookends to let us know what is most important to them. Bookends are very similar concepts or words at the beginning and end of a book. They remind us what we need to remember.
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book.
The writer put two songs, one at the beginning and one at the end, to show us what we must remember when we read this book. Hannah and David each praised God for how he treated them.
I have written posts on the bookends of the Bible in general, Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the Gospel of Matthew.
Hannah was a married woman who wanted to be a mother. Her husband had taken a second wife which probably meant that they have been childless for a long time. The second wife had children and Hannah was deeply discouraged.
When they went to the Tabernacle she was so deep in prayer that the High Priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. She told him that she was not drunk but praying. Eli told her that God would grant her request.
She conceived and bore a son. She called him Samuel and gave him back to God as a servant to Eli at the Tabernacle. She visited him each year and she and her husband had other children.
She composed psalm of praise to God because he answered her prayer even though she was a poor and humble woman. (! Samuel 1-2)
Near the end of his life King David reflected on where he came from and how God has worked in his life. He was the youngest son and was sent to watch his father’s sheep. He was destined for a humble life as a minor member of his family in a small village. God reached out to him and made him king. As he thought about these things he wrote a psalm praising God. (2 Samuel 21)
These two songs are the bookends of Samuel. The theme of this book is that God reaches out to the humble and needy. He reaches out to those who need him and trust him.
The Virgin Mary’s praise to God
The Virgin Mary composed a song of praise when she learned that she would be the mother of the Messiah. One of the curious facts of her song was that she reflected on and alluded to Hannah’s song.
Hannah was a married woman who desired a child she did not have. Mary was an unwed teenager who faced a doubting world with her pregnancy.
Upon reflection Mary realized that a common characteristic of their pregnancies was that God was using humble people to do great things. Her response was to praise God for how he was using her. (Luke 1:46-56)
Jesus taught a parable about how God raised humble people.
Jesus was invited to dine with one of the religious leaders. There was a sick man there and Jesus healed him. As everyone’s attention was focused on him, Jesus talk to them about the best way to view yourself. He told them that when they were invited to a feast that that should take a humble seat and let the host elevate them.
He was reminding them of the principle that Hannah, David, and Mary all saw in their lives. People who are humble and trust God are the people God elevates and uses. (Luke 14:1-11)
Questions for consideration:
Have we ever had to wait a long time for the solution to a difficult problem?
Is patience hard for you?
What have you learned waiting patiently?
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