If there is one description that makes these two hymns identical is that these are both songs of praise and thanksgiving.
Both come from the spirit that acknowledges God to be the Sovereign One who seems to always overrule everything for the cause of the poor; people who are not just materially and physically destitute, but their life situations have rendered them totally dependent on God who alone can reverse their plight. The background for Hannah’s song of praise in 1 Samuel 2 is her deliverance from her disadvantaged state when she was yet barren and was ridiculed and looked at with scorn by Peninnah. Because it was specifically promised God to the Israelites in the ancient times the multiplication of their numbers, it had become to them an unmistakable sign of God’s favor when their women were given the ability to bear children.Bearing children was one of the few things that they valued greatly in Old Testament times (Constable, 2000). Hannah experienced God’s deliverance when God in answer to her prayer had given her Samuel – her firstborn. No one could have understood nor ever have a glimpse of insight into what Hannah has gone through in her barren years if not for the inspired record of her song.
The song is actually a disclosure of Hannah’s heart. What she realized through her ordeal was the fact that God is on the side of the disadvantaged who actively trust in Him. It has become the common sentiment among God’s people that God helps the helpless. Psalm 113 is the same in its tone as Hannah’s hymn.
It is a song of praise to God for His ability to save. Verses 7-9 are particularly similar to Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Perowne, 1976). It expresses the same thoughts.Another aspect of Psalm 113 which is very similar to Hannah’s song is the humble acknowledgement of God’s condescension to humanity in general. In spite of the fact that God is the One who governs and provides for all of His creatures, and besides the fact that He is infinitely “above” and “dwells on high,” He humbles Himself in that He bothers to visit or meddle with the lowly affairs of humans.
In His condescension in dealing with mankind, He would even stoop so low as to lift up “the poor out of the dust.” He rewards the humble with promotion among the nobles of the earth. Indeed, it is a standard working of God to exalt those who are lowly and it has become a common thing among those who are familiar with the ways of God to see God’s working on the behalf of people who rest their cause in the hands of the mighty God knowing that from Him will come their reward in following His will and trusting only in Him while the pressure around tells them to adopt other ways (A. Clarke Commentary). Psalm 113 is one among other psalms that constitute hallel (a command to praise).According to bible scholars, Hallel is a collection of psalms that male Jews would use as they are required to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the three feasts – Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. God is the great deliverer of His people. This theme of God being the deliverer resonates throughout the Scripture – from Sarah, Rachel, Job, and Mary in the New Testament.
Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55 is also similar to the Song of Hannah. The culmination of God’s deliverance or rather the ultimate expression of it is found in the Incarnation. In Christ Jesus, God who was the highest had made Himself so low that He became a man. Just by becoming a human being, the holy and transcendent God had stripped Himself of any “reputation.” But yet, in Incarnation, He went as far as “taking the form of a bondservant.” This is what the psalmist has tried to make clear in contemplating on God’s deliverance.
Every time that God executes justice for the poor, it means also the humiliation of God who bothers to save in the first place.It is an always an inspiring moment when a person only understand the essence of the hymn or song that Psalm 113 and as compared and contrasted with Hannah’s song. There are times in a person’s life that no words are more apt to describe the anguish, joy and any of the different ranges of meanings that many of our experiences are bringing us. The scriptures such as that of Hannah’s account and the passage in Psalm 113 for instance make many of these unexplainable feelings and experiences easier to express.