The birth and early childhood of Samuel
Hannah asks the Lord for a child
1Elkanah lived in Ramah,#1.1 Ramah: The Hebrew has “Ramathaim”, a longer form of “Ramah” (see verse 19). a town in the hill country of Ephraim. His great-great-grandfather was Zuph, so Elkanah was a member of the Zuph clan of the Ephraim tribe. Elkanah's father was Jeroham, his grandfather was Elihu, and his great-grandfather was Tohu.
2Elkanah had two wives,#1.2 two wives: Having more than one wife was allowed in those times. Hannah and Peninnah. Although Peninnah had children, Hannah did not have any.
3Once a year Elkanah travelled from his home town to Shiloh, where he worshipped the Lord All-Powerful and offered sacrifices. Eli was the Lord's priest there, and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas served with him as priests.#1.3 Eli … priests: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, served the Lord as priests.”
4Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he gave some of the meat#1.4 meat: For some sacrifices, like this one, only part of the meat was burnt. Some was given to the priest, and the rest was eaten by the family and guests of the worshipper (see Leviticus 3.1–17; 7.11–18). to Peninnah and some to each of her sons and daughters. 5But he gave Hannah even more, because he loved Hannah very much, even though the Lord had kept her from having children of her own.
6Peninnah liked to make Hannah feel miserable about not having any children, 7especially when the family went to the house of the Lord#1.7 house of the Lord: Another name for the place of worship at Shiloh, which may still have been the sacred tent at this time. each year.
One day, Elkanah was there offering a sacrifice, when Hannah began crying and refused to eat. 8So Elkanah asked, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won't you eat? Why do you feel so bad? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9When the sacrifice had been offered, and they had eaten the meal, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli was sitting in his chair near the door to the place of worship. 10Hannah was brokenhearted and was crying as she prayed, 11#Num 6.5“Lord All-Powerful, I am your servant, but I am so miserable! Please let me have a son. I will give him to you for as long as he lives, and his hair will never be cut.”#1.11 his hair … cut: Never cutting the child's hair would be a sign that he would belong to the Lord (see Numbers 6.1,21, especially verse 5).
12-13Hannah prayed silently to the Lord for a long time. But her lips were moving, and Eli thought she was drunk. 14“How long are you going to stay drunk?” he asked. “Sober up!”
15-16“Sir, please don't think I'm no good!” Hannah answered. “I'm not drunk, and I haven't been drinking. But I do feel miserable and terribly upset. I've been praying all this time, telling the Lord about my problems.”
17Eli replied, “You may go home now and stop worrying. I'm sure the God of Israel will answer your prayer.”
18“Sir, thank you for being so kind to me,” Hannah said. Then she left, and after eating something, she felt much better.
Samuel is born
19Elkanah and his family got up early the next morning and worshipped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Later the Lord blessed Elkanah and Hannah 20with a son. She named him Samuel because she had asked the Lord for him.#1.20 him: In Hebrew “Samuel” sounds something like “Someone from God” or “The name of God” or “His name is God”.
Hannah gives Samuel to the Lord
21The next time Elkanah and his family went to offer their yearly sacrifice, he took along a gift that he had promised to give to the Lord. 22But Hannah stayed at home, because she had told Elkanah, “Samuel and I won't go until he's old enough for me to stop nursing him. Then I'll give him to the Lord, and he can stay there at Shiloh for the rest of his life.”
23“You know what's best,” Elkanah said. “Stay here until it's time to stop nursing him. I'm sure the Lord will help you do what you have promised.”#1.23 the Lord … promised: The Dead Sea Scrolls and two ancient translations; the Standard Hebrew Text “the Lord will do what he said.” Hannah did not go to Shiloh until she stopped nursing Samuel.
24-25When it was the time of year to go to Shiloh again, Hannah and Elkanah#1.24,25 When it was the time of year to go to Shiloh again, Hannah and Elkanah: The Dead Sea Scrolls and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “she”. took Samuel to the Lord's house. They brought along a three-year-old bull,#1.24,25 a three-year-old bull: The Dead Sea Scrolls and two ancient translations; the Standard Hebrew Text “three bulls”. a sack containing about nine kilogrammes of flour, and a clay jar full of wine. Hannah and Elkanah offered the bull as a sacrifice, then brought the little boy to Eli.
26“Sir,” Hannah said, “a few years ago I stood here beside you and asked the Lord 27to give me a child. Here he is! The Lord gave me just what I asked for. 28Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will be the Lord's servant for as long as he lives.”
Elkanah#1.28 Elkanah: Or “They” or “Samuel”. worshipped the Lord there at Shiloh, and