The Birth of Samuel
1 1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite of the hill-country of Ephraim, named Elkanah; he was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite: 2 And he had two wives, one named Hannah and the other Peninnah: and Peninnah was the mother of children, but Hannah had no children. 3 Now this man went up from his town every year to give worship and to make offerings to the Lord of armies in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. 4 And when the day came for Elkanah to make his offering, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and daughters, their part of the feast: 5 But to Hannah he gave one part, though Hannah was very dear to him, but the Lord had not let her have children. 6 And the other wife did everything possible to make her unhappy, because the Lord had not let her have children; 7 And year by year, whenever she went up to the house of the Lord, she kept on attacking her, so that Hannah gave herself up to weeping and would take no food. 8 Then her husband Elkanah said to her, Hannah, why are you weeping? and why are you taking no food? why is your heart troubled? am I not more to you than ten sons?
9 So after they had taken food and wine in the guest room, Hannah got up. Now Eli the priest was seated by the pillars of the doorway of the Temple of the Lord. 10 And with grief in her soul, weeping bitterly, she made her prayer to the Lord. 11 And she made an oath, and said, O Lord of armies, if you will truly take note of the sorrow of your servant, not turning away from me but keeping me in mind, and will give me a man-child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut. 12 Now while she was a long time in prayer before the Lord, Eli was watching her mouth. 13 For Hannah's prayer came from her heart, and though her lips were moving she made no sound: so it seemed to Eli that she was overcome with wine. 14 And Eli said to her, How long are you going to be the worse for drink? Put away the effects of your wine from you. 15 And Hannah, answering him, said, No, my lord, I am a woman whose spirit is broken with sorrow: I have not taken wine or strong drink, but I have been opening my heart before the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant to be a good-for-nothing woman: for my words have come from my stored-up sorrow and pain. 17 Then Eli said to her, Go in peace: and may the God of Israel give you an answer to the prayer you have made to him. 18 And she said, May your servant have grace in your eyes. So the woman went away, and took part in the feast, and her face was no longer sad.
19 And early in the morning they got up, and after worshipping before the Lord they went back to Ramah, to their house: and Elkanah had connection with his wife; and the Lord kept her in mind. 20 Now the time came when Hannah, being with child, gave birth to a son; and she gave him the name Samuel, Because, she said, I made a prayer to the Lord for him. 21 And the man Elkanah with all his family went up to make the year's offering to the Lord, and to give effect to his oath. 22 But Hannah did not go, for she said to her husband, I will not go till the child has been taken from the breast, and then I will take him with me and put him before the Lord, where he may be for ever. 23 And her husband Elkanah said to her, Do whatever seems right to you, but not till you have taken him from the breast; only may the Lord do as he has said. So the woman, waiting there, gave her son milk till he was old enough to be taken from the breast. 24 Then when she had done so, she took him with her, with a three-year old ox and an ephah of meal and a skin full of wine, and took him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh: now the child was still very young. 25 And when they had made an offering of the ox, they took the child to Eli. 26 And she said, O my lord, as your soul is living, my lord, I am that woman who was making a prayer to the Lord here by your side: 27 My prayer was for this child; and the Lord has given him to me in answer to my request: 28 So I have given him to the Lord; for all his life he is the Lord's. Then he gave the Lord worship there.
The Song of Hannah
2 1 And Hannah, in prayer before the Lord, said, My heart is glad in the Lord, my horn is lifted up in the Lord: my mouth is open wide over my haters; because my joy is in your salvation. 2 No other is holy as the Lord, for there is no other God but you: there is no Rock like our God. 3 Say no more words of pride; let not uncontrolled sayings come out of your mouths: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, by him acts are judged. 4 The bows of the men of war are broken, and the feeble are clothed with strength. 5 Those who were full are offering themselves as servants for bread; those who were in need are at rest; truly, she who had no children has become the mother of seven; and she who had a family is wasted with sorrow. 6 The Lord is the giver of death and life: sending men down to the underworld and lifting them up. 7 The Lord gives wealth and takes a man's goods from him: crushing men down and again lifting them up; 8 Lifting the poor out of the dust, and him who is in need out of the lowest place, to give them their place among rulers, and for their heritage the seat of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's and he has made them the base of the world. 9 He will keep the feet of his holy ones, but the evil-doers will come to their end in the dark night, for by strength no man will overcome. 10 Those who make war against the Lord will be broken; against them he will send his thunder from heaven: the Lord will be judge of the ends of the earth, he will give strength to his king, lifting up the horn of him on whom the holy oil has been put.
11 Then Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child became the servant of the Lord under the direction of Eli the priest.
