Hannah’s Magnificat

The word “magnificat” is often used by commentators to describes Mary’s song in Lk.1:46-55.  The word is from the Latin and means to magnify.  Hannah’s song of praise that magnifies the Lord is echoed one thousand years later in Mary’s song and it is suggested that Mary borrowed some of the thoughts from this psalm.

The interesting thing about the Psalm is that she expresses praise toward God in spite of the difficult circumstances into which she has placed her son.  We all want what is best for our children but would you want your son working for Eli?  Will he train your son spiritually even though he didn’t do such a great job with his own two sons?  Will he teach your son how to respect women, even though his sons were womanizers?  Will he teach your son how to be a man of God even though he never disciplined his own sons?  So how did Elkanah and Hannah do this?  They vowed to the Lord to entrust their son into His care, not Eli’s!  In the psalm, she says that God’s faithfulness in the past is her assurance of His faithfulness in the future & thus, she can give this child to God. (From a variety of resources)

Hannah As A Type Of Mary

In both events, it is the sons who are central to the respective Biblical books (Samuel and Luke), while the mother’s role in bringing to the world is critical (Hannah’s cry for help and Mary’s prayers and her ‘yes’ to the incarnation in her womb).

Both glorify God with hymns of praise.  In fact, there is such great similarity between the two that it appears likely that Mary knew this hymn when she spontaneously praised God in the Magnificat.

Hymn in I Sam.2:1-10

Magnificat in Luke

“My heart exults in the Lord, my strength is exalted in Lord, my mouth derides my enemies because I rejoice in Thy salvation” (2:1a)

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (1:46-48)

“There is no one holy like the Lord” (2:2a)

“Holy is His name” (1:49b)

“Talk no more so very proudly…for the Lord is a God of knowledge and by Him actions are weighed” (2:3)

“He had showed strength in His arm.  He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts” (1:52)

“The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength” (2:4)

“He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree” (1:52)

“Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger” (2:5a)

“He has filled the hungry with good things” (1:53)

“He will guard the feet of His faithful ones…” (2:9)

“”And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (1:50


The similar endings of the respective sections are noteworthy:

I Samuel 2:21b, 26

Luke 1:80

Luke 2:52

“And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord”

“And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men”

“And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and He was in the wilderness till the day of His manifestation to Israel.”

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”