Then Hannah prayed. She said, "The LORD has filled my heart with joy. He has made me strong. I can laugh at my enemies. I'm so glad he saved me.
"There isn't anyone holy like the Lord. There isn't anyone except him. There isn't any Rock like our God.
"Don't keep talking so proudly. Don't let your mouth say such proud things. The LORD is a God who knows everything. He judges everything people do.
"The bows of great heroes are broken. But those who trip and fall are made strong.
Those who used to be full have to work for food. But those who used to be hungry aren't hungry anymore. The woman who couldn't have children has seven of them now. But the woman who has had many children is sad now because hers have died.
"The LORD causes people to die. He also gives people life. He brings people down to the grave. He also brings people up.
The LORD makes people poor. He also makes people rich. He brings people down. He also lifts people up.
He raises poor people up from the trash pile. He lifts needy people out of the ashes. He lets them sit with princes. He gives them places of honor. "The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord. On them he has set the world.
He guards the paths of those who are faithful to him. But evil people will lie silent in their dark graves. "People don't win just because they are strong.
Those who oppose the LORD will be totally destroyed. He will thunder against them from heaven. He will judge the earth from one end to the other. "He will give power to his king. He will give honor to his anointed one."
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. But the boy Samuel served the LORD under the direction of the priest Eli.
Eli's sons were evil men. They didn't know the Lord.
When anyone came to offer a sacrifice, here is what the priests would do. While the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a large fork in his hand.
He would stick it into the pan or pot or small or large kettle. Then the priest would take for himself everything the fork brought up. That's how Eli's sons treated all of the people of Israel who came to Shiloh.
Even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come over. He would speak to the man who was offering the sacrifice. He would say, "Give the priest some meat to cook. He won't accept boiled meat from you. All he'll accept is raw meat."
Sometimes the man would say to him, "Let the fat be burned up first. Then take what you want." But the servant would answer, "No. Hand it over right now. If you don't, I'll take it away from you by force."
That sin of Eli's sons was very great in the LORD's sight. That's because they were making fun of his offering.
But the boy Samuel served the Lord. He wore a sacred linen apron.
Each year his mother made him a little robe. She took it to him when she went up to Shiloh with her husband. She did it when her husband went to offer the yearly sacrifice.
Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. He would say, "May the LORD give you children by this woman. May they take the place of the boy she prayed for and gave to him." Then they would go home.
The LORD was gracious to Hannah. She became pregnant. Over a period of years she had three more sons and two daughters. During that whole time the boy Samuel grew up serving the Lord.
Eli was very old. He kept hearing about everything his sons were doing to all of the people of Israel. He also heard how they were having sex with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
So Eli said to his sons, "Why are you doing those things? All of the people are telling me about the evil things you are doing.
No, my sons. The report I hear isn't good. And it's spreading among the LORD's people.
If a man sins against someone else, God can help that sinner. But if a man sins against the Lord, who can help him?" In spite of what their father Eli said, his sons didn't pay any attention to his warning. That's because the LORD had already decided to put them to death.
The boy Samuel continued to grow stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to the LORD and to people.
A man of God came to Eli. He told him, "The LORD says, 'I made myself clearly known to your relatives who lived long ago. I did it when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh.
I chose your father Aaron to be my priest. I chose him out of all of the tribes of Israel. I told him to go up to my altar. I told him to burn incense. I chose him to wear a linen apron when he served me. I also gave his family all of the offerings that are made with fire by the people of Israel.
" 'Why do all of you laugh at my sacrifices and offerings? I require them to be brought to the house where I live. Why do you honor your sons more than me? Why do you fatten yourselves on the best parts of every offering that is made by my people Israel?'
"The LORD is the God of Israel. He announced, 'I promised that your family and the family of Aaron would serve me as priests forever.' "But now the LORD announces, 'I will not let that happen! I will honor those who honor me. But I will turn away from those who look down on me.
The time is coming when I will cut your life short. I will also cut short the lives of those in your family. No man in your family line will grow old.
" 'You will see nothing but trouble in the house where I live. Good things will still happen to Israel. But no man in your family line will ever grow old.
A member of your family will serve me at my altar. But what he does will bring tears to your eyes. Your heart will be sad. And the rest of the men in your family line will die while they are still young.
" 'Something is going to happen to your two sons Hophni and Phinehas. When it does, it will show you that what I am saying is true. They will both die on the same day.
" 'I will raise up for myself a faithful priest. He will do what my heart and mind want him to do. I will make his family line very secure. They will always serve as priests to my anointed king.
Everyone who is left in your family line will come and bow down to him. They will beg him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread. They will say, "Please give me a place to serve among the priests. Then I can have food to eat." ' "