1 Samuel 1

The Birth of Samuel

1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD.
4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.
5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb.
6 Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house.
10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.
11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk
14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.
16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her.
20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

Hannah Dedicates Samuel

21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow,
22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”[c]
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his[d] word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[e] an ephah[f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.
25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli,
26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD.
27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

In this book we have an account of Eli, and the wickedness of his sons; also of Samuel, his character and actions. Then of the advancement of Saul to be the king of Israel, and his ill behaviour, until his death made way for David's succession to the throne, who was an eminent type of Christ. David's patience, modesty, constancy, persecution by open enemies and feigned friends, are a pattern and example to the church, and to every member of it. Many things in this book encourage the faith, hope, and patience of the suffering believer. It contains also many useful cautions and awful warnings.

Elkanah and his family. (1-8) Hannah's prayer. (9-18) Samuel, Hannah presents him to the Lord. (19-28)

Verses 1-8 Elkanah kept up his attendance at God's altar, notwithstanding the unhappy differences in his family. If the devotions of a family prevail not to put an end to its divisions, yet let not the divisions put a stop to the devotions. To abate our just love to any relation for the sake of any infirmity which they cannot help, and which is their affliction, is to make God's providence quarrel with his precept, and very unkindly to add affliction to the afflicted. It is evidence of a base disposition, to delight in grieving those who are of a sorrowful spirit, and in putting those out of humour who are apt to fret and be uneasy. We ought to bear one another's burdens, not add to them. Hannah could not bear the provocation. Those who are of a fretful spirit, and are apt to lay provocations too much to heart, are enemies to themselves, and strip themselves of many comforts both of life and godliness. We ought to notice comforts, to keep us from grieving for crosses. We should look at that which is for us, as well as what is against us.

Verses 9-18 Hannah mingled tears with her prayers; she considered the mercy of our God, who knows the troubled soul. God gives us leave, in prayer, not only to ask good things in general, but to mention that special good thing we most need and desire. She spoke softly, none could hear her. Hereby she testified her belief of God's knowledge of the heart and its desires. Eli was high priest, and judge in Israel. It ill becomes us to be rash and hasty in censures of others, and to think people guilty of bad things while the matter is doubtful and unproved. Hannah did not retort the charge, and upbraid Eli with the wicked conduct of his own sons. When we are at any time unjustly censured, we have need to set a double watch before the door of our lips, that we do not return censure for censure. Hannah thought it enough to clear herself, and so must we. Eli was willing to acknowledge his mistake. Hannah went away with satisfaction of mind. She had herself by prayer committed her case to God, and Eli had prayed for her. Prayer is heart's ease to a gracious soul. Prayer will smooth the countenance; it should do so. None will long remain miserable, who use aright the privilege of going to the mercy-seat of a reconciled God in Christ Jesus.

Verses 19-28 Elkanah and his family had a journey before them, and a family of children to take with them, yet they would not move till they had worshipped God together. Prayer and provender do not hinder a journey. When men are in such haste to set out upon journeys, or to engage in business, that they have not time to worship God, they are likely to proceed without his presence and blessing. Hannah, though she felt a warm regard for the courts of God's house, begged to stay at home. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Those who are detained from public ordinances, by the nursing and tending of little children, may take comfort from this instance, and believe, that if they do that duty in a right spirit, God will graciously accept them therein. Hannah presented her child to the Lord with a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness in answer to prayer. Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from him. All our gifts to him were first his gifts to us. The child Samuel early showed true piety. Little children should be taught to worship God when very young. Their parents should teach them in it, bring them to it, and put them on doing it as well as they can; God will graciously accept them, and will teach them to do better.

