1 Samuel 1

Elkanah and His Wives

1 Now there was a certain man from 1Ramathaim-zophim from the 2hill country of Ephraim, and his name was 3Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
2 He had 4two wives: the name of one was 5Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3 Now this man would go up from his city 6yearly 7to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in 8Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there.
4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he 9would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;
5 but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, 10but the LORD had closed her womb.
6 Her rival, however, 11would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.
7 It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.
8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? 12Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of 13the temple of the LORD.
10 She, [a]greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
11 She 14made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed 15look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a [b]son *, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and 16a razor shall never come on his head."
12 Now it came about, as she [c]continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth.
13 As for Hannah, 17she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.
14 Then Eli said to her, "18How long * will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you."
15 But Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am a woman [d]oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I 19have poured out my soul before the LORD.
16 "Do not [e]consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and [f]provocation."
17 Then Eli answered and said, "20Go in peace; and may the God of Israel 21grant your petition that you have asked of Him."
18 She said, "22Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and 23her face was no longer sad.

Samuel Is Born to Hannah

19 Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned * again to their house in 24Ramah. And Elkanah [g]had relations with Hannah his wife, and 25the LORD remembered her.
20 It came about [h]in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named * him Samuel, saying, "26Because I have asked him of the LORD."
21 Then the man Elkanah 27went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow.
22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will 28bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and 29stay there forever *."
23 30Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best [i]to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only 31may the LORD confirm His word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.
24 Now when she had weaned him, 32she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to 33the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young.
25 Then 34they slaughtered the bull, and 35brought the boy to Eli.
26 She said, "Oh, my lord! 36As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.
27 "37For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
28 "38So I have also [j]dedicated him to the LORD; as long * as he lives he is [k]dedicated to the LORD." And 39he 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 39

  • 1. 1 Samuel 1:19
  • 2. Joshua 17:17, 18; Joshua 24:33
  • 3. 1 Chr 6:22-28, 33-38
  • 4. Deuteronomy 21:15-17
  • 5. Luke 2:36
  • 6. Exodus 34:23; 1 Samuel 1:21; Luke 2:41
  • 7. Exodus 23:14; Deuteronomy 12:5-7; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 8. Joshua 18:1
  • 9. Deuteronomy 12:17, 18
  • 10. Genesis 16:1; Genesis 30:1
  • 11. Job 24:21
  • 12. Ruth 4:15
  • 13. 1 Samuel 3:3
  • 14. Numbers 30:6-11
  • 15. Genesis 29:32
  • 16. Numbers 6:5; Judges 13:5
  • 17. Genesis 24:42-45
  • 18. Acts 2:4, 13
  • 19. Job 30:16; Psalms 42:4; Psalms 62:8; Lamentations 2:19
  • 20. Judges 18:6; 1 Samuel 25:35; 2 Kings 5:19; Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50
  • 21. Psalms 20:3-5
  • 22. Genesis 33:15; Ruth 2:13
  • 23. Romans 15:13
  • 24. 1 Samuel 1:1; 1 Samuel 2:11
  • 25. Genesis 21:1; Genesis 30:22
  • 26. Genesis 41:51, 52; Exodus 2:10, 22; Matthew 1:21
  • 27. Deuteronomy 12:11; 1 Samuel 1:3
  • 28. Luke 2:22
  • 29. 1 Samuel 1:11, 28
  • 30. Num 30:7, 10, 11
  • 31. 1 Samuel 1:17
  • 32. Numbers 15:9, 10; Deuteronomy 12:5, 6
  • 33. Joshua 18:1; 1 Samuel 4:3, 4
  • 34. Leviticus 1:5
  • 35. Luke 2:22
  • 36. 2 Kin 2:2, 4, 6; 2 Kings 4:30
  • 37. 1 Samuel 1:11-13; Psalms 6:9; Psalms 66:19, 20
  • 38. 1 Samuel 1:11, 22
  • 39. Genesis 24:26, 52

Footnotes 11

Chapter Summary



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.


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