Elkanah and His Wives
1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the [a]hill country of Ephraim, named Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an [b]Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives, one named Hannah and the other named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 This man went up from his city [c]each year to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh. Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests to the Lord there. 4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions [of the sacrificial meat] to Peninnah his wife and all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had [d]given her no children. 6 Hannah’s rival provoked her bitterly, to irritate and embarrass her, because the Lord had [e]left her childless. 7 So it happened year after year, whenever she went up to the house of the Lord, Peninnah provoked her; so she wept and would not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you cry and why do you not eat? Why are you so sad and discontent? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
9 So Hannah got up after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat beside the doorpost of the temple (tabernacle) of the Lord. 10 Hannah was [f]greatly distressed, and she prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 She made a vow, saying, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction (suffering) of Your maidservant and remember, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life; a [g]razor shall never touch his head.”
12 Now it happened as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart (mind); only her lips were moving, and her voice was not heard, so Eli [h]thought she was drunk. 14 Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Get rid of your wine.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman with a despairing spirit. I have not been drinking wine or any intoxicating drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.(A) 16 Do not regard your maidservant as a wicked and worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and [bitter] provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18 Hannah said, “Let your maidservant find grace and favor in your sight.” So the woman went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Samuel Is Born to Hannah
19 The family got up early the next morning, worshiped before the Lord, and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her [prayer]. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; she named him [i]Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
21 Then the man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the [j]yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is [k]weaned; and then I will bring him, so that he may appear before the Lord and remain there as long as he lives.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him; only may the Lord establish and confirm His word.” So the woman remained [behind] and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a [l]leather bottle of wine [to pour over the burnt offering for a sweet fragrance], and she brought Samuel to the Lord’s house in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 Hannah said, “Oh, my lord! As [surely as] your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
- 1 Samuel 1:1 Lit mountains of.
- 1 Samuel 1:1 It is sometimes claimed that Samuel was from the tribe of Ephraim (rather than the tribe of Levi) and so was not eligible to serve as a priest. He was an Ephraimite only in the sense that his family lived in the tribal area of Ephraim. His genealogy is given in 1 Chr 6:22-28. At least two other men in the passage are named Elkanah. Samuel’s father, Elkanah, is the man mentioned in 1 Chr 6:27. The men mentioned in 1 Chr 6:23, 24, and 26 are several generations removed from Samuel.
- 1 Samuel 1:3 Lit from days to days.
- 1 Samuel 1:5 Lit closed her womb.
- 1 Samuel 1:6 Lit closed her womb.
- 1 Samuel 1:10 Lit bitter of soul.
- 1 Samuel 1:11 Lit shearing knife. This was a requirement of a Nazirite vow which would apply to Samuel all of his life (see Num 6:2 ff).
- 1 Samuel 1:13 This implies that the custom at that time was to pray aloud; the outcome (vv 19, 20) shows that God hears prayer, whether it is spoken or silent.
- 1 Samuel 1:20 The name possibly means “The Name [i.e. Yahweh, Lord] is God” or “His name is God,” but the etymology is uncertain.
- 1 Samuel 1:21 Lit sacrifice of days.
- 1 Samuel 1:22 At this time children were nursed until about age three. But it may be fair to say that Hannah also wanted to keep the boy as long as she reasonably could; giving up her only child—even for the best of purposes—must have been terribly difficult.
- 1 Samuel 1:24 These containers were made from almost the entire skin of an animal and were used for holding wine.