The Sins of Eli's Sons
12 Now the sons of Eli were evil and good-for-nothing men, having no knowledge of the Lord. 13 And the priests' way with the people was this: when any man made an offering, the priest's servant came while the flesh was being cooked, having in his hand a meat-hook with three teeth; 14 This he put into the pot, and everything which came up on the hook the priest took for himself. This they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 And more than this, before the fat was burned, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who was making the offering, Give me some of the flesh to be cooked for the priest; he has no taste for meat cooked in water, but would have you give it uncooked. 16 And if the man said to him, First let the fat be burned, then take as much as you will; then the servant would say, No, you are to give it to me now, or I will take it by force. 17 And the sin of these young men was very great before the Lord; for they gave no honour to the Lord's offerings. 18 But Samuel did the work of the Lord's house, while he was a child, dressed in a linen ephod. 19 And his mother made him a little robe and took it to him every year when she came with her husband for the year's offering. 20 And every year Eli gave Elkanah and his wife a blessing, saying, May the Lord give you offspring by this woman in exchange for the child you have given to the Lord. And they went back to their house. 21 And the Lord had mercy on Hannah and she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the young Samuel became older before the Lord. 22 Now Eli was very old; and he had news from time to time of what his sons were doing to all Israel. 23 And he said to them, Why are you doing such things? for from all this people I get accounts of your evil ways. 24 No, my sons, the account which is given me, which the Lord's people are sending about, is not good. 25 If one man does wrong to another, God will be his judge: but if a man's sin is against the Lord, who will take up his cause? But they gave no attention to the voice of their father, for it was the Lord's purpose to send destruction on them. 26 And the young Samuel, becoming older, had the approval of the Lord and of men.
27 And a man of God came to Eli and said to him, The Lord says, Did I let myself be seen by your father's people when they were in Egypt, servants in Pharaoh's house? 28 Did I take him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest and to go up to my altar to make the smoke of the offerings go up and to take up the ephod? Did I give to your father's family all the offerings made by fire by the children of Israel? 29 Why then are you looking with envy on my offerings of meat and of meal which were ordered by my word, honouring your sons before me, and making yourselves fat with all the best of the offerings of Israel, my people? 30 For this reason the Lord God of Israel has said, Truly I did say that your family and your father's people would have their place before me for ever: but now the Lord says, Let it not be so; I will give honour to those by whom I am honoured, and those who have no respect for me will be of small value in my eyes. 31 See, the days are coming when your arm and the arm of your father's people will be cut off; 32 And never again will there be an old man in your family. 33 But one man of your family will not be cut off by my hand, and his eyes will be made dark, and grief will be in his heart: and all the offspring of your family will come to their end by the sword of men. 34 And this will be the sign to you, which will come on Hophni and Phinehas, your sons; death will overtake them on the same day. 35 And I will make a true priest for myself, one who will do what is in my heart and in my mind: and I will make for him a family which will not come to an end; and his place will be before my holy one for ever. 36 Then it will be that the rest of your family, anyone who has not been cut off, will go down on his knees to him for a bit of silver or a bit of bread, and say, Be pleased to put me into one of the priest's places so that I may have a little food.
The LORD Calls Samuel
3 1 Now the young Samuel was the servant of the Lord before Eli. In those days the Lord kept his word secret from men; there was no open vision. 2 And at that time, when Eli was resting in his place, (now his eyes were becoming clouded so that he was not able to see,) 3 And the light of God was still burning, while Samuel was sleeping in the Temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 The voice of the Lord said Samuel's name; and he said, Here am I. 5 And running to Eli he said, Here am I, for you said my name. And Eli said, I did not say your name; go to your rest again. So he went back to his bed. 6 And again the Lord said, Samuel. And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, Here am I; for you certainly said my name. But he said in answer, I said nothing, my son; go to your rest again. 7 Now at that time Samuel had no knowledge of the Lord, and the revelation of the word of the Lord had not come to him. 8 And for the third time the Lord said Samuel's name. And he got up and went to Eli and said, Here am I; for you certainly said my name. Then it was clear to Eli that the voice which had said the child's name was the Lord's. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, Go back: and if the voice comes again, let your answer be, Say on, Lord; for the ears of your servant are open. So Samuel went back to his bed. 10 Then the Lord came and said as before, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel made answer, Say on, Lord; for the ears of your servant are open.
11 And the Lord said to Samuel, See, I will do a thing in Israel at which the ears of everyone hearing of it will be burning. 12 In that day I will do to Eli everything which I have said about his family, from first to last. 13 And you are to say to him that I will send punishment on his family for ever, for the sin which he had knowledge of; because his sons have been cursing God and he had no control over them. 14 So I have made an oath to the family of Eli that no offering of meat or of meal which they may make will ever take away the sin of his family. 15 And Samuel kept where he was, not moving till the time came for opening the doors of the house of God in the morning. And fear kept him from giving Eli an account of his vision. 16 Then Eli said, Samuel, my son. And Samuel answering said, Here am I. 17 And he said, What did the Lord say to you? Do not keep it from me: may God's punishment be on you if you keep from me anything he said to you. 18 Then Samuel gave him an account of everything, keeping nothing back. And he said, It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.
19 And Samuel became older, and the Lord was with him and let not one of his words be without effect. 20 And it was clear to all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba that Samuel had been made a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord was seen again in Shiloh; for the Lord gave to Samuel in Shiloh the revelation of his word.