1Samuel 1

© 2005 by Gary Kukis. All rights reserved.

1Samuel 1:1–28

The Birth and Dedication of Samuel


Outline of Chapter 1:

 

       vv.    1–5        The religious rituals of Elkanah and his family

       vv.    6–8        Hannah’s Grief

       vv.    9–11      Hannah’s Vow

       vv.   12–18      Eli confirms Hannah’s vow

       vv.   19–20      Samuel is born to Hannah

       vv.   21–28      Hannah dedicates her son, Samuel, to the Tent of God all his life


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

       Introduction    An Alternate Outline

       Introduction    Clarke’s Summary of 1Sam. 1

       v.      1           The Line of Samuel the Prophet

       v.      2           A Few Points on Polygamy

       v.      2           There was a man named Elkanah...

       v.      2           Introverted Parallelism of 1Sam. 1:2

       v.      2           Formerly Barren Women

       v.      3           Scofield on the Title the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth)

       v.      3           Which Feast is Being Celebrated in 1Sam. 1?

       v.      5           Ancient Translations of 1Sam. 1:5a

       v.      5           Modern Translations of 1Sam. 1:5a

       v.      5           What Are People Saying about Hannah’s Portion of Meat?

       v.      9           Just How Bad Can a Commentary Be?

       v.     11           Similarities Between the Nazarites and Our Lord

       v.     11           Differences Between the Nazarites and Our Lord

       v.     16           The Less Literal Translations of 1Sam. 1:16a

       v.     19           Barren Women Who Have Prayed to God for a Child

       v.     22           The Arguments for and Against Samuel Being a Nazarite

       v.     24           How the Ancient Texts Disagree about 1Sam. 1:24

       v.     24           Specific Old Testament Offerings and Their Occasion of Use


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

Ancient Texts of the Old Testament

Women of the Old Testament—a Chart

The Goddess Ashtoreth

Feastday Chart

 

 

The Extermination of the Peoples of Canaan

Doctrine of Prayer

 

 

Comparative Chronology Chart

 


I ntroduction: 1Sam. 1 covers the genealogy and birth of Samuel. What we have here is his birth and background. His father is Elkahnah, a man with two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah was the wife that he loved, but she was barren. One of the most important background issues, which is never discussed in this chapter, is that these are Levites who are living as Ephraimites. Certainly, they were a mix from those two tribes, but Hannah has always felt a pang on conscience realizing that they have a spiritual destiny as well as a spiritual responsibility, and no one in their family seems to be aware of that. So, when she comes up barren, her first thought is their unfulfilled spiritual responsibilities. So, she asks God for a son, but then promises that she will give this son up to Him. The parallels here between Samuel and our Lord are enormous (we will cover that in 1Sam. 2). Once she has made her vow, she has a child, Samuel, and she will bring this child to the Tent of God, dedicates this child to Jehovah their God, and then leave him with Eli, the High Priest to Israel.


Most of this chapter is very easy to translate. Not only is it narrative, but it is very simple narrative. Unlike the book of Job or any of the psalms, where we examined the meaning and morphology of nearly every word, we will look at about every third word or so. When a sentence is so easy to translate, then there is little need to carefully interpret it and perhaps adjust the translation to fit more perfectly with the interpretation. For the most part, this is pretty straightforward. We generally find short thoughts and sentences interspersed with a large number of wâw conjunction’s or wâw consecutive’s. The verbs are common and often repeated through this chapter. Therefore, it is difficult to understand the glaring differences between the Septuagint (the early Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Massoretic text. For instance, in v. 11, the Septuagint adds that the future son of Hannah would drink no wine, a phrase not found in the Hebrew at all; the phrase with conceived is in v. 19 in the Septuagint and in v. 20 in the Hebrew (it is actually in a different place in the two texts); at the end of v. 20, we have Yehowah in the Hebrew, but Lord of the Sabbath in the Greek. In the latter case, that maybe by way of offering a translation of the unspoken Name of God. (to indicate that the text is Yehowah in the original rather than Lord). Footnote


in this chapter, we have two words or phrases introduced—this is the first time we have the title, Jehovah of the Armies, which is extensively used throughout Scripture from hereon in. Also, in this chapter of Samuel, when reference is made to the Tent of God, the word used is temple. Obviously, Solomon, who was not born yet, had not built a Temple to God yet. One might suggest that this usage implies a post-Solomon authorship; however, it implies just the opposite. Once Solomon built a Temple of Jehovah, then the use of the word temple referred to that specific structure and no one of his time period or later would have confused the Temple of Jehovah with the Tent of Jehovah. However, prior to the building of the Temple, this was a word used for more permanent structures, which, as we will see in v. 9, was reasonably applied to what the Tent of God had become.

