And she vowed a vow
Which might be confirmed by her husband; otherwise the vow of a woman, if disapproved of by her husband, was not valid, ( Numbers 30:8 ) and Elkanah might make the same vow his wife did, and so it stood; for as this was a vow of Nazariteship, it is a tradition of the Jews F18, that a man may vow his son to be a Nazarite, but a woman may not; but as this instance contradicts the tradition, they endeavour to explain away this vow, as it may respect a Nazarite, as will be observed hereafter:
and said, O Lord of hosts;
this is properly the first time this title was used by any that we know of; for though it is expressed in ( 1 Samuel 1:3 ) there it is used as the words of the writer of this history, and so long after this prayer was put up; (See Gill on 1 Samuel 1:3); and it is an observation in the Talmud F19, that from the day God created the world, no man called him the Lord of hosts till Hannah came and called him so:
if thou wilt indeed look upon the affliction of thine handmaid
the sorrow of heart she had, the reproach she met with, on account of her having no children:
and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid;
which petitions are the same in other words, and are repeated to denote her vehemence and importunity in prayer, and may allude to usages among men, that will look upon a person in distress, and turn away and forget them, and never think of them more; which she deprecates may not be her case with God:
but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child;
or, "a seed of men" F20; a son in the midst of men, as the Targum; such as is desirable by men, as a male child for the most part is; though some Jewish writers interpret it of the seed of righteous, wise, and understanding men, such as be fit to serve the Lord, which seems to be a sense foreign to the text; a man child she asks, because no other could serve the Lord in the temple; and that she meant by this phrase such an one is clear, because she vowed that a razor should not come on its head, which is never said of females, as Kimchi observes:
then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life;
to serve him, and minister unto him in the sanctuary; being born a Levite, it was incumbent on him to serve the Lord, and he had a right to his service; but then a common Levite did not enter on it until twenty five or thirty years of age, and was not always serving, but was dismissed from it at fifty ( Numbers 8:24 Numbers 8:25 ) ; but the child she vows, if the Lord would give her such an one, should be trained up in his service from his infancy, and continue it all the days of his life; and was to be also a perpetual Nazarite, as Samson was, as follows:
and there shall no razor come upon his head;
as was not to come upon a Nazarite, during his Nazariteship, ( Numbers 6:5 ) and as such a vow made by a woman contradicts the tradition of the Jews before mentioned, they give another sense of this clause; as the Targum, which paraphrases it,
``and the fear of man shall not be upon him;''
but about this there is a division F21; but that Samuel was Nazarite, and a perpetual one, is the sense of their best interpreters.