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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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ANNA (Ἅννα, Heb. חַנָּה).—When His parents brought the infant Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord, two aged representatives of the OT Church received Him with songs of praise, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25 ff.). Anna was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (v. 36), which, though one of the Ten Tribes of the Dispersion, was still represented in Palestine. From it some beautiful women are said to have been chosen as wives for the priests (Edersheim, and Times of Jesus the Messiah, i. p. 200). Anna was a widow 84 years of age (Authorized Version), or more probably ( Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885) about 105, as 7 years of married life followed by 84 years of widowhood would make her to be. She was a devout and saintly woman, worshipping constantly in the temple, with fastings and supplications, night and day; and, like Deborah Huldah of the OT, she had prophetic gifts. Her desire, like the Psalmist’s (Psalms 27:4), was to dwell always in the house of God, though it is hardly likely that a woman would be allowed literally to dwell within the sacred precincts. Having entered the temple at the same time as Jesus was brought in, she followed up the song of Simeon in similar strains, and spake of the Holy Child ‘to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem’ (Luke 2:38). Anna would seem to later times an ideal saint of the cloister, as such stress is laid on her virginity, her long life of widowhood, and her ceaseless devotions. Possibly her name may have had to do with the name Anna, given to the mother of the Virgin Mary, in the Protevangelium of James.

David M. W. Laird.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Anna'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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