1 Samuel

The Family of Elkanah

There was a certain man from Ramathaim Zophim, from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.[a] He had two wives; the name of the first was Hannah, and the name of the second was Peninnah. Now Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Now this man used to go up from his town year by year[b] to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh of hosts in Shiloh, where[c] the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to Yahweh. On[d] the day Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion,[e] because he loved Hannah, though Yahweh had closed her womb. (Now her rival wife would provoke her severely in order to upset her because Yahweh had closed her womb.) And so he used to do[f] year after year; whenever[g] she went up to the house of Yahweh, she[h] would provoke her so that she[i] would weep and would not eat. So Elkanah her husband would say to her: “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat? And why are you heartsick?[j] Am I not better to you than ten sons?” Then Hannah got up after eating and drinking at Shiloh. (Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the temple[k] of Yahweh.) 10 She was deeply troubled,[l] so she prayed to Yahweh and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow[m] and said: “O Yahweh of hosts, if you will look with compassion on the misery of your female servant, and will remember me, and not forget your female servant, and will give to your female servant a male child[n] then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and a razor will never pass over his head.”[o] 12 While[p] she continued to pray before Yahweh, Eli was observing her mouth. 13 Now Hannah had been speaking in her heart; her lips were moving, but her voice could not be heard, so Eli considered her to be drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, “How long will you behave like someone who is drunk? Put away your wine!” 15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord. I am a woman deeply distressed,[q] but I have not drunk wine or strong drink. Rather, I have poured out my soul before Yahweh. 16 Do not regard your female servant as worthless,[r] but because of the extent of my worries and my provocation I have spoken all of this.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of him.” 18 And she said, “May your female slave find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went on her way and ate something, and her face did not look sad any longer.[s]

The Birth of Samuel

19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before Yahweh and returned[t] to their house at Ramah. Then Elkanah had sexual relations with[u] Hannah his wife, and Yahweh remembered her. 20 In due time,[v] Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She called his name Samuel, for she said, “I requested him from Yahweh.”

21 So the man Elkanah went up with all his household to make the annual sacrifice[w] to Yahweh and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Once the boy is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear before Yahweh; and he will remain there forever.” 23 So her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems right to you;[x] stay until you wean him. Only may Yahweh fulfill his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Then she brought him up with her when she had weaned him, along with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin[y] of wine. She brought him to the house of Yahweh at Shiloh while the boy was still young. 25 They slaughtered the bull, and they brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “Excuse me, my lord. As you live,[z] my lord, I am the woman who stood with you in this place to pray to Yahweh. 27 I prayed for this boy, and Yahweh has given me my request that I asked from him. 28 I in turn have lent him to Yahweh. As long as he lives[aa] he is lent to Yahweh.” Then they worshiped Yahweh there.


  1. 1 Samuel 1:1 Or “Ephrathite”
  2. 1 Samuel 1:3 Literally “from days to days”
  3. 1 Samuel 1:3 Literally “and there”
  4. 1 Samuel 1:4 Literally “And it happened on”
  5. 1 Samuel 1:5 Literally “a portion of two faces”
  6. 1 Samuel 1:7 So Hebrew; because of the abrupt change of subject some revocalize the verb to read “it used to be”
  7. 1 Samuel 1:7 Or “as often as”; literally “from enough”
  8. 1 Samuel 1:7 That is, Penninah
  9. 1 Samuel 1:7 That is, Hannah
  10. 1 Samuel 1:8 Literally “why is your heart evil”
  11. 1 Samuel 1:9 This is not the temple of Solomon (ca. 966 bc), but rather the tabernacle that first resided at Shiloh after the conquest of Joshua.
  12. 1 Samuel 1:10 Literally “bitter of soul”
  13. 1 Samuel 1:11 Literally “vowed a vow”
  14. 1 Samuel 1:11 Literally “an offspring of men”
  15. 1 Samuel 1:11 “A razor will never pass over his head” indicates that Hannah promised to dedicate her son to Yahweh as a Nazirite, according to the terms of Num 6:1–21
  16. 1 Samuel 1:12 Literally “And it happened that when”
  17. 1 Samuel 1:15 Literally “difficult of spirit”
  18. 1 Samuel 1:16 Literally “as a daughter of Belial/daughter of worthlessness”
  19. 1 Samuel 1:18 Literally “her faces were not for her any longer”
  20. 1 Samuel 1:19 Literally “and they returned and went”
  21. 1 Samuel 1:19 Literally “knew”
  22. 1 Samuel 1:20 Literally “At the turning of the days”
  23. 1 Samuel 1:21 Literally “to sacrifice the sacrifice of days”
  24. 1 Samuel 1:23 Literally “do what is good in your eyes”
  25. 1 Samuel 1:24 Or “a clay jar”
  26. 1 Samuel 1:26 Literally “your soul lives”
  27. 1 Samuel 1:28 Literally “All the days that he lives”