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1 Samuel 1-3Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Samuel’s Birth and Dedication

There was a certain man of Ramatha′im-zo′phim of the hill country of E′phraim, whose name was Elka′nah the son of Jero′ham, son of Eli′hu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an E′phraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Penin′nah. And Penin′nah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh,[a] where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phin′ehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elka′nah sacrificed, he would give portions to Penin′nah his wife and to all her sons and daughters; and, although[b] he loved Hannah, he would give Hannah only one portion, because the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elka′nah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman sorely troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your maidservant as a base woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her countenance was no longer sad.

19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elka′nah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her; 20 and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”

21 And the man Elka′nah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and abide there for ever.” 23 Elka′nah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,[c] an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine; and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25 Then they slew the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

And they[d] worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah’s Prayer

Hannah also prayed and said,[e]

“My heart exults in the Lord;
    my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
    because I rejoice in thy salvation.

“There is none holy like the Lord,
    there is none besides thee;
    there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
    let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
    and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
    but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
    but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
    but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
    and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
    and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones;
    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
    for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
    against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
    he will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the power of his anointed.”

Eli’s Wicked Sons

11 Then Elka′nah went home to Ramah. And the boy ministered to the Lord, in the presence of Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself.[f] So they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

The Child Samuel at Shiloh

18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy girded with a linen ephod.[g] 19 And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elka′nah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you children by this woman for the loan which she lent to[h] the Lord”; so then they would return to their home.

21 And the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.

Prophecy against Eli’s Household

22 Now Eli was very old, and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If a man sins against a man, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to slay them.

26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.

27 And there came a man of God to Eli, and said to him, “Thus the Lord has said, ‘I revealed[i] myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh. 28 And I chose 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; and I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29 Why then look with greedy eye at[j] my sacrifices and my offerings which I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves upon the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ 30 Therefore the Lord the God of Israel declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me for ever’; but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming, when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity which shall be bestowed upon Israel; and there shall not be an old man in your house for ever. 33 The man of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his[k] eyes and grieve his[l] heart; and all the increase of your house shall die by the sword of men.[m] 34 And this which shall befall your two sons, Hophni and Phin′ehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind; and I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed for ever. 36 And every one who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and shall say, “Put me, I pray you, in one of the priest’s places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”

Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity

[n]Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down within the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!”[o] and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the Lord came and stood forth, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for thy servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel, at which the two ears of every one that hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I tell him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God,[p] and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering for ever.”

15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 1.3 Shiloh: At this time, the central sanctuary of the tribes and the residence of the ark, the visible assurance of the presence of Yahweh, Lord of the hosts of Israel.
  2. 1 Samuel 1:5 Gk: Heb obscure
  3. 1 Samuel 1:24 Gk Syr: Heb three bulls
  4. 1 Samuel 1:28 Heb he
  5. 2.1-10 This song, though certainly touched up at a later period (e.g., the reference to a king in verse 10), is meant to express Hannah’s sentiments. It has profoundly influenced the Magnificat.
  6. 1 Samuel 2:14 Gk Syr Vg: Heb with it
  7. 2.18 ephod: The ephod was either a distinctive priestly garment as here, or a means of divination used by the priest, possibly a container for the sacred lots; cf. 2.28.
  8. 1 Samuel 2:20 Or for the petition which she asked of
  9. 1 Samuel 2:27 Gk Tg: Heb Did I reveal
  10. 1 Samuel 2:29 Or treat with scorn Gk: Heb kick at
  11. 1 Samuel 2:33 Gk: Heb your
  12. 1 Samuel 2:33 Gk: Heb your
  13. 1 Samuel 2:33 Gk: Heb die as men
  14. 3.1 This account of the prophetic vocation of Samuel (cf. Is 6) is meant to begin a new chapter in the spiritual history of Israel.
  15. 1 Samuel 3:4 Gk See 3.10: Heb the Lord called Samuel
  16. 1 Samuel 3:13 Another reading is for themselves
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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