1 Samuel 1

Elkanah and his family go to Shiloh

1 There was a man whose name was Elkanah. He lived in a town called Ramah. This town was in the hill country where Ephraim's tribe lived. Elkanah was the son of Jeroham. Jeroham was the son of Elihu. Elihu was the son of Tohu. Tohu was the son of Zuph. Zuph belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. 2 Elkanah had two wives. One wife was called Hannah and the other wife was called Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah did not have any children.

1:1Ramah was also called Ramathaim.

3 Every year, Elkanah left his home in Ramah to go to the town of Shiloh. He went there to worship the Lord Almighty and to offer sacrifices to him. Hophni and Phinehas served the Lord at Shiloh as his priests. Eli was their father.

1:3Israelite men had to go to a special place to offer sacrifices to God three times every year. See Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 12:5-7. This place was in Shiloh at this time. Shiloh was about 24 kilometres (15 miles) east of Ramah.
1:3When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.

4 Every year, when Elkanah offered his sacrifices to God, he gave some of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to her sons and daughters. 5 Because Elkanah loved Hannah very much, he always gave twice as much meat to her. But the Lord had not let Hannah give birth to any children.

6 Peninnah was not kind to Hannah and she made Hannah very upset. She did this because the Lord had not let Hannah give birth to any children. 7 This happened every year when they went to the Lord's house in Shiloh. Peninnah would cause Hannah to be upset. Then Hannah would weep. She would refuse to eat anything. 8 Hannah's husband, Elkanah, said to her, ‘Why should you weep and refuse to eat? Do not be so sad. I love you, and that is better than ten sons.’

Hannah and Eli

9 One day they had offered sacrifices at Shiloh. They had finished eating and drinking. Hannah stood up to pray to God. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair beside the door of the Lord's temple. 10 Hannah was very upset as she prayed to the Lord. She could not stop weeping. 11 She made a promise to God. She prayed, ‘Lord Almighty, you can see how sad I am. Please be kind to me, your servant. Remember me and do not forget me. Please give a son to me, your servant. If you do that, I will give him to serve you for all of his life. Nobody will ever cut his hair.’

1:9At this time, the temple where people worshipped the Lord was a tent.
1:11‘Nobody will ever cut his hair.’ This is a sign of the Nazirite promise (Numbers 6:1-21). The person promised to give his life to God.

12 Hannah continued to pray to the Lord. Eli watched her mouth while it moved. 13 Hannah was praying quietly inside herself. Her lips moved but Eli could not hear her voice. So he thought that she was drunk. 14 He said to her, ‘Are you always drunk like that? Throw away your wine.’

15 Hannah replied, ‘No, sir, I have not drunk any wine or strong drink. I have much trouble deep inside myself. I have told the Lord about all my problems. 16 Please sir, do not think that I am a bad woman. I am praying like this because I am very sad and upset.’

17 Eli said to Hannah, ‘Go and let your mind have peace. I pray that Israel's God will give you what you have asked him for.’

18 Hannah said to him, ‘I will try to do what pleases you, sir.’

Then Hannah went away and she ate some food. Her face was not sad now.

19 Elkanah and his family got up early the next morning and they worshipped the Lord. Then they went back to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had sex with his wife Hannah. The Lord remembered what she had asked him for. 20 Hannah became pregnant. Later, she gave birth to a son. She gave him the name ‘Samuel’. She said, ‘His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.’

1:20The name Samuel means ‘God's gift’.

Hannah gives Samuel to serve God

21 Next year, Elkanah went to Shiloh to offer sacrifices to the Lord, as he had promised to do. His family went with him. 22 But Hannah did not go as well. She said to her husband, ‘I will not go until the boy is older. When he can eat proper food, I will take him to Shiloh to give him to the Lord. Then he will live there for all his life.’

23 Elkanah said to Hannah, ‘You must do what seems right to you. Stay here at home until the boy begins to eat proper food. May the Lord help you, as he has promised.’

So Hannah stayed at home with her son while he continued to drink milk from her breasts.

24 When Samuel started to eat proper food, Hannah took him to Shiloh. She took him to the Lord's house there when he was still a young boy. She took with her a bull that was three years old. She also took a big bag of flour and a leather bag full of wine. 25 They killed the bull for the sacrifice. Then Hannah took Samuel to Eli. 26 Hannah said to Eli, ‘Please believe me sir. I am the woman who stood here before. You saw me when I was praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed that the Lord would give me a son and he answered my prayer. 28 Now I will give this child to serve the Lord. He will be the Lord's servant for his whole life.’

Then Elkanah's family worshipped the Lord there.