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Elkanah’s Family Worships at Shiloh

1 There was a man named Elkanah from Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. Elkanah was from the Zuph* family. Elkanah was the son of Jeroham.* Jeroham was Elihu’s son. Elihu* was Tohu’s son. Tohu* was the son of Zuph, from the family group of Ephraim. 2Elkanah had two wives. One wife was named Hannah and the other wife was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not. 3Every year Elkanah left his town of Ramah and went up to Shiloh. Elkanah worshiped the Lord All-Powerful at Shiloh and offered sacrifices* to the Lord there. Shiloh was where Hophni and Phinehas served as priests of the Lord. Hophni and Phinehas were the sons of Eli. 4Every time Elkanah offered his sacrifices, he always gave one share of the food to his wife Peninnah. Elkanah also gave shares of the food to Peninnah’s children. 5Elkanah always gave an equal share* of the food to Hannah. Elkanah did this even though the Lord had not let Hannah have any children. Elkanah did this because Hannah was the wife he really loved.

Peninnah Upsets Hannah

6Peninnah always upset Hannah and made her feel bad. Peninnah did this because Hannah was not able to have children. 7The same thing happened every year. Every time their family went to the Lord’s house at Shiloh, Peninnah made Hannah upset. One day Elkanah was giving sacrifices.* Hannah became upset and began to cry. Hannah would not eat anything. 8Her husband, Elkanah, said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won’t you eat? Why are you sad? You have me—I am your husband. You should think I am better than ten sons.”

Hannah’s Prayer

9After eating and drinking, Hannah quietly got up and went to pray to the Lord. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the door of the Lord’s Holy Building.* 10Hannah was very sad. She cried very much while she prayed to the Lord. 11She made a special promise to God. She said, “Lord All- Powerful, see how very sad I am. Remember me! Don’t forget me. If you will give me a son, then I will give him to you. He will be a Nazirite: He will not drink wine or strong drink.* And no one will ever cut his hair.*” 12Hannah prayed to the Lord a long time. Eli was watching Hannah’s mouth while she was praying. 13Hannah was praying in her heart. Her lips were moving, but she did not say the words out loud. So Eli thought Hannah was drunk. 14Eli said to Hannah, “You have had too much to drink! It is time to put away the wine.” 15Hannah answered, “Sir, I have not drunk any wine or beer. I am deeply troubled. I was telling the Lord about all my problems. 16Don’t think I am a bad woman. I have been praying so long because I have so many troubles and I am very sad.” 17Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the God of Israel give you the things you asked.” 18Hannah said, “I hope you are happy with me.” Then Hannah left and ate something. She was not sad any more. 19Early the next morning Elkanah’s family got up. They worshiped the Lord and then went back home to Ramah.

Samuel’s Birth

Elkanah had sexual relations with his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered Hannah. 20By that time the following year, Hannah had become pregnant and had a son. Hannah named her son Samuel.* She said, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.” 21That year Elkanah went {to Shiloh} to offer sacrifices and to keep the promises he made to God. He took his family with him. 22But 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.* He will stay there at Shiloh. 23Hannah’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 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

24When the boy was old enough to eat solid food, Hannah took him to the Lord’s house at Shiloh. Hannah also took a bull that was three years old, 20 pounds* of flour, and a bottle of wine. 25They went before the Lord. Elkanah killed the bull as a sacrifice to the Lord like he usually did.* Then Hannah gave the boy to Eli. 26Hannah said to Eli, “Pardon me, sir. I am the same woman that stood near you praying to the Lord. I promise that I am telling the truth. 27I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer. The Lord gave me this child. 28And now I give this child to the Lord. He will serve* the Lord all his life.” Then Hannah left the boy there* and worshiped the Lord.

Zuph A family of Levites. See 1 Chron. 6:33-38. Jeroham, Elihu, Tohu Or, “Jerahmeel, Eliel, Toah.” sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar. equal share Or, “double share.” Holy Building This could mean the Holy Tent at Shiloh where people went to worship the Lord or a larger area where they put the Holy Tent. He will ... not drink This is in the ancient Greek translation and one of the ancient Hebrew scrolls from Qumran, but not in the standard Hebrew text. He will … hair Nazirites were people who made a promise to serve God in a special way. They did not cut their hair and they did not eat grapes or drink wine. See Num. 6:5. Samuel This name means “His name is El (God).” But in Hebrew it is like the word “ask” or the name “Saul.” There are many places in 1 Samuel where there are word plays with the names Saul and Samuel and the word “ask.” Nazirite A person who has made a special promise to God. This name is from the Hebrew word meaning “to separate from.” He will become a Nazirite This is not in the standard Hebrew text, but it is in the ancient Greek translation and in one of the Hebrew scrolls from Qumran. 20 pounds Literally, “an Ephah.” They went … he usually did This is from the ancient Greek translation and one of the ancient Hebrew scrolls from Qumran. It is not in the standard Hebrew text. serve Or, “belong to.” left the boy there This is from one of the ancient Hebrew scrolls from Qumran. It is not in the standard Hebrew text.

