The exegesis of scene four enables us to make this Summary Statement: God answers Hannah’s prayer. The Summary Statement which is the meaning for the original audience will be converted into a Timeless Principle or meaning for our modern audience: God answers our prayers.
The middle of the plot comes to an end in scene five with the answer to Hannah’s prayer in v.19 and Hannah’s response to the answered prayer in v.20. There is a time change to indicate a scene change in 19a. Hannah’s initiative, demonstrated in v.9 when she “rose up,” has rubbed off on Elkanah; for now it is “they” who “rose up” to worship. After they worship and return home to Ramah, Elkanah “knew” his wife Hannah. This statement is Scripture’s euphemistic way of referring to the one-flesh relationship. The verse ends with the comment that “the LORD remembered her.” This is the same word Hannah uses in her vow in v.11 when she requests, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me.” God answers Hannah’s prayer not miraculously as he did with Abraham and Sara who were past child bearing age, nor naturally as he did with the majority of couples in Scripture about whom it is said, “and so-and-so begat so-and-so,” but God answers Hannah’s prayer providentially by opening the womb he had closed previously. A similar statement is made about Rachel who was barren for a long time and desperately requested of her husband “Give me children, or else I die” (Gen.30:1). “And God remembered Rachel and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb and she conceived, and bare a son” (Gen. 30:22, 23). The narrator is emphasizing that Hannah’s great prayer-answering God has providentially responded so all Israel will know that God is sovereignly raising up the monarchy by first of all raising up the king maker, Samuel.
In v. 20, Hannah appropriately responds to her answered prayer by acknowledging her great prayer-answering God. The narrator skips the nine month pregnancy and states that Hannah conceived and “bore a son, and called his name saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.” Joyce G. Baldwin accurately interprets the significance of the name, “Samuel” with this statement: “Hannah gave birth to Samuel, [meaning ‘the name is El’] a reference to the power of God to whom she had prayed . . . . Hannah was testifying to her prayer-answering God rather than giving the strict etymology of the name.” God remembers Hannah and answers her prayer, and Hannah remembers God in giving him the appropriate praise for answering her prayer. Summary statement for scene five: God answers Hannah’s prayer, and Hannah gives the LORD His proper recognition.
D. J.Wiseman, ed., The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, vol. 7, 1 and 2 Samuel, by Joyce G. Baldwin (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1988), 53.