1 Samuel 1-3Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Elkanah’s Family Worships at Shiloh
1 There was a man named Elkanah from the Zuph family who lived in Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. Elkanah was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph from the tribe of Ephraim.
2 Elkanah had two wives. One wife was named Hannah and the other wife was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.
3 Every year Elkanah left his town of Ramah and went up to Shiloh. He worshiped the Lord All-Powerful at Shiloh and offered sacrifices to the Lord there. Shiloh was where Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever Elkanah offered his sacrifices, he always gave one share of the food to his wife Peninnah and a share of the food to each of Peninnah’s children. 5 Elkanah always gave an equal share[a] of the food to Hannah. He did this because he loved her very much, even though the Lord had not let Hannah have any children.
Peninnah Upsets Hannah
6 Peninnah always upset Hannah and made her feel bad because the Lord had not made her able to have children. 7 This happened every year when their family went to the Lord’s house at Shiloh. Peninnah would upset Hannah so much that she would begin to cry and would not eat anything. One year when this happened, 8 her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won’t you eat? Why are you so sad? You have me. Isn’t that better than having even ten sons?”
9 After eating and drinking, Hannah quietly got up and went to pray to the Lord.[b] Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the door of the Lord’s Holy Building.[c] 10 Hannah was so sad that she cried the whole time she was praying to the Lord. 11 She made a special promise to God and said, “Lord All-Powerful, you can see how sad I am. Remember me. Don’t forget me. If you will give me a son, I will give him to you. He will be yours his whole life, and as a Nazirite, he will not drink wine or strong drink,[d] and no one will ever cut his hair.”
12 Hannah prayed to the Lord a long time. Eli was watching her mouth while she was praying. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart. Her lips were moving, but since she did not say the words out loud, Eli thought she was drunk. 14 He said to her, “You have had too much to drink. It is time to put away the wine.”
15 Hannah answered, “Sir, I have not drunk any wine or beer. I am deeply troubled, and I was telling the Lord about all my problems. 16 Don’t think I am a bad woman. I have been praying so long because I have so many troubles and am very sad.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the God of Israel give you what you asked for.”
18 Hannah said, “May you be happy with me.” Then she left and ate something. She was not sad anymore.
19 Early the next morning Elkanah’s family got up. They worshiped the Lord and then went back home to Ramah.
Elkanah had sexual relations with his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered Hannah. 20 By that time the following year, Hannah had become pregnant and had a son. She named him Samuel.[e] She said, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.”
21 Elkanah went to Shiloh to offer the sacrifice for that year and the gift he had promised to the Lord. He took his family with him. 22 But Hannah did not go. She told Elkanah, “When the boy is old enough to eat solid food, I will take him to Shiloh. Then I will give him to the Lord. He will become a Nazirite.[f] He will stay there at Shiloh.”
23 Hannah’s husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what you think is best. You may stay home until the boy is old enough to eat solid food. May the Lord do what you[g] have said.” So Hannah stayed at home to nurse her son until he was old enough to eat solid food.
Hannah Takes Samuel to Eli at Shiloh
24 When the boy was old enough to eat solid food, Hannah took him to the Lord’s house at Shiloh. She also took a bull that was three years old, 20 pounds[h] of flour, and a bottle of wine.
25 They went before the Lord. Elkanah killed the bull as a sacrifice to the Lord as he usually did.[i] Then Hannah gave the boy to Eli. 26 She said to him, “Pardon me, sir. I am the same woman who stood near you praying to the Lord. I promise that I am telling the truth. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer. He gave me this child. 28 And now I give this child to the Lord. He will serve[j] the Lord all his life.”
Then Hannah left the boy there[k] and worshiped the Lord.
Hannah Gives Thanks
2 Hannah said,
2 There is no holy God like the Lord.
3 Don’t continue bragging.
6 The Lord causes people to die,
9 He protects his holy people.
11 Elkanah and his family went home to Ramah, but the boy stayed in Shiloh and served the Lord under Eli the priest.
Eli’s Evil Sons
12 Eli’s sons were evil men who did not care about the Lord. 13 They did not care about how priests were supposed to treat people. Whenever someone brings a sacrifice, priests are supposed to put the meat in a pot of boiling water. Then their servant is supposed to get the three-pronged fork 14 and use it to get some meat out of the pot or kettle. The priest is supposed to take whatever his helper removes from the pot with the special fork. This is what the priests should have done for the Israelites who came to offer sacrifices at Shiloh. 15 But that is not what the sons of Eli did. Even before the fat was burned on the altar, their servant would go to the people offering sacrifices and say, “Give the priest some meat to roast. The priest won’t accept boiled meat from you.”
