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1 Samuel 1

Elkanah and his family go to Shiloh

1 There was a man whose name was Elkanah. He lived in the town called Ramathaim-zophim (Ramah). This town was in the hills. It was in a place that God had given to Ephraim's tribe. 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 was in 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.

3 Every year, Elkanah left Ramathaim and he went up to the town called Shiloh. He went there to worship. There he gave sacrifices to the LORD Almighty. Hophni and Phinehas were priests to the LORD at Shiloh. Eli was their father. 4 Elkanah gave his sacrifices to God. Then he gave a part of the meat to Peninnah and to her sons and daughters. 5 Elkanah loved Hannah. But she had no children because the LORD had not let her have children. So Elkanah always gave twice as much meat to Hannah.

6 Peninnah was not kind to Hannah. She said things that would cause Hannah to feel sad. She did this because the LORD had not given any children to Hannah. Then Hannah became sad. 7 This happened every year when they went to the LORD's house in Shiloh. Peninnah would say bad things to Hannah to cause her to cry. Then Hannah would not eat anything. 8 Hannah's husband, Elkanah said to her, ‘I do not know why you are crying. I do not know why you are not eating. You should not be sad. I am better than 10 sons.’

1:8Israelite men had to go to a special place to give sacrifices to God three times every year (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 12:5-7). This place was in Shiloh at this time. The Israelites met God there. Shiloh was about 24 kilometres (15 miles) east of Ramah.

Hannah and Eli

9 One day they were at Shiloh. They had finished eating and drinking. Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting by the door of the LORD's temple. 10 Hannah was very, very sad. She cried very much and she prayed to the LORD. 11 And she said a promise to God. She prayed, ‘You are the LORD Almighty. See how sad I am. I am your servant. Remember me and do not forget me. Please give a son to me. If you do that, I will give him back to you for all of his life. Nobody will ever cut his hair.’

1:11‘Nobody will ever cut his hair.’ This is a mark 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 inside herself. Her lips moved but Eli could not hear her voice. So he thought that she had drunk too much alcohol. 14 He said to her, ‘Stop drinking so much. Put away your wine.’ 15 Hannah said to Eli, ‘No, sir, I have not drunk wine or strong drink. I have trouble deep inside myself. I told the LORD all about my problems. 16 Please do not think that I am a bad woman. I am praying here because I am sad. And I feel bad inside.’

17 Eli answered Hannah and he said, ‘Go and let your mind rest. I ask the God of Israel to give to you the thing that you asked him for.’

18 Hannah said, ‘I will try always to do the things that will cause you pleasure.’ Then Hannah went away and she ate something. Her face was not sad now.

19 Elkanah and his family got up early the next morning. They worshipped the LORD. Then they went to their home at Ramah. Elkanah had sex with his wife Hannah. And the LORD remembered what she had asked him for. 20 Hannah discovered that she would soon have a baby. She had a son and she called him 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 God

21 Every year Elkanah went to Shiloh to give sacrifices. And he did what he had promised to the LORD. His family went too. 22 But Hannah did not go. 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 the house of the LORD at Shiloh. I will give him to the LORD and he will live there for all his life.’

23 Elkanah said to Hannah, ‘You must do what seems right to you. Stay here until the boy begins to eat proper food. The LORD will help you do this.’ So, Hannah stayed at her home with her son until he drank no more milk from her.

24 When Samuel was eating proper food, Hannah took him to Shiloh. She took him to the LORD's house there. She took a male cow that was three years old. She also took a big bag of flour and a leather bag full of wine. Samuel was still young. 25 They killed the male cow for the sacrifice. Then Hannah took Samuel to Eli. 26 Hannah spoke to Eli. ‘Please believe me sir. I am the woman that was standing here. You saw me here. I was praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this boy and the LORD answered me. The LORD gave to me what I asked him for. 28 Now I give this child back to the LORD. He will work for the LORD all of his life.’

And Samuel worshipped the LORD there.