Samuel’s Birth

There was a man named Elkanah son of Jeroham from Ramathaim in the mountains of Ephraim. Elkanah was from the family of Zuph. (Jeroham was Elihu’s son. Elihu was Tohu’s son, and Tohu was the son of Zuph from the family group of Ephraim.) Elkanah had two wives named Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

Every year Elkanah left his town of Ramah and went up to Shiloh to worship the Lord All-Powerful and to offer sacrifices to him. Shiloh was where Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, served as priests of the Lord. When Elkanah offered sacrifices, he always gave a share of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to her sons and daughters. But Elkanah always gave a special share of the meat to Hannah, because he loved Hannah and because the Lord had kept her from having children. Peninnah would tease Hannah and upset her, because the Lord had made her unable to have children. This happened every year when they went up to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. Peninnah would upset Hannah until Hannah would cry and not eat anything. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why won’t you eat? Why are you sad? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Once, after they had eaten their meal in Shiloh, Hannah got up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the entrance to the Lord’s house. 10 Hannah was so sad that she cried and prayed to the Lord. 11 She made a promise, saying, “Lord All-Powerful, see how sad I am. Remember me and don’t forget me. If you will give me a son, I will give him back to you all his life, and no one will ever cut his hair with a razor.”[a]

12 While Hannah kept praying, Eli watched her mouth. 13 She was praying in her heart so her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “Stop getting drunk! Throw away your wine!”

15 Hannah answered, “No, sir, I have not drunk any wine or beer. I am a deeply troubled woman, and I was telling the Lord about all my problems. 16 Don’t think I am an evil woman. I have been praying because I have many troubles and am very sad.”

17 Eli answered, “Go! I wish you well. May the God of Israel give you what you asked of him.”

18 Hannah said, “May I always please you.” When she left and ate something, she was not sad anymore.

19 Early the next morning Elkanah’s family got up and worshiped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah had sexual relations with his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So Hannah became pregnant, and in time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.”

Hannah Gives Samuel to God

21 Every year Elkanah went with his whole family to Shiloh to offer sacrifices and to keep the promise he had made to God. 22 But one time Hannah did not go with him. She told him, “When the boy is old enough to eat solid food, I will take him to Shiloh. Then I will give him to the Lord, and he will always live there.”

23 Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, said to her, “Do what you think is best. You may stay home until the boy is old enough to eat. May the Lord do what you have said.” So Hannah stayed at home to nurse her son until he was old enough to eat.

24 When Samuel was old enough to eat, Hannah took him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh, along with a three-year-old bull, one-half bushel of flour, and a leather bag filled with wine. 25 After they had killed the bull for the sacrifice, Hannah brought Samuel to Eli. 26 She said to Eli, “As surely as you live, sir, I am the same woman who stood near you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer and gave him to me. 28 Now I give him back to the Lord. He will belong to the Lord all his life.” And he worshiped the Lord there.


  1. 1:11 cut . . . razor People who made special promises not to cut their hair or to drink wine or beer were called Nazirites. These people gave a specific time in their lives, or sometimes their entire lives, to the Lord. See Numbers 6:1–5.
  2. 1:20 Samuel This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “God heard.”