What are some similarities between the story of 1 Samuel 1-2 and the opening chapters of Luke and Acts?
Alastair J. Roberts: At the beginning of Luke, as at the beginning of 1 Samuel, we see a woman whose womb is opened by the Lord. As in the book of Exodus, the great stories of the establishment of the kingdom of Israel and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven begin with women at the foreground of the narrative frame. We see prayer at the temple (Luke 1:10; compare 1 Samuel 1:8-18) and a priest who lacks spiritual perception, associated with dulled physical faculties (Luke 1:20; compare 1 Samuel 1:12-14, 3:3). We see the gift of a Nazirite son (Luke 1:15; compare 1 Samuel 1:11). We see a powerful declaration of praise by the woman whose womb had been opened (Luke 1:46-55; compare 1 Samuel 2:1-10), followed by descriptions of their children’s growth (Luke 1:80; 2:40, 52; compare 1 Samuel 2:21; 3:19) and of portentous events in their early childhood (Luke 2:41-52; compare 1 Samuel 3:1-18). Early in Luke’s narrative, we also see a woman named Anna (Hannah), who is constantly in prayer in the temple (2:36-38). Acts also begins with prayer in the temple (1:14; compare Luke 24:53). The tongues-speaking of the Christians at Pentecost is mistaken for drunken speech (Acts 2:13), much as Hannah’s prayer is in 1 Samuel 1:12-14.
As God is establishing a new kingdom in the Gospels, it should not surprise us that it involves the appearance of themes that remind us of the establishment of the original kingdom of Israel.
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