1 There was a man from Ramathaim Zophim, 1 from the hill country of Ephraim, whose 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. Now Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
3 Year after year 2 this man would go up from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh. It was there that the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, served as the Lord’s priests. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he used to give meat portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But he would give a double 3 portion to Hannah, because he especially loved her. 4 Now the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 5 6 Her rival wife used to upset her and make her worry, 6 for the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 7 Peninnah 7 would behave this way year after year. Whenever Hannah 8 went up to the Lord’s house, Peninnah 9 would upset her so that she would weep and refuse to eat. 8 Finally her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and not eat? Why are you so sad? 10 Am I not better to you than ten 11 sons?”
9 On one occasion in Shiloh, after they had finished eating and drinking, Hannah got up. 12 (Now at the time Eli the priest was sitting in his chair 13 by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.) 10 She was very upset 14 as she prayed to the Lord, and she was weeping uncontrollably. 15 11 She made a vow saying, “O Lord of hosts, if you will look with compassion 16 on the suffering of your female servant, 17 remembering me and not forgetting your servant, and give a male child 18 to your servant, then I will dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. His hair will never be cut.” 19
12 As she continued praying to 20 the Lord, Eli was watching her mouth. 13 Now Hannah was speaking from her heart. Although her lips were moving, her voice was inaudible. Eli therefore thought she was drunk. 14 So he 21 said to her, “How often do you intend to get drunk? Put away your wine!”
15 But Hannah replied, “That’s not the way it is, 22 my lord! I am under a great deal of stress. 23 I have drunk neither wine nor beer. Rather, I have poured out my soul to 24 the Lord. 16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman, 25 for until now 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. 26 Her face no longer looked sad.
19 They got up early the next morning and after worshiping the Lord, they returned to their home at Ramah. Elkanah had marital relations with 27 his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered 28 her. 20 After some time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, thinking, “I asked the Lord for him. 29
21 This man Elkanah went up with all his family to make the yearly sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow, 22 but Hannah did not go up with them. 30 Instead she told her husband, “Once the boy is weaned, I will bring him and appear before the Lord, and he will remain there from then on.”
23 So her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what you think best. 31 Stay until you have weaned him. May the Lord fulfill his promise.” 32
So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. 24 Once she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with three bulls, an ephah 33 of flour, and a container 34 of wine. She brought him to the Lord’s house at Shiloh, even though he was young. 35 25 Once the bull had been slaughtered, they brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “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 I prayed for this boy, and the Lord has given me the request that I asked of him. 28 Now I dedicate him to the Lord. From this time on he is dedicated to the Lord.” Then they 36 worshiped the Lord there.
2 Hannah prayed, 1
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn 2 is exalted high because of the Lord.
I loudly denounce 3 my enemies,
for I am happy that you delivered me. 4
2 No one is holy 5 like the Lord!
There is no one other than you!
There is no rock 6 like our God!
3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly, 7
letting proud talk come out of your mouth!
For the Lord is a God who knows;
he 8 evaluates what people do.
4 The bows of warriors are shattered,
but those who stumble find their strength reinforced.
5 Those who are well-fed hire themselves out to earn food,
but the hungry no longer lack.
Even 9 the barren woman gives birth to seven, 10
but the one with many children withers away. 11
6 The Lord both kills and gives life;
he brings down to the grave 12 and raises up.
7 The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He lifts the weak 13 from the dust;
he raises 14 the poor from the ash heap
to seat them with princes
and to bestow on them an honored position. 15
The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord,
and he has placed the world on them.
9 He watches over 16 his holy ones, 17
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 18 his adversaries; 19
he thunders against them from 20 the heavens.
The Lord executes judgment to the ends of the earth.
He will strengthen 21 his king
and exalt the power 22 of his anointed one.” 23
11 Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah. But the boy was serving the Lord under the supervision of 24 Eli the priest.
12 The sons of Eli were wicked men. 25 They did not recognize the Lord’s authority. 26 13 Now the priests would always treat the people in the following way: 27 Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork 28 in his hand. 14 He would jab it into the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot, and everything that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they used to do to all the Israelites 29 when they came there to Shiloh.
15 Even before they burned the fat, the priest’s attendant would come and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, “Hand over some meat for the priest to roast! He won’t take boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 30 16 If the individual said to him, “First let the fat be burned away, and then take for yourself whatever you wish,” he would say, “No! 31 Hand it over right now! If you don’t, I will take it forcibly!”
17 The sin of these young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they 32 treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.
18 Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord. The boy was dressed in a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make him a small robe and bring it up to him at regular intervals 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 raise up for you descendants 33 from this woman to replace the one that she 34 dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would go to their 35 home. 21 So the Lord graciously attended to Hannah, and she was able to conceive and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the Lord’s sanctuary. 36
22 Now Eli was very old when he heard about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel 37 and how they used to have sex with 38 the women who were stationed at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 He said to them, “Why do you behave in this way? For I hear about these evil things from all these 39 people. 24 This ought not to be, 40 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 then will intercede for him?” But Eli’s sons 41 would not listen to their father, for the Lord had decided 42 to kill them.
26 Now the boy Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.
27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not plainly 43 reveal myself to your ancestor’s 44 house when they were in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh? 28 I chose your ancestor 45 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 46 scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place? 47 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 48 that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve 49 me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be! 50 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 51 and the strength 52 of your father’s house. There will not be an old man in your house! 32 You will see trouble in my dwelling place! 53 Israel will experience blessings, 54 but there will not be an old man in your 55 house for all time. 56 33 Any one of you that I do not cut off from my altar, I will cause your 57 eyes to fail 58 and will cause you grief. 59 All of those born to your family 60 will die in the prime of life. 61 34 This will be a confirming sign for you that will be fulfilled through your two sons, 62 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 secure dynasty 63 and he will serve my chosen one for all time. 64 36 Everyone who remains in your house will come to bow before him for a little money 65 and for a scrap of bread. Each will say, ‘Assign me to a priestly task so I can eat a scrap of bread.’”
3 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. 1 Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent.
2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am!” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli 2 said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli 3 said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place.
10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Look! I am about to do something in Israel; 4 when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle. 12 On that day I will carry out 5 against Eli everything that I spoke about his house – from start to finish! 13 You 6 should tell him that I am about to judge his house forever because of 7 the sin that he knew about. For his sons were cursing God, 8 and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I swore an oath to the house of Eli, ‘The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.’”
15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision. 16 However, Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.” 17 Eli 9 said, “What message did he speak to you? Don’t conceal it from me. God will judge you severely 10 if you conceal from me anything that he said to you!”
18 So Samuel told him everything. He did not hold back anything from him. Eli 11 said, “The Lord will do what he pleases.” 12 19 Samuel continued to grow, and the Lord was with him. None of his prophecies fell to the ground unfulfilled. 13 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba realized that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord again appeared in Shiloh, for it was in Shiloh that the Lord had revealed himself to Samuel 14 through the word of the Lord. 15