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.
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)