Elkanah and His Family
1There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph#1:1 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads in Ramathaim-zophim; compare 1:19. in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. 2Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.
3Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. 4On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children. 5And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion#1:5 Or And because he loved Hannah, he would give her a choice portion. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. because the Lord had given her no children. 6So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. 7Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.#1:7 Hebrew the house of the Lord; also in 1:24. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
8“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”
Hannah’s Prayer for a Son
9Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle.#1:9 Hebrew the Temple of the Lord. 10Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.#1:11 Some manuscripts add He will drink neither wine nor intoxicants.”
12As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14“Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”
15“Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
17“In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”
18“Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
Samuel’s Birth and Dedication
19The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, 20and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,#1:20 Samuel sounds like the Hebrew term for “asked of God” or “heard by God.” for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”
21The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. 22But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.#1:22 Some manuscripts add I will offer him as a Nazirite for all time.”
23“Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.#1:23 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek version; Masoretic Text reads may the Lord keep his promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned.
24When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull#1:24a As in Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads three bulls. for the sacrifice and a basket#1:24b Hebrew and an ephah [20 quarts or 22 liters]. of flour and some wine. 25After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. 26“Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. 27I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they#1:28 Hebrew he. worshiped the Lord there.