Cross References 44

  • 1. S Joshua 18:25
  • 2. 1 Samuel 9:5
  • 3. Joshua 17:17-18
  • 4. Joshua 21:20-22
  • 5. 1 Chronicles 6:27,34
  • 6. S Genesis 4:19; Deuteronomy 21:15-17; Luke 2:36
  • 7. ver 21; Exodus 23:14; Exodus 34:23; 1 Samuel 2:19; 1 Samuel 20:6,29; Luke 2:41
  • 8. Deuteronomy 12:5-7
  • 9. S Joshua 18:1
  • 10. 1 Samuel 2:31; 1 Samuel 14:3
  • 11. Leviticus 7:15-18; Deuteronomy 12:17-18
  • 12. S Genesis 29:34
  • 13. S Genesis 37:3
  • 14. S Genesis 11:30; S Genesis 29:31; Genesis 16:1; Genesis 30:2
  • 15. S Genesis 16:4; Job 24:21
  • 16. 2 Samuel 12:17; Psalms 102:4
  • 17. S Ruth 4:15
  • 18. 1 Samuel 3:3
  • 19. Job 3:20; Job 7:11; Job 10:1; Job 21:25; Job 23:2; Job 27:2; Isaiah 38:15; Jeremiah 20:18
  • 20. S Judges 11:30
  • 21. S Genesis 17:1; Psalms 24:10; Psalms 46:7; Isaiah 1:9
  • 22. S Genesis 8:1; Genesis 28:20; Genesis 29:32
  • 23. S Judges 13:7
  • 24. Numbers 6:1-21; Judges 13:5; Luke 1:15
  • 25. 2 Kings 4:27
  • 26. Psalms 42:4; Psalms 62:8; Lamentations 2:19
  • 27. Psalms 55:2
  • 28. Numbers 6:26; Judges 18:6; 1 Samuel 20:42; 1 Samuel 25:35; 2 Kings 5:19; Mark 5:34; S Acts 15:33
  • 29. S Genesis 25:21; Psalms 20:3-5
  • 30. S Genesis 18:3; Ruth 2:13
  • 31. Ecclesiastes 9:7; Romans 15:13
  • 32. S Joshua 18:25
  • 33. S Genesis 8:1; S Genesis 29:31; Genesis 4:1; Genesis 30:22
  • 34. S Genesis 17:19; S Genesis 29:32; S Genesis 30:6
  • 35. Genesis 41:51-52; Exodus 2:10; Exodus 2:10,22; Matthew 1:21
  • 36. 1 Samuel 7:5; 1 Samuel 12:23; 1 Chronicles 6:27; Jeremiah 15:1; Hebrews 11:32
  • 37. S ver 3
  • 38. S Genesis 28:20; Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 12:11
  • 39. ver 11,28; Exodus 13:2; Luke 2:22
  • 40. ver 17; S Genesis 25:21; Numbers 30:7
  • 41. Genesis 21:8
  • 42. Numbers 15:8-10; Deuteronomy 12:5; Joshua 18:1
  • 43. ver 11-13; 1 Samuel 2:20; Psalms 66:19-20
  • 44. S Judges 13:7; ver 11,22; Genesis 24:26,52

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. See Septuagint and 1 Chron. 6:26-27,33-35; or "from Ramathaim Zuphim" .
  • [b]. "Samuel" sounds like the Hebrew for "heard by God."
  • [c]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls "always. I have dedicated him as a Nazirite—all the days of his life.”"
  • [d]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac "your"
  • [e]. Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac; Masoretic Text "with three bulls"
  • [f]. That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

\\OTHERWISE CALLED\\ \\THE FIRST BOOK OF KINGS\\

This book, in the Hebrew copies, is commonly called Samuel, or the Book of Samuel; in the Syriac version, the Book of Samuel the Prophet; and in the Arabic version, the Book of Samuel the Prophet, which is the First Book of the Kings; and the Septuagint version, the Book of the Kingdom: it has the name of Samuel, because it contains an history of his life and times; and the Jews say {a} it was written by him; and as it may well enough be thought to be, to the end of the twenty fourth chapter; and the rest might be written by Nathan and Gad, as may he gathered from 1Ch 29:29 as also the following book that bears his name; and both may be called the Books of Kings, because they give an account of the rise of the kings in Israel, and of the two first of them; though some think they were written by Jeremiah, as Abarbinel; and others ascribe them to Ezra: however, there is no doubt to be made of it that this book was written by divine inspiration, when we consider the series of its history, its connection and harmony with other parts of Scripture; the several things borrowed from it, or alluded to in the book of Psalms, particularly what is observed in Ps 113:7,8, seems to be taken out of 1Sa 2:8, and the sanction which the Lord gives to it, by referring to a fact in it, whereby he stopped the mouths of the Scribes and Pharisees cavilling at his disciples, Mt 12:3,4, compared with 1Sa 21:3-6, yea, even, as Huetius {b} observes, some Heathen writers have by their testimonies confirmed some passages in these books, which they seem to have been acquainted with, as Nicolaus of Damascus {c}, and Eupolemus {d}; it contains an history of the government of Eli, and of the birth of Samuel, and his education under him; of the succession of Samuel in it, and the resignation of it to Saul, when he was chosen king; of his administration of his office, and of things done in the time of it, both before and after his rejection, and of the persecution of David by Saul, and is concluded with his death.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. {b} Demonstrat. Evangel. Prop. 4. p. 199. {c} Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 2. {d} Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 30.

\\INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 1\\

This chapter gives an account of the parents of Samuel, of the trouble his mother met with from her rival, and comfort from her husband, 1Sa 1:1-8, of her prayer to God for a son, and of her vow to him, should one be given her, 1Sa 1:9-11 of the notice Eli took of her, and of his censure on her, which he afterwards retracted, and comforted her, 1Sa 1:12-18 of her conception and the birth of her son, the nursing and weaning of him, 1Sa 1:19-23 and of the presentation of him to the Lord, with a sacrifice, 1Sa 1:24-28.

1 Samuel 1 Commentaries