Old Testament

1 Samuel
In the Greek Old Testament, the first book of Samuel is titled The First Book of Kingdoms. This is an appropriate title because the content of the book, which includes Samuel's life, Saul's reign, and David's early life, introduces the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The first book of Samuel was probably written during or shortly after the reign of David, around 1000 BC. The author is unknown.
The Birth of Samuel
11There was a man from Ramathaim of the Zuphites in 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. 2He had two wives. One was named Hannah, and the other was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3Every year this man went up from his city to worship and to offer sacrifices to the Lord of Armies[] at Shiloh. Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were serving there as priests of the Lord.
4On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he gave portions of food to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, 5but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had kept her from having children.[]
6Hannah's rival kept taunting her to make her miserable, because the Lord had kept Hannah from having children. 7Year after year, when Hannah went up to the Lord's house, her rival taunted her, so Hannah would weep and would not eat. 8Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why is your heart so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
9Once, when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. 10Hannah's spirit was very distressed, and as she prayed to the Lord, she sobbed and wept many tears. 11She made a vow and said, “O Lord of Armies, if you will carefully consider the misery of your servant and remember me, and if you do not forget your servant but give your servant a male child,[] then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
12As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli was looking at her mouth. 13Hannah was speaking silently from her heart. Although her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and said to her, “How long are you going to be drunk? Get away from your wine!”
15Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman with a very troubled spirit. I have not been drinking wine or beer, but I have poured out my soul to the Lord. 16Do not regard your servant as a worthless, wicked woman. I have been speaking like this because of my great misery and because of how I have been grieved.”[]
17Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel give you what you have asked for.”
18She said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went on her way. She ate, and her face no longer looked sad.
19They got up early in the morning and worshipped the Lord. They then returned to their home at Ramah.
Elkanah was intimate with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20So Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel[] because she said, “I asked for him from the Lord.”
21When this man Elkanah and his entire household went up to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22Hannah did not go up with them, because she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned. Then I will bring him, so that he can appear before the Lord and remain there permanently.”
23Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do whatever you think is best. Wait until you have weaned him. Yes, then the Lord will establish his word.”
So the woman stayed at home, and she nursed her son until she was ready to wean him. 24When she had weaned him, she took him up with her. She also took a three-year-old bull,[] twenty-five pounds[] of flour, and a container of wine, and she brought him to the House of the Lord in Shiloh. The boy was ˻with them. And they brought him before the Lord, and his father killed the sacrifice as he regularly did before the Lord, and he brought˼[] the boy. 25When they had killed the bull, they presented the child to Eli. 26She said, “Excuse me, my lord. As your soul lives,[] my lord, I am the woman who stood here next to you, praying to the Lord. 27I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked for. 28So now I have also dedicated him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is dedicated to the Lord.” So he worshipped the Lord there.


  • 1:3 Traditionally Lord of Hosts or Lord Sebaoth. God is the Lord of Armies because he rules the army of angels and the army of stars. If he rules over these great powers, he rules over everything.
  • 1:5 Literally had closed her womb
  • 1:11 Literally seed of men, an unusual expression
  • 1:16 Or provoked
  • 1:20 Samuel sounds like the Hebrew words heard by God.
  • 1:24 The translation follows the reading found in a Hebrew Dead Sea Scroll and in the Greek Old Testament. The main Hebrew text reads three bulls, but the following verse refers to only one animal.
  • 1:24 Hebrew an ephah
  • 1:24 The words in half-brackets are included in a Hebrew Dead Sea Scroll. The main Hebrew text has the cryptic reading the boy [was] a boy. The longer reading may preserve evidence of an accidental skip during the copying of the standard Hebrew text from one occurrence of the word boy to the next. This Dead Sea Scroll also has additional words in verse 25, which specify that Elkanah presented the sacrifice and Hannah presented Samuel to Eli.
  • 1:26 This is an oath that means I swear on your life.