There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah a in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham and grandson of Elihu, from the family of Tohu and the clan of Zuph.
Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, while Hannah did not.
Each year Elkanah and his family would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at the Tabernacle. The priests of the LORD at that time were the two sons of Eli -- Hophni and Phinehas.
On the day Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and each of her children.
But he gave Hannah a special portion b because he loved her very much, even though the LORD had given her no children.
But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the LORD had closed her womb.
Year after year it was the same -- Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. c Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
"What's the matter, Hannah?" Elkanah would ask. "Why aren't you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me -- isn't that better than having ten sons?"
Once when they were at Shiloh, Hannah went over to the Tabernacle d after supper to pray to the LORD. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance.
Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.
And she made this vow: "O LORD Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut." e12
As she was praying to the LORD, Eli watched her.
Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking.
"Must you come here drunk?" he demanded. "Throw away your wine!"
"Oh no, sir!" she replied, "I'm not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the LORD.
Please don't think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow."
"In that case," Eli said, "cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him."
"Oh, thank you, sir!" she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the LORD once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the LORD remembered her request,
and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, f for she said, "I asked the LORD for him."
The next year Elkanah, Peninnah, and their children went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the LORD.
But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, "Wait until the baby is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the LORD permanently." g23
"Whatever you think is best," Elkanah agreed. "Stay here for now, and may the LORD help you keep your promise." So she stayed home and nursed the baby.
When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull h for the sacrifice and half a bushel i of flour and some wine.
After sacrificing the bull, they took the child to Eli.
"Sir, do you remember me?" Hannah asked. "I am the woman who stood here several years ago praying to the LORD.
I asked the LORD to give me this child, and he has given me my request.
Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life." And they j worshiped the LORD there.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)