Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.
Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.
She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
Anna or Hannah is the same name as Hannah, like the mother of Samuel, (1Sam 1:2) signifies "grace" or "gracious". As was her name was given to describe her character, so we can know she was a gracious woman. She embodied the grace of God and shared the good news of grace and redemption in Christ with others. She was stated to be a prophetess. This is further evidence that “the last times” in which God was to “pour out His Spirit upon all flesh” were at hand. She had lived seven years with her husband (Luke 2:36) and been a widow eighty-four years. So if she married at the earliest marriageable age (12 years) she would at this time not be less than a hundred three years old. At such an age, it might be supposed she was exempted from performing the severer duties of religion, but her spirit of piety continued still to burn undiminished.
The fact that she had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity is mentioned to observe her chastity, that she was in her virginity, or a chaste virgin, when she became a wife. Such as the high priest was obliged to have (Lev 21:13) The proof of her virginity were brought according to the Jewish law Deut 22:15. She lived honestly and honourably with her husband during the term of her marriage state,
This woman was the daughter of Phanuel which is the same name as Penuel. This man may have been a noteworthy person or he may be mentioned merely because of the meaning of his name which signifies "the face of God". That is the name Jacob gave to the place where he saw God face to face (Gen_32:30). And now Phanuel's daughter both saw and gave the light of the knowledge of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, and now beheld his face in the flesh.
She was a descendent of the tribe of Asher. This was one of the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel, several families of which had returned from their idolatry to God. Though this tribe was carried into captivity with the rest of the ten tribes there were some of the ten tribes that returned along with Judah and Benjamin, and were dispersed among them. This tribe was centred around Galilee. Even though the Jews denied that any prophet came from the Galilee area, it seems a prophetess did.
Though her family might have been a distinguished one in Jerusalem, yet we find that it was her very exemplary piety that entitled her to be thus honourably mentioned in the sacred history. It is an honorable thing indeed to have one’s name written in the sacred records; but to be written in the book of life is infinitely more important.
It is interesting that at the same time Simeon is sharing the Lord's word on the future of their son with Mary and Joseph, Anna comes along and adds to the comments made to them about their son. She didn’t give her input directly to them as such, but while Simeon was talking to them, she was adding her comments for the crowd to hear. It is clearly all of this input that Mary takes in and treasures in her heart. There is a lot of spiritual activity happening surrounding their son. It is hard to escape the fact that God's hand rested upon this child.
Don't only praise God for what He provides, but also for what He PREVENTS! Rick Godwin
No one succeeds without the help of other people. No one can say, "I don't need people." Jan Silvious
Surrounding yourself with the wrong people, blocks the right people from finding you! Rick Godwin