Hannah Gives Thanks

2 Hannah said: “My heart is happy in the Lord! I feel very strong* in my God! I laugh at my enemies.* I am very happy in my victory! 2There is no Holy God like the Lord. There is no God but you! There is no Rock* like our God. 3Don’t continue bragging! Don’t speak proud words! Why? Because the Lord God knows everything, God leads and judges people. 4The bows of strong soldiers break! And weak people become strong! 5People who had plenty of food in the past must now work to get food. But people who were hungry in the past now grow fat on food! The woman who was not able to have children now has seven children! But the woman who had many children is sad because her children are gone. 6The Lord causes people to die, and he causes them to live. The Lord sends people down to the grave,* and he can raise them up {to live again}. 7The Lord makes some people poor, and he makes other people rich. The Lord humbles some people, and he honors other people. 8The Lord raises poor people from the dust. He takes away their sadness.* The Lord makes poor people important. He seats them with princes and at the places for honored guests. The Lord made the whole world! And the whole world belongs to him!* 9The Lord protects his holy people. He keeps them from stumbling. But bad people will be destroyed. They will fall in the darkness. Their power will not help them win. 10The Lord destroys his enemies. God Most-High will thunder in heaven against people. The Lord will judge even the faraway lands. He will give power to his king. He will make his special king strong.” 11Elkanah {and his family} went home to Ramah. The boy stayed in Shiloh and served the Lord under Eli the priest.

Eli’s Evil Sons

12Eli’s sons were bad men. They did not care about the Lord. 13They did not care about how priests were supposed to treat people. This is what priests should do for people: Each time a person brings a sacrifice, the priests should put the meat in a pot of boiling water. Then the priest’s servant should get the special fork that has three points. 14The priest’s servant should use that fork to get some meat out of the pot or kettle. The priest should get only whatever meat the servant removes from the pot with the fork. That is what the priests should have done for all the Israelites who came {to offer sacrifices} at Shiloh. 15{But Eli’s sons did not do that}. Even before the fat was burned on the altar, their servant would go to the people offering sacrifices. The priest’s servant would say, “Give the priest some meat to roast. The priest won’t accept boiled meat from you.” 16Maybe the man offering the sacrifice would say, “Burn the fat* first, and then you can take anything you want.” Then the priest’s servant would answer: “No, give me the meat now. If you don’t give it to me, I’ll take it from you!” 17In this way, Hophni and Phinehas showed that they did not respect the offerings made to the Lord. This was a very bad sin against the Lord! 18But Samuel served the Lord. Samuel was a helper who wore the linen ephod.* 19Every year Samuel’s mother made a little robe for Samuel. She took the little robe to Samuel when she went up {to Shiloh} with her husband for the sacrifice every year. 20Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. Eli would say, “May the Lord give you more children through Hannah. These children will take the place of the boy Hannah prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Elkanah and Hannah went home and 21the Lord was kind to Hannah. She had three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up {at the holy place} near the Lord.

Eli Fails to Control His Evil Sons

22Eli was very old. He heard again and again about the things his sons were doing to all the Israelites at Shiloh. Eli also heard about his sons sleeping with the women who served at the door of the Meeting Tent. 23Eli said to his sons, “The people here told me about the bad things you have done. Why do you do these bad things? 24Sons, don’t do these bad things. The Lord’s people are saying bad things about you. 25If a person sins against another person, God may help him. But if a person sins against the Lord, then who can help that person?” But Eli’s sons refused to listen to Eli. So the Lord decided to kill Eli’s sons. 26The boy Samuel kept growing. He was pleasing to God and to the people.

