There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.)
He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.
Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there.
When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children,
but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children.
But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children.
This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
Her husband Elkanah said, "Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren't you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?"
So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God's Temple in the customary seat.