16 Maybe the man offering the sacrifice would say, “Burn the fat[q] first, and then you can take whatever you want.” But the servant would answer: “No, give me the meat now. If you don’t give it to me, I’ll take it from you!”
17 In this way Hophni and Phinehas showed that they did not respect the offerings made to the Lord. This was a terrible sin against the Lord.
18 But Samuel served the Lord. He was a helper who wore the linen ephod. 19 Every year Samuel’s mother made a robe for Samuel. She took the little robe to Samuel when she went up to Shiloh with her husband for the sacrifice every year.
20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. He would say, “May the Lord give you more children through Hannah who will take the place of the boy she prayed for and gave to the Lord.”
Elkanah and Hannah went home. 21 The Lord was kind to Hannah, and she had three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the holy place near the Lord.
Eli Fails to Control His Evil Sons
22 Eli was very old. He heard about the bad things his sons were doing to the Israelites at Shiloh and how his sons were having sexual relations with the women who served at the door of the Meeting Tent.
23 Eli said to his sons, “The people here told me about the evil things you have done. Why are you doing such things? 24 Sons, stop that! The Lord’s people are saying bad things about you. 25 If you sin against other people, God might protect you. But who can help you if you sin against the Lord?”
Eli’s sons refused to listen to him, so the Lord decided to kill them.
26 The boy Samuel kept growing. He was pleasing to the Lord and to the people.
The Terrible Prophecy About Eli’s Family
27 A man of God came to Eli and said, “The Lord says, ‘I appeared to your ancestors[r] when they were slaves of Pharaoh. 28 From all the tribes of Israel, I chose your tribe to be my priests. I chose them to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and wear the ephod. I also let your tribe have the meat from the sacrifices that the Israelites give to me. 29 So why don’t you respect these gifts and sacrifices? You honor your sons more than me. You become fat eating the best parts of the meat that the Israelites bring to me.’
30 “The Lord, the God of Israel, promised that your father’s family would serve him forever. But now the Lord says, ‘That will never be! I will honor people who honor me, but bad things will happen to those who refuse to respect me. 31 The time is coming when I will destroy all your descendants. No one in your family will live to be an old man. 32 Good things will happen to Israel, but you will see bad things happening at home.[s] No one in your family will live to be an old man. 33 There is only one man I will save to serve as priest at my altar. He will live until his eyes wear out and his strength is gone. But all of your descendants will die by the sword.[t] 34 I will give you a sign to show that these things will come true. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day. 35 I will choose a priest I can trust. This priest will listen to me and do what I want. I will make his family strong, and he will always serve before my chosen king.[u] 36 Then whoever is left in your family will come and bow down before this priest and beg for a little money or a piece of bread. They will say, “Please give me a job as priest so that I can have some food to eat.”’”
God Calls Samuel
3 The boy Samuel was Eli’s helper and served the Lord with him. At that time the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.
2 Eli’s eyes were getting so weak that he was almost blind. One night he went to his room to go to bed. 3 The special lamp in the Lord’s temple[v] was still burning, so Samuel lay down in the temple near where the Holy Box was. 4 The Lord called Samuel, and Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 Samuel thought Eli was calling him, so he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”
So Samuel went back to bed. 6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” Again Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”
7 Samuel did not yet know the Lord because the Lord had not spoken directly to him before.[w]
8 The Lord called Samuel the third time. Again Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Finally, Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Eli told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.’”
So Samuel went back to bed. 10 The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before, saying, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.”
11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do things in Israel that will shock anyone who hears about them. 12 I will do everything I said I would do against Eli and his family, everything from the beginning to the end. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. I will do this because Eli knew his sons were saying and doing bad things against God. But he failed to control them. 14 That is why I swore an oath that sacrifices and offerings will never take away the sins of the people in Eli’s family.[x]”
15 Samuel lay down in bed until the morning came. He got up early and opened the doors of the Lord’s house. Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision.
16 But Eli said to Samuel, “Samuel, my son.”
Samuel answered, “Yes, sir.”
17 Eli asked, “What did God say to you? Don’t hide it from me. God will punish you if you hide anything from the message he spoke to you.”
18 So Samuel told Eli everything. He did not hide anything from him.
Eli said, “He is the Lord. Let him do whatever he thinks is right.”
19 The Lord was with Samuel while he grew up. He did not let any of Samuel’s messages prove false. 20 Then all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was a true prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord continued to appear to Samuel at Shiloh. There he told Samuel what he wanted.