 

On this topic, Keil and Delitzsch suggest: Originally, when the tabernacle was simply a tent, traveling with the people from place to place, it had only curtains at the entrance to the holy place and court. But when Israel had become possess of fixed houses in the land of Canaan, and the dwelling-place of God was permanently erected at Shiloh, instead of the tents that were pitched for priests and Levites, who encamped round about during the journey through the desert, there were erected fixed houses, which were built against or inside the court, and not only served as dwelling-places for the priests and Levites who were officiating, but were also used for the reception and custody of the gifts that were brought as offerings to the sanctuary. These buildings in all probability supplanted entirely the original tent-like enclosure around the court; so that instead of the curtains at the entrance, there were folding doors, which were shut in the evening an opened again in the morning. It is true that nothing is said about the erection of these buildings in our historical books, but the fact itself is not to be denied on that account. In the case of Solomon’s temple, notwithstanding the elaborate description that has been given of it, there is nothing said about the arrangement or erection of the buildings in the court; and yet here and there, principally in Jeremiah, the existence of such buildings is evidently assumed. Footnote There are some things which take place historically that those of that era, and even soon after, do not realize the significance of, and therefore make no mention of it in their writings. If you were to write down what happened to you in the past year or so, you might leave out a great many details of your culture that someone else, a century later, would have been more interested in. God had said nothing to the Israelites about changing any of the laws or the appearance of the Tabernacle or anything else. However, it will become clear in these next few chapters that, over the past several hundred years, such changes were made. Since these changes were not a part of God’s expressed will, there was really no reason to include specific references to these changes in Scripture.


One of the interesting things in this chapter is the sacrifice of Hannah, which she brings along with Samuel to the Tent of God. On the surface, it appears as those she grabbed a few things from around the house and offered them up. However, during the time that she was nursing, Hannah thought long and hard about what she should offer on this great occasion of the lifelong dedication of her only son Samuel.


On a personal note: when I began this chapter and saw how easy the Hebrew was by comparison to what I had been working on (Job and various psalms), I pretty much expected there to be a lot less by way of exegesis. First of all, I did not have to examine each and every Hebrew word, nor did I have to spend a great deal of time explaining what was actually going on or what the author was saying. However, despite this chapter’s lack of density, it still requires a great deal of time and explanation for what occurs. The author may be a relatively simple man (like Earnest Hemingway, for instance) and what he says seems to be both simple and simply put; however, this is misleading. In order for us to understand fully what is occurring here (and I mean more than a simple narrative explanation), we are going to have to fill in a lot of gaps. One of the things which has been all but ignored in other expositions of this passage is Hannah’s motivation, for what she offers in this chapter will seem, at least to most mothers, a bit extreme. Her genealogy will explain a great deal of her reasoning. Let me add that if you are reading through the Bible in a year, or you have this little Bible study group on the side and everyone shares how they feel about this passage, then you won’t get even a tenth of what is here. So, given the simplicity of the Hebrew and the straightforwardness of the text, we would expect the exegetical portion of this study to be minimal. However, just the opposite has been the case. I have spent as much time and effort in explaining each verse of this chapter as I have through the most difficult portions of the book of Job.


Now and again, in the beginning of a chapter, I make reference to a particular source with I use. Unlike Bob Thieme, who was my right pastor for many years, I depend heavily upon some commentaries as a resource (however, most of them are just so much tripe, as Bob will tell you). One of the great helps to me has been Keil and Delitzsch’s Commentary of the Old Testament. It is a ten volume set filled with excellent and mostly accurate commentary. On the weak side is it is particularly dense. If I was to read five or six pages of it in a row, I would certainly lose my concentration and lose track of what I was reading. Furthermore, I would lose a lot of the meat which is in this commentary. The second weakness of this commentary is that it assumes the reader knows Greek, Hebrew, Latin, German and English (at least for the English translation). However, Keil and Delitzsch make certain arguments and take certain stands which open up many passages to me. I type 2-3 hours per day when I study God’s Word. When perusing their commentary, it may take me a full typing period to get through 2 or 3 pages of their commentary. I might not get, in that 2 or 3 hours, more than a page worth of information. However, I find that information often invaluable to my understanding of the passages at hand. In fact, often I come upon a view point or an argument which I would have not considered had it not been for Keil and Delitzsch. Therefore, I recommend this commentary for serious exegetes of God’s Word. For those of you who find my exegesis too ponderous, you will find theirs even more so. Do not, under any circumstance, gloss over their footnotes. Their footnotes are filled with important information.


