Jim Humphrey Consulting

Vol 2, No 34 Vol 2, No 36

Samuel & Four Others Born to Barren Women

Volume 2, Number 35
Created Date: May 13, 2007
Posted Date: May 13, 2007

Vol 2 - No 35, May 13, 2007

Samuel, Part 1 - the Roots & Purpose of the Hebrew Nation:

David and Samuel are the last of 16 people named in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews borne witness to by their faith - Hebrews 11:3232 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

. In this study we will examine another aspect of God's provision for the Hebrew Nation in the similarity of Samuel's conception with that of four (4) previous Hebrews mentioned in that chapter.

Samuel's mother was Hannah, one of two (2) wives of Elkanah who lived in Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim. Elkanah loved Hannah but his other wife Peninnah bore him children and because of this Peninnah ridiculed or provoked Hannah who was childless. Each year when the family traveled to the temple to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Elkanah gave portions of the feast to Peninnah and each of her children. Hannah also received a good portion for herself but of course she felt left out because she had no children with whom to share in the celebration. While at the temple one year Hannah prayed for a son and promised to dedicate him to lifelong service to the Lord if her prayer was answered. She prayed silently and when the Priest Eli saw her lips moving but not uttering a sound he thought she was drunk because she had just partaken of the feast, which included wine. He challenged her and she explained she was not drunk but was very sorrowful and praying to the Lord for a son of her own. Eli told her to go in peace because her wish would be granted. She left content and when she and her husband got home their relations were blessed by the Lord and she became pregnant with a son. - I Samuel 1:1 - 19.

And so we find Hannah is the fifth (5th) woman named in Hebrews 11 who had been unable to bear children until God intervened. This is significant and instructive because it is another lesson that God's chosen people, those He called His son, did not come about by the singular work of man but by God's grace and volition. The number five (5) in God's Word signifies grace and thus in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews grace is stamped on the 12 Hebrews named therein as having been witnessed to by their faith. Yes, 12 of the 16 people named in Hebrews 11 were Hebrews and the number 12 in the Bible is significant to Israel, for example: Jacob who was renamed Israel had 12 sons who produced the 12 tribes of that nation; Jesus chose 12 apostles, etc. The five (5) Hebrews named in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews who would not have been born without God's intervention were Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson and Samuel:

1 - Isaac - Abraham's wife Sarah had been barren all her life and was far too old to have a child when God made it happen, Genesis 17:16 - 1916 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

; Genesis 21:1 - 31 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

; Hebrews 11:8 - 128 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

. Abraham had other children from other women, all conceived by the will of the flesh. His first was Ishmael, born to Hagar, who turned out to be jealous of Isaac and whose progeny has persecuted Isaac's to this day.

2 - Jacob - Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca and she was barren until Isaac prayed she would have a child, Genesis 25:20 & 2120 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

, after which she bore the twins Esau and Jacob. Jacob was God's chosen and Esau hated him, Genesis 27:4141 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

. God later changed Jacob's name to Israel, that of the nation that came out of him - Genesis 32:2828 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.


3 - Joseph - Jacob loved Rachel but he was tricked by her father into working first to marry Rachel's sister Leah. He then had to work more for the right to marry Rachel. He fathered children from Leah after God "opened her womb," Genesis 29:3131 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

- 3531 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.

35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

, and more children with the handmaids of both Rachel and Leah, Genesis 30:4 - 124 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.

6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

7 And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.

8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.

11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.

, but his beloved Rachel remained childless, Genesis 29:31. Rachel envied Leah and asked Jacob to give her a son or else she would die - Genesis 30:11 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

. Jacob's response is telling: "And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?" Genesis 30:22 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

for by this we see Jacob recognized it is God who actually creates life in the womb. God finally answered Rachel's prayer, opened her womb, Genesis 30:22 - 2422 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:

24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.

, and she bore Joseph. She then testified by faith that she would have another son and bore Benjamin, but died giving birth to him, Genesis 35:16 - 1916 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.

17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.

18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

. When they were grown the children conceived by women other than Rachel, those born by the will of the flesh, sold Joseph, who was conceived by the promise of God, into slavery. Joseph's brothers then told Jacob he was dead.

4 - Samson - his father was Manoah, his mother's name is not mentioned. She had been unable to have children, Judges 13:22 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.

, when a messenger from the Lord appeared and told her she would conceive and bare a son, Judges 13:33 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

. She was instructed not to drink any strong drink or eat any unclean thing while pregnant in order to maintain the holiness (separation from the world) of her yet to be conceived son who was ordained to be a Nazarite, which is a man dedicated to God from the time he was born, Judges 13:3 - 53 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

. She was also was told Samson's life mission would be to "begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines," Judges 13:55 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

. As noted in the just completed studies Samson at one time was bound and delivered by his own people to the enemy.

(It is also noted that although no mention is made that Moses' conception was miraculous he was saved from death by the providence of God, first by the faith of the Egyptian midwives who delivered him and then by that of his parents who hid him as an infant in a basket in the river to be found by Pharaoh's daughter, Exodus 2:1 - 101 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.

7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.

9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it.

10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.


5 - Samuel - Samuel's conception by Hannah to her husband Elkanah is described above and he became the first of the great prophets of Israel who foretold the coming of Jesus Christ and the blessings Christ would bring as Israel's Savior and King - Acts 3:2424 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.


The Hebrew Nation - All mankind was lost and helpless in a morass of sin when God called Abraham out so He could bless them through Abraham's progeny, the Nation of Israel, the roots of which were the above described five (5) men. These five were borne witness to by faith in conception, mission in life and persecution suffered at the hands of their own people. God recognized the Nation of Israel as His own son, Exodus 4:22 & 2322 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

, but as history unfolded that son failed in faith. So where man failed God provided. At His appointed time He fulfilled His promise of blessing through Abraham's seed, by miraculously conceiving in a virgin His own son Jesus, who being sinless in nature could do what man could not do. Man could not please God because of sin but God was well pleased with His son Jesus and this is repeated five (5) times (the number of grace) in the New Testament: Matthew 3:1717 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

; 12:18; 17:5; Peter 1:17. Without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:66 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

, and the faith witnessed to by the five (5) men described above point to and present types of the faith of Jesus, who was/is the author and finisher of faith - Hebrews 12:22 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


The book of Hebrews is addressed to the Nation of Israel and applies primarily to them for Jesus Christ was/is the promised seed of Abraham, their Messiah and Savior. However, it also has application to those of us saved by the grace of God during this age of grace wherein, as revealed to and through the Apostle Paul, both Jew and Gentile are called to be members of the Body of Christ, Romans 11:1313 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

; Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10 & 1110 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

; Ephesians 2:10 - 1910 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

, and more will be written about this in future studies.

Jim Humphrey
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