1 Samuel
Samuel’s Birth
There was a man named Elkanah from Ramathaim Zophim in the mountains of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, grandson of Elihu, great-grandson of Tohu, whose father was Zuph from the tribe of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Every year this man would go from his own city to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Armies at Shiloh. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served there as priests of the Lord.
Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he would give portions of it to his wife Peninnah and all her sons and daughters. He would also give one portion to Hannah because he loved her, even though the Lord had kept her from having children. Because the Lord had made her unable to have children, her rival ⌞Peninnah⌟ tormented her endlessly in order to make her miserable. This happened year after year. Whenever Hannah went to the Lord’s house, Peninnah would make her miserable, and Hannah would cry and not eat. Her husband Elkanah would ask her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why haven’t you eaten? Why are you so downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
One day, after Hannah had something to eat and drink in Shiloh, she got up. (The priest Eli was sitting on a chair by the door of the Lord’s temple.) 10 Though she was resentful, she prayed to the Lord while she cried. 11 She made this vow, “Lord of Armies, if you will look at my misery, remember me, and give me a boy, then I will give him to you for as long as he lives. A razor will never be used on his head.” 12 While Hannah was praying a long time in front of the Lord, Eli was watching her mouth. 13 She was praying silently. Her voice couldn’t be heard; only her lips were moving. Eli thought she was drunk.
14 “How long are you going to stay drunk?” Eli asked her. “Get rid of your wine.”
15 Hannah responded, “No sir. I’m not drunk. I’m depressed. I’m pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t take me to be a good-for-nothing woman. I was praying like this because I’ve been troubled and tormented.”
17 Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your request.”
18 “May you continue to be kind to me,” she said. Then the woman went her way and ate. She was no longer sad.
19 Early in the morning Elkanah and his family got up and worshiped in front of the Lord. Then they returned home to Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel [God Hears], because she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”
Samuel’s Childhood
21 To keep his vow, Elkanah and his entire household again went to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord. 22 But Hannah didn’t go. She told her husband, “I’ll wait until the boy is weaned. Then I’ll bring him and present him to the Lord, and he’ll stay there permanently.”
23 “Do what you think is best,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Wait until you’ve weaned him. May the Lord keep his word.” The woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 As soon as she had weaned Samuel, she took him with her. She also brought a three-year-old bull,* half a bushel of flour, and a full wineskin. She brought him to the Lord’s house at Shiloh while the boy was ⌞still⌟ a child.
25 Then the parents butchered the bull and brought the child to Eli. 26 “Sir,” Hannah said, “as sure as you live, I’m the woman who stood here next to you and prayed to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. 28 In return, I am giving him to the Lord. He will be dedicated to the Lord for his whole life.”
And they worshiped the Lord there.
* 1:24 Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek, Latin, Syriac; Masoretic Text “three bulls.” (See verse 25.)