The Message

1 Samuel 1

Hannah Pours Out Her Heart to God

11-2 There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.

3-7 Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.

Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”

9-11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

12-14 It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”

15-16 Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”

17 Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”

18 “Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.

19 Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.

Dedicating the Child to God

20 Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, “I asked God for him.”

21-22 When Elkanah next took his family on their annual trip to Shiloh to worship God, offering sacrifices and keeping his vow, Hannah didn’t go. She told her husband, “After the child is weaned, I’ll bring him myself and present him before God—and that’s where he’ll stay, for good.”

23-24 Elkanah said to his wife, “Do what you think is best. Stay home until you have weaned him. Yes! Let God complete what he has begun!”

So she did. She stayed home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. Then she took him up to Shiloh, bringing also the makings of a generous sacrificial meal—a prize bull, flour, and wine. The child was so young to be sent off!

25-26 They first butchered the bull, then brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, “Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”

Then and there, they worshiped God.

New International Reader's Version

1 Samuel 1

Samuel Is Born

1A certain man from Ramathaim in the hill country of Ephraim was named Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham. Jeroham was the son of Elihu. Elihu was the son of Tohu. Tohu was the son of Zuph. Elkanah belonged to the family line of Zuph. Elkanah lived in the territory of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives. One was named Hannah. The other was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah didn’t.

Year after year Elkanah went up from his town to Shiloh. He went there to worship and sacrifice to the Lord who rules over all. Hophni and Phinehas served as priests of the Lord at Shiloh. They were the two sons of Eli. Every year at Shiloh, the day would come for Elkanah to offer a sacrifice. On that day, he would give a share of the meat to his wife Peninnah. He would also give a share to each of her sons and daughters. But he would give two shares of meat to Hannah. That’s because he loved her. He also gave her two shares because the Lord had kept her from having children. Peninnah teased Hannah to make her angry. She did it because the Lord had kept Hannah from having children. Peninnah teased Hannah year after year. Every time Hannah would go up to the house of the Lord, Elkanah’s other wife would tease her. She would keep doing it until Hannah cried and wouldn’t eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why don’t you eat? Why are you so unhappy? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

One time when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 Hannah was very sad. She wept and wept. She prayed to the Lord. 11 She made a promise to him. She said, “Lord, you rule over all. Please see how I’m suffering! Show concern for me! Don’t forget about me! Please give me a son! If you do, I’ll give him back to the Lord. Then he will serve the Lord all the days of his life. He’ll never use a razor on his head. He’ll never cut his hair.”

12 As Hannah kept on praying to the Lord, Eli watched her lips. 13 She was praying in her heart. Her lips were moving. But she wasn’t making a sound. Eli thought Hannah was drunk. 14 He said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Stop drinking your wine.”

15 “That’s not true, sir,” Hannah replied. “I’m a woman who is deeply troubled. I haven’t been drinking wine or beer. I was telling the Lord all my troubles. 16 Don’t think of me as an evil woman. I’ve been praying here because I’m very sad. My pain is so great.”

17 Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the God of Israel give you what you have asked him for.”

18 She said, “May you be pleased with me.” Then she left and had something to eat. Her face wasn’t sad anymore.

19 Early the next morning Elkanah and his family got up. They worshiped the Lord. Then they went back to their home in Ramah. Elkanah slept with his wife Hannah. And the Lord blessed her. 20 So after some time, Hannah became pregnant. She had a baby boy. She said, “I asked the Lord for him.” So she named him Samuel.

Hannah Gives Samuel to the Lord

21 Elkanah went up to Shiloh to offer the yearly sacrifice to the Lord. He also went there to keep a promise he had made. His whole family went with him. 22 But Hannah didn’t go. She said to her husband, “When the boy doesn’t need me to breast-feed him anymore, I’ll take him to the Lord’s house. I’ll give him to the Lord there. He’ll stay there for the rest of his life.”

23 Her husband Elkanah told her, “Do what you think is best. Stay here at home until Samuel doesn’t need you to breast-feed him anymore. May the Lord make his promise to you come true.” So Hannah stayed home. She breast-fed her son until he didn’t need her milk anymore.

24 When the boy didn’t need her to breast-feed him anymore, she took him with her to Shiloh. She took him there even though he was still very young. She brought him to the Lord’s house. She brought along a bull that was three years old. She brought 36 pounds of flour. She also brought a bottle of wine. The bottle was made out of animal skin. 25 After the bull was sacrificed, Elkanah and Hannah brought the boy to Eli. 26 Hannah said to Eli, “Pardon me, sir. I’m the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. And that’s just as sure as you are alive. 27 I prayed for this child. The Lord has given me what I asked him for. 28 So now I’m giving him to the Lord. As long as he lives he’ll be given to the Lord.” And there Eli worshiped the Lord.