He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD.
Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.
But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb.
Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.
And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.