Let's do a little survey of certain important women in the Old Testament. How many verses does the writer use to introduce them before discussing their dramatic dilemma?
These three women, in some sense, share the same story, which can be summarized as follows:
We may note, in passing, that the more beloved wife of Jacob, named Rachel, is initially barren [cf. Gen 29:31]. Rachel has two sons by Jacob: Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph leads his father and brothers into Egypt (where, based on a vision in a dream given to Pharaoh and Joseph's inspired interpretation of that vision, the Pharaoh commissions Joseph to manage the harvests form seven years of plenty in order to survive seven years of famine) to escape the famine that had spread throughout Egypt and Canaan.
The sons of these three women appear to have some special symbolic significance.
The son of Sarah, of course, is Isaac, who, as the only son of the father of many nations, is offered to God by Abraham in sacrifice on an altar. God stops the sacrifice from taking place, however, because it is his intent to provide the son of sacrifice. Abraham, it seems, is a mirror of God, the Father, while Isaac becomes a type of Christ.
The son of the wife of Manoah, Samson, is dedicated to God from birth and is given a charism of great strength, a charism which seems to attach to him via his long locks of hair. We may be able so see in this image a metaphor for the tassels on the cloak of Christ, by which (through touching) many people are healed. Thus, the physical strength of Samson seems to be a type of the spiritual strength of Christ.
The son of Hannah is Samuel who, as a child, hears God, and who anoints the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. It may also be noteworthy that the spirit of Samuel is seemingly is brought back from the grave through the machinations of the witch of Endor and under the instigation of the hapless Saul. Samuel is thus judge, prophet and even, to some extent, priest and, however briefly and illicitly, he returns from the grave (or so it seems).
Since these sons appear singularly to be a type of Christ, we sense that the mothers are a type of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
What can be learned from these types of Mary?
Thus, our only introduction to Mary before she is visited by the Angel Gabriel is found in Luke 3:26-27:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David;
and the virgin's name was Mary.
The contrast of brevity with the introductions to Sarah, the wife of Manoah and Hannah is noteworthy. in a deeper sense, however, the lives of Sarah, the wife of Manoah and Hannah are, themselves, introductions to Mary. Furthermore, we are introduced obliquely to Mary in Genesis 3:15, when God rebukes the serpent who, through sowing seeds of temptation, precipitates the fall of humanity.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.
In some sense, then, Mary is the woman who needs no introduction, precisely because the Old Testament is her introduction.