1There was a man named Elkanah son of Jeroham. He was from Ramathaim in the mountains of Ephraim. Elkanah was from the family of Zuph. (Jeroham was Elihu’s son. Elihu was Tohu’s son. And Tohu was the son of Zuph from the family group of Ephraim.) 2Elkanah had two wives. One was named Hannah, and the other was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3Every year Elkanah left his town Ramah and went up to Shiloh. There he worshiped the Lord of heaven’s armies and offered sacrifices to him. Shiloh was where Hophni and Phinehas served as priests of the Lord. They were the sons of Eli. 4When Elkanah offered sacrifices, he always gave a share of the meat to his wife Peninnah. He also gave shares of the meat to her sons and daughters. 5But Elkanah always gave a special share of the meat to Hannah. He did this because he loved Hannah and because the Lord had made Hannah unable to have children. 6Peninnah would upset Hannah and make her feel bad. She did this because the Lord had made Hannah unable to have children. 7This happened every year when they went up to the Tent of the Lord at Shiloh. Peninnah would upset Hannah until Hannah would cry and not eat anything. 8Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won’t you eat? Why are you sad? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9Once, after they had eaten their meal in Shiloh, Hannah got up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the entrance to the Lord’s Holy Tent. 10Hannah was very sad. She cried much and prayed to the Lord. 11She made a promise. She said, “Lord of heaven’s armies, see how bad I feel. Remember me! Don’t forget me. If you will give me a son, I will give him back to you all his life. And no one will ever use a razor to cut his hair.”# People who made special promises not to cut their hair or to drink wine or beer were called Nazirites. These people gave their lives to the Lord. See Numbers 6:1–5.
12While Hannah kept praying, Eli watched her mouth. 13She was praying in her heart. Her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14He said to her, “Stop getting drunk! Throw away your wine!”
15Hannah answered, “No, master, I have not drunk any wine or beer. I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I was telling the Lord about all my problems. 16Don’t think of me as an evil woman. I have been praying because of my many troubles and much sadness.”
17Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the God of Israel give you what you asked of him.”
18Hannah said, “I want to be pleasing to you always.” Then she left and ate something. She was not sad anymore.
19Early the next morning Elkanah’s family got up and worshiped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah had intimate relations with his wife Hannah. And the Lord remembered her. 20So Hannah became pregnant, and in time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “God heard.” She said, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.”
Hannah Gives Samuel to God
21Every year Elkanah went to Shiloh to offer sacrifices. He went to keep the promise he had made to God. He brought his whole family with him. So once again he went up to Shiloh. 22But Hannah did not go with him. She told him, “When the boy is old enough to eat solid food, I will take him to Shiloh. Then I will give him to the Lord. He will become a Nazirite. He will always live there at Shiloh.”
23Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, said to her, “Do what you think is best. You may stay home until the boy is old enough to eat. May the Lord do what you have said.” So Hannah stayed at home to nurse her son until he was old enough to eat.
24When Samuel was old enough to eat, Hannah took him to the Tent of the Lord at Shiloh. She also took a three-year-old bull, one-half bushel of flour and a leather bag filled with wine. 25They killed the bull for the sacrifice. Then Hannah brought Samuel to Eli. 26She said to Eli, “As surely as you live, my master, I am the same woman who stood near you praying to the Lord. 27I prayed for this child. The Lord answered my prayer and gave him to me. 28Now I give him back to the Lord. He will belong to the Lord all his life.” And he worshiped the Lord there.