I love Hannah’s prayer in chapter two of 1 Samuel. The LORD has heard her cry and granted her the petition she made to him. She conceives and Samuel is born.
Look, see and hear what she prays and how she worships the LORD God.
2:1 And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the Lord;
there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
Her prayer reflects an understanding summary of what is going on around her and in her circumstances AND her response is to rejoice in acknowledging the LORD and his holiness, singularity and sovereignty evident to her in the midst of circumstances.
“There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.”
When I read verse 6, it stood out as a very clear and strong declaration of God’s sovereignty. I say it stood out because though many will acknowledge that God is sovereign they do not seem to believe He really is free and glorified in a declaration like verse 6…
“The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.” (ESV)
In part, I think that we all struggle or have struggled to understand how above us our God is. God is free. He is free to do anything He desires. What seems to challenge our finite thinking is that He would ‘kill’ or ‘bring down to Sheol’ and be glorified and pleased in doing so. We embrace that He ‘brings to life’ and the He ‘raises up’, but somehow we will not rejoice in a Sovereign God who kills, executes judgement and sends people to Hell.
I was curious to see how other popular translations worded this verse.
KJV – 6The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
NASB – 6“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
NIV – 6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
NLT – 6 The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
(paraphrase)The Message – God brings death and God brings life,
brings down to the grave and raises up.
I’m not a student of Hebrew, but as each of these translations hit my ears I hear in some a strong intentional action and others that are more passive or soft. But either way, you can’t avoid (though the NLT seems to want to) the reality that God is in control!
As Hannah finishes her prayer, she also rejoices in the goodness and faithfulness of God toward his faithful and anointed ones.
How good it is to know that “the LORD will judge the ends of the earth”… not me… not you, but God.
Praising God for his sweet amazing sovereign grace!