The Terrible Prophecy about Eli’s Family

27A man of God* came to Eli and said, “The Lord says these things, ‘Your ancestors* were slaves of Pharaoh’s family. But I appeared to your ancestors at that time. 28I chose your family group from all the family groups of Israel. I chose your family group to be my priests. I chose them to offer sacrifices on my altar. I chose them to burn incense* and wear the ephod.* I also let your family group have the meat from the sacrifices that the people of Israel give to me. 29So why don’t you respect those sacrifices and gifts? You honor your sons more than me. You become fat on the best parts of the meat—and the people of Israel bring that meat to me.’ 30“The Lord God of Israel promised that your father’s family would serve him forever. But now the Lord says this, ‘That will never be! I will honor people who honor me. But bad things will happen to people who refuse to respect me. 31The time is coming when I will destroy all your descendants.* No one in your family will live to be an old man. 32Good things will happen to Israel, but you will see bad things happening at home.* No one in your family will live to be an old man. 33There is one man that I will save to serve {as priest} at my altar. {He will live to be very old.} He will live until his eyes wear out and his strength is gone. All of your descendants will die by the sword. 34I will give you a sign {to show these things will come true}. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day. 35I will choose a faithful priest for myself. This priest will listen to me and do what I want. I will make this priest’s family strong. He will always serve before my chosen king.* 36Then all the people who are left in your family will come and bow down before this priest. They will beg for a little money or a piece of bread. They will say, “Please give me a job as priest so I can have some food to eat.”’”

I feel very strong Literally, “In the Lord my horn is lifted high.” The horn is a symbol of strength. I laugh at my enemies Literally, “My mouth is wide open over my enemies.” Rock A name for God. It shows he is like a fortress or a strong place of safety. grave Or, “Sheol,” the place of death. takes away their sadness Literally, “He picks up poor people from the ashes.” The Lord made … belongs to him Literally, “The whole world, even to its foundations, belongs to the Lord. The Lord set the world on those pillars.” Burn the fat The fat was the part of the animal that belonged only to God. The priests were supposed to burn the fat on the altar as a gift to God. ephod A special coat a man wore to show that he was a priest or a priest’s helper. man of God A prophet, a person who spoke for God. ancestors Literally, “fathers house.” This means the people that a person is descended from. incense A kind of spice that smells good when it is burned. It was burned as a gift to God. ephod A special coat a man wore to show that he was a priest or a priest’s helper. descendants A person’s children and their future families. but you will see bad things happening at home This phrase is not in the ancient Greek translation or the Hebrew scrolls from Qumran. chosen king Literally, “anointed one.”

God Calls Samuel

3 The boy Samuel served the Lord under Eli. At that time, the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.* 2Eli’s eyes were so weak he was almost blind. One night he lay down in bed. 3Samuel lay in bed in the Lord’s Holy Building.* God’s Holy Box* was in that Holy Building. The Lord’s lamp was still burning. 4The Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5{Samuel thought Eli was calling him. So} Samuel ran to Eli. Samuel said to Eli, “Here I am. You called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” Samuel went back to bed. 6Again 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.” 7Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The Lord had not spoken directly to him yet.* 8The Lord called Samuel the third time. Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. Samuel said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Eli 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. 10The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before. He said, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.” 11The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do something in Israel. People who hear about it will be shocked. 12I will do everything I said I would do against Eli and his family. I will do everything from the beginning to the end. 13I told Eli I would punish his family forever. I will do that because Eli knew that his sons were saying and doing bad things against God but Eli failed to control them. 14That is why I swore (promised) that sacrifices and grain offerings will never take away the sins of the people in Eli’s family.” 15Samuel 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.* 16But Eli said to Samuel, “Samuel, my son!” Samuel answered, “Yes, sir.” 17Eli asked, “What did the Lord say to you? Don’t hide it from me. God will punish you if you hide anything from the message God spoke to you.” 18So Samuel told Eli everything. Samuel did not hide anything from Eli. Eli said, “He is the Lord. Let him do whatever he thinks is right.” 19The Lord was with Samuel while he grew up. The Lord did not let any of Samuel’s messages prove false. 20Then all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was a true prophet of the Lord. 21And the Lord continued to appear to Samuel at Shiloh. The Lord revealed himself to Samuel as the word of the Lord.*

visions Like dreams. God gave messages to his special people by letting them see and hear things in visions. Holy Building This could mean the Holy Tent at Shiloh where people went to worship the Lord, or a larger area where they put the Holy Tent. God’s Holy Box The Box of the Agreement. In this box were many things from the time Israel was in the Sinai desert.  The Lord had not spoken directly to him yet Literally, “The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” vision Like a dream. God gave messages to his special people by letting them see and hear things in visions. word of the Lord Sometimes this means simply, “a message from God.” But sometimes it seems that this was a special way or form that God used when he spoke with his prophets.

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