1 Samuel 1:1-2:36

1:1 There was a man from Ramathaim Zophim, from the hill country of Ephraim. His name was Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; the name of the first was Hannah and the name of the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 This man would go up from his city year after year to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at Shiloh. (It was there that the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the Lord’s priests.) 4 The day came, and Elkanah sacrificed.

(Now he used to give meat portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion because he loved Hannah, although the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 6 Her rival used to aggravate her to the point of exasperation, just to irritate her, since the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 7 This is how it would go year after year. As often as she went up to the Lord’s house, Peninnah would offend her in that way.)

So she cried and refused to eat. 8 Then her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why won’t you eat? Why are you so upset? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?” 9 So Hannah got up after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh.

At the time Eli the priest was sitting in his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s sanctuary. 10 As for Hannah, she was very distressed. She prayed to the Lord and was, in fact, weeping. 11 She made a vow saying, “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you would truly look on the suffering of your servant, and would keep me in mind and not neglect your servant, and give your servant a male child, then I will dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. His hair will never be cut.”

12 It turned out that she did a great deal of praying before the Lord. Meanwhile Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her mind. Only her lips were moving; her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was a drunkard.

14 Then he said to her, “How much longer do you intend to get drunk? Put away your wine!” 15 But Hannah replied, “Not so, my lord! I am a woman under a great deal of stress. I haven’t drunk wine or beer. But I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman. It’s just that, to this point, I have spoken from my deep pain and anguish.”

17 Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the request that you have asked of him.” 18 She said, “May I, your servant, find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and got something to eat. Her face no longer looked sad.

19 They got up early the next morning. Then they worshiped the Lord and returned to their home at Ramathaim. Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah, and the Lord called her to mind. 20 Then Hannah became pregnant.

In the course of time she gave birth to a son. And she named him Samuel, thinking, “I asked the Lord for him.” 21 Then the man Elkanah and all his family went up to make the yearly sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up with them, because she had told her husband, “Not until the boy is weaned. Then I will bring him so that he may appear before the Lord. And he will remain there from then on.”

23 Then her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what you think best. Stay until you have weaned him. Only may the Lord fulfill his promise.”

So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. 24 Then she took him up with her as soon as she had weaned him, along with three bulls, an ephah of flour, and a container of wine. She came to the Lord’s house at Shiloh, and the boy was with them. 25 They slaughtered the bull, then brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “My lord. Just as surely as you are alive, my lord, I am the woman who previously stood here with you in order to pray to the Lord. 27 For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me the request that I asked of him. 28 So I also dedicate him to the Lord. For all the days of his life he is dedicated to the Lord.” Then he bowed down there in worship to the Lord.

2:1 Hannah prayed,

“My heart has rejoiced in the Lord;

my horn has been raised high because of the Lord.

I have loudly denounced my enemies.

Indeed I rejoice in your deliverance.

2 No one is holy like the Lord!

There is no one other than you!

There is no rock like our God!

3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly.

Proud talk should not come out of your mouth,

for the Lord is a God who knows;

he evaluates what people do.

4 The bows of warriors are shattered,

but those who stumbled have taken on strength.

5 The well fed hire themselves out to earn food,

but the hungry no longer lack.

Even the barren woman has given birth to seven,

but the one with many children has declined.

6 The Lord both kills and gives life;

he brings down to the grave and raises up.

7 The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;

he humbles and he exalts.

8 He lifts the weak from the dust;

he raises the poor from the ash heap

to seat them with princes—

he bestows on them an honored position.

The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord—

he placed the world on them.

9 He watches over his holy ones,

but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness,

for it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails.

10 The Lord shatters his adversaries;

he thunders against them from the heavens.

The Lord executes judgment to the ends of the earth.

He will strengthen his king

and exalt the power of his anointed one.”

11 Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah.

The boy Samuel was serving the Lord with the favor of Eli the priest. 12 But the sons of Eli were wicked men. They did not acknowledge the Lord’s authority. 13 This was the priests’ routine with the people. Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice, the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand, just as the meat was boiling. 14 He would jab it into the basin, kettle, cauldron, or pot. Everything that the fork would bring up the priest would take for himself. This is how they used to treat all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh.

15 Also, before they burned the fat the priest’s attendant would come and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, “Give some meat for the priest to roast! He won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 16 If the individual said to him, “They should certainly burn the fat away first, then take for yourself whatever you wish,” then he would say, “No! Give it now! If not, I’ll take it by force!” 17 The sin of these young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.

18 Now Samuel was ministering with the favor of the Lord. The boy was dressed in a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make him a small robe and bring it to him from time to time when she would go up with her husband to make the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife saying, “May the Lord establish descendants for you from this woman in place of the one that she dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would go to their home. 21 And indeed the Lord attended to Hannah. She got pregnant and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. But the boy Samuel grew up before the Lord.

22 Eli was very old. And he would hear about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel and how they used to go to bed with the women who were stationed at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do these things, these evil things that I hear about from all these people? 24 No, my sons! For the report that I hear circulating among the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If a man sins against a man, one may appeal to God on his behalf. But if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But Eli’s sons would not listen to their father. Indeed the Lord had decided to kill them. 26 However, the boy Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.

27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘I plainly revealed myself to your ancestor’s house when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh in Egypt. 28 I chose your ancestor from all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifice on my altar, to burn incense, and to bear the ephod before me. I gave to your ancestor’s house all the fire offerings made by the Israelites. 29 Why are you scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place? You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel.’

30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I really did say that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be! For I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed! 31 In fact, days are coming when I will remove your strength and the strength of your father’s house. There will not be an old man in your house! 32 You will see trouble in my dwelling place! Israel will experience blessings, but there will not be an old man in your house for all time. 33 Any man of yours that I do not cut off from my altar, I will cause his eyes to fail and will cause him grief. All those born to your family will die by the sword of man. 34 This will be a confirming sign for you that will be fulfilled through your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: in a single day they both will die! 35 Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest. He will do what is in my heart and soul. I will build for him a lasting dynasty, and he will serve my chosen one for all time. 36 Everyone who remains in your house will come to bow before him for a little money and for a scrap of bread. Each will say, “Assign me to a priestly task so I can eat a scrap of bread.”’”