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Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives. The name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh[a] of Armies in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to Yahweh, were there. When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he gave portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; but he gave a double portion to Hannah, for he loved Hannah, but Yahweh had shut up her womb. Her rival provoked her severely, to irritate her, because Yahweh had shut up her womb. So year by year, when she went up to Yahweh’s house, her rival provoked her. Therefore she wept, and didn’t eat. Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why don’t you eat? Why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah rose up after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of Yahweh’s temple. 10 She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to Yahweh, weeping bitterly. 11 She vowed a vow, and said, “Yahweh of Armies, if you will indeed look at the affliction of your servant and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a boy, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and no razor shall come on his head.”

12 As she continued praying before Yahweh, Eli saw her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Get rid of your wine!”

15 Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have not been drinking wine or strong drink, but I poured out my soul before Yahweh. 16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman; for I have been speaking out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation.”

17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; and may the God[b] of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.”

18 She said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate; and her facial expression wasn’t sad any more.

19 They rose up in the morning early and worshiped Yahweh, then returned and came to their house to Ramah. Then Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and Yahweh remembered her.

20 When the time had come, Hannah conceived, and bore a son; and she named him Samuel,[c] saying, “Because I have asked him of Yahweh.”

21 The man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer to Yahweh the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah didn’t go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before Yahweh, and stay there forever.”

23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems good to you. Wait until you have weaned him; only may Yahweh establish his word.”

So the woman waited and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, and one ephah[d] of meal, and a container of wine, and brought him to Yahweh’s house in Shiloh. The child was young. 25 They killed the bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 She said, “Oh, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to Yahweh. 27 I prayed for this child, and Yahweh has given me my petition which I asked of him. 28 Therefore I have also given him to Yahweh. As long as he lives he is given to Yahweh.” He worshiped Yahweh there.

Hannah prayed, and said:

“My heart exults in Yahweh!
    My horn is exalted in Yahweh.
My mouth is enlarged over my enemies,
    because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no one as holy as Yahweh,
    for there is no one besides you,
    nor is there any rock like our God.

“Don’t keep talking so exceedingly proudly.
    Don’t let arrogance come out of your mouth,
    for Yahweh is a God of knowledge.
    By him actions are weighed.

“The bows of the mighty men are broken.
    Those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread.
    Those who were hungry are satisfied.
Yes, the barren has borne seven.
    She who has many children languishes.

“Yahweh kills and makes alive.
    He brings down to Sheol[e] and brings up.
Yahweh makes poor and makes rich.
    He brings low, he also lifts up.
He raises up the poor out of the dust.
    He lifts up the needy from the dunghill
    to make them sit with princes
    and inherit the throne of glory.
For the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s.
    He has set the world on them.
He will keep the feet of his holy ones,
    but the wicked will be put to silence in darkness;
    for no man will prevail by strength.
10 Those who strive with Yahweh shall be broken to pieces.
    He will thunder against them in the sky.

“Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth.
    He will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

11 Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. The child served Yahweh before Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were wicked men. They didn’t know Yahweh. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when anyone offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant came while the meat was boiling, with a fork of three teeth in his hand; 14 and he stabbed it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot. The priest took all that the fork brought up for himself. They did this to all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh. 15 Yes, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat to roast for the priest; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but raw.”

16 If the man said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take as much as your soul desires;” then he would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 The sin of the young men was very great before Yahweh; for the men despised Yahweh’s offering. 18 But Samuel ministered before Yahweh, being a child, clothed with a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother made him a little robe, and brought it to him from year to year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, “May Yahweh give you offspring[f] from this woman for the petition which was asked of Yahweh.” Then they went to their own home. 21 Yahweh visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. The child Samuel grew before Yahweh.

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel, and how that they slept with the women who served at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 23 He said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; for it is not a good report that I hear! You make Yahweh’s people disobey. 25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him; but if a man sins against Yahweh, who will intercede for him?” Notwithstanding, they didn’t listen to the voice of their father, because Yahweh intended to kill them.

