1 Samuel

1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, 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 one was Hannah, and the name of other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 This man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of Armies in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to the LORD, were there. 4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions; 5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had shut up her womb. 6 Her rival provoked her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had shut up her womb. 7 As he did so year by year, when she went up to the LORD’s house. Her rival provoked her; therefore she wept, and didn’t eat. 8 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why don’t you eat? Why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 9 So Hannah rose up after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the LORD’s temple. 10 She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 She vowed a vow, and said, “The LORD of Armies, if you will indeed look at the affliction of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a boy, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come on his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli saw her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Get rid of your wine!” 15 Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have not been drinking wine or strong drink, but I poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman; for I have been speaking out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.” 18 She said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way, and ate; and her facial expression wasn’t sad any more. 19 They rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah. Then Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. 20 When the time had come, Hannah conceived, and bore a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.” 21 The man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. 22 But Hannah didn’t go up; for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and stay there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems good to you. Wait until you have weaned him; only may the LORD establish his word.” So the woman waited and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him to the LORD’s house in Shiloh. The child was young. 25 They killed the bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 She said, “Oh, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child; and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of him. 28 Therefore I have also given him to the LORD. As long as he lives he is given to the LORD.” He worshiped the LORD there.

(Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

Elkanah kept up his attendance at God’s altar, notwithstanding the unhappy differences in his family. If the devotions of a family prevail not to put an end to its divisions, yet let not the divisions put a stop to the devotions. To abate our just love to any relation for the sake of any infirmity which they cannot help, and which is their affliction, is to make God’s providence quarrel with his precept, and very unkindly to add affliction to the afflicted. It is evidence of a base disposition, to delight in grieving those who are of a sorrowful spirit, and in putting those out of humour who are apt to fret and be uneasy. We ought to bear one another’s burdens, not add to them. Hannah could not bear the provocation. Those who are of a fretful spirit, and are apt to lay provocations too much to heart, are enemies to themselves, and strip themselves of many comforts both of life and godliness. We ought to notice comforts, to keep us from grieving for crosses. We should look at that which is for us, as well as what is against us.

Verses 9–18

Hannah mingled tears with her prayers; she considered the mercy of our God, who knows the troubled soul. God gives us leave, in prayer, not only to ask good things in general, but to mention that special good thing we most need and desire. She spoke softly, none could hear her. Hereby she testified her belief of God’s knowledge of the heart and its desires. Eli was high priest, and judge in Israel. It ill becomes us to be rash and hasty in censures of others, and to think people guilty of bad things while the matter is doubtful and unproved. Hannah did not retort the charge, and upbraid Eli with the wicked conduct of his own sons. When we are at any time unjustly censured, we have need to set a double watch before the door of our lips, that we do not return censure for censure. Hannah thought it enough to clear herself, and so must we. Eli was willing to acknowledge his mistake. Hannah went away with satisfaction of mind. She had herself by prayer committed her case to God, and Eli had prayed for her. Prayer is heart’s ease to a gracious soul. Prayer will smooth the countenance; it should do so. None will long remain miserable, who use aright the privilege of going to the mercy-seat of a reconciled God in Christ Jesus.

Verses 19–28

Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a family of children to take with them, yet they would not move till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts of God’s house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.

Back to Top