26 The child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Yahweh and also with men.

27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Yahweh says, ‘Did I reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? 28 Didn’t I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? Didn’t I give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at my sacrifice and at my offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honor your sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel my people?’ 30 “Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father should walk before me forever.’ But now Yahweh says, ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me will be cursed. 31 Behold,[g] the days come that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 You will see the affliction of my habitation, in all the wealth which I will give Israel. There shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The man of yours whom I don’t cut off from my altar will consume your eyes[h] and grieve your heart. All the increase of your house will die in the flower of their age. 34 This will be the sign to you that will come on your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they will both die. 35 I will raise up a faithful priest for myself who will do according to that which is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house. He will walk before my anointed forever. 36 It will happen that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and will say, “Please put me into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”

The child Samuel ministered to Yahweh before Eli. Yahweh’s word was rare in those days. There were not many visions, then. At that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (now his eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see), and God’s lamp hadn’t yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down in Yahweh’s temple where God’s ark was, Yahweh called Samuel. He said, “Here I am.”

He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”

He said, “I didn’t call. Lie down again.”

He went and lay down. Yahweh called yet again, “Samuel!”

Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”

He answered, “I didn’t call, my son. Lie down again.” Now Samuel didn’t yet know Yahweh, neither was Yahweh’s word yet revealed to him. Yahweh called Samuel again the third time. He arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”

Eli perceived that Yahweh had called the child. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down. It shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Yahweh; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Yahweh came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak; for your servant hears.”

11 Yahweh said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel at which both the ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even to the end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he didn’t restrain them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be removed with sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of Yahweh’s house. Samuel was afraid to show Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He said, “Here I am.”

17 He said, “What is the thing that he has spoken to you? Please don’t hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that he spoke to you.”

18 Samuel told him every bit, and hid nothing from him.

He said, “It is Yahweh. Let him do what seems good to him.”

19 Samuel grew, and Yahweh was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of Yahweh. 21 Yahweh appeared again in Shiloh; for Yahweh revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by Yahweh’s word. The word of Samuel came to all Israel.

Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. The Philistines put themselves in array against Israel. When they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. When the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has Yahweh defeated us today before the Philistines? Let’s get the ark of Yahweh’s covenant out of Shiloh and bring it to us, that it may come among us and save us out of the hand of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh, and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of Armies, who sits above the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. When the ark of Yahweh’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” They understood that Yahweh’s ark had come into the camp. The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” They said, “Woe to us! For there has not been such a thing before. Woe to us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods that struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and behave like men, O you Philistines, that you not be servants to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Strengthen yourselves like men, and fight!” 10 The Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and each man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter; for thirty thousand footmen of Israel fell. 11 God’s ark was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

12 A man of Benjamin ran out of the army and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for God’s ark. When the man came into the city and told about it, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, “What does the noise of this tumult mean?”

The man hurried, and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old. His eyes were set, so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am he who came out of the army, and I fled today out of the army.”

He said, “How did the matter go, my son?”

17 He who brought the news answered, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been also a great slaughter among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and God’s ark has been captured.”

18 When he made mention of God’s ark, Eli fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck broke, and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

19 His daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to giving birth. When she heard the news that God’s ark was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth; for her pains came on her. 20 About the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she didn’t answer, neither did she regard it. 21 She named the child Ichabod,[i] saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because God’s ark was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel; for God’s ark has been taken.”

Footnotes

  1. 1:3 “Yahweh” is God’s proper Name, sometimes rendered “LORD” (all caps) in other translations.
  2. 1:17 The Hebrew word rendered “God” is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim).
  3. 1:20 Samuel sounds like the Hebrew for “heard by God.”
  4. 1:24 1 ephah is about 22 liters or about 2/3 of a bushel
  5. 2:6 Sheol is the place of the dead.
  6. 2:20 or, seed
  7. 2:31 “Behold”, from “הִנֵּה”, means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
  8. 2:33 or, blind your eyes with tears
  9. 4:21 “Ichabod” means “no glory”.