An outline is often something which is draped over a piece of writing in order to help us organize our thoughts and to get an overall view of what we are to read. This chapter can also be examined from the perspective of the various Feasts to God.

An Alternate Outline

I.     Introduction (vv. 1–3)

II.    What has transpired in previous Feasts of God (vv. 4–7).

III.   The grief of Hannah comes to a head during a particular unnamed feast (vv. 8–18).

IV.   Hannah’s prayer is answered. She sits out several feasts while nursing her son (vv. 19–23).

V.    Hannah goes to Shiloh to worship God and to give her son to Eli at the Tent of God. This does not necessarily occur during a feast day (vv. 24–28).

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Also, Clarke gives us an easy-to-follow summation of this chapter, which I will quote below:

Clarke’s Summary of 1Sam. 1

Some account of Elkanah and his two wives, Peninnah and Hannah (1Sam. 1:1–2). His annual worship at Shiloh and the portions he gave at such times to his wives (1Sam. 1:3-5). Hannah, being barren, is reproached by Peninnah, especially in their going up to Shiloh; at which she is sorely grieved (1Sam. 1:6–7). Elkanah comforts her (1Sam. 1:8). Her prayer and vow in the temple, that if God would give her a son, she would consecrate him to His service (1Sam. 1:9-11). Eli, the high priest, indistinctly hearing her pray, charges her with being drunk (1Sam. 1:12-14). Her defense of her conduct (1Sam. 1:15–16). Eli, undeceived, blesses her; on which she takes courage (1Sam. 1:17–18). Hannah and Elkanah return home; she conceives, bears a son, and calls him Samuel (1Sam. 1:19–20). Elkanah and his family go again to Shiloh to worship; but Hannah stays at home to nurse her child, purposing, as soon as he is weaned, to go and offer him to the Lord, according to her vow (1Sam. 1:21-23). When weaned, she takes him to Shiloh, presents hear child to Eli to be consecrated to the Lord, and offers three bullocks, an ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, for his consecration (1Sam. 1:24-28).*

* Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; from e-Sword, 1Sam. 1 Introduction.


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The Religious Rituals of Elkanah and His Family


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he was a man, one, from the Ramathaim-zophim from hill country of Ephraim and his name, Elkanah ben Jeroham ben Elihu ben Tohu ben Zuph, an Ephraimite.

1Samuel

1:1

There was a certain man, from the Ramathaim of the Zuphites from the hill country of Ephraim and his name [was] Elkanah ben Jeroham—son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

There was a certain man who lived in Ramathaim of the Zuphites in the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah ben Jeroham, who was a descendant of Elihu, a descendant of Tohu, a descendant of Zuph—an Ephraimite.


Author’s Note:

My formatting and approach to exegesis changed radically from the beginning of this book to the end. When I began this book, my Hebrew exegesis was mixed in with the explanation and discussion of each verse; and sometimes that meant that readers without any background whatsoever in Hebrew would literally plow through an explanation of each verse. Because of a remark made by a friend midway through this book, I began to put the Hebrew exegesis into tables, so that, one could skip over them easily enough; but one could also go back and examine this word or that phrase, if so moved. About three-fourths the way through this book, I began to organize my translations and more critically examine the Hebrew in the light of the other available translations. What I would like to do is, go back and redo the first dozen or so chapters of this book, so that the organization and formatting matches the end of this book. On the other hand, I don’t know if I can force myself to do that. Therefore, I do not know how far I will get with this reorganization or how fast I will proceed with it. Therefore, you may find, midway through this or some other chapter, that my approach appears to have degenerated somewhat. That simply means that I have not finished updating the early chapters of this book.


I began to exegete each and every word in a Hebrew table midway through 1Sam. 12; and I separated the translations into groups in 1Sam. 20. Having been convinced that this is the way to go, I will attempt to go back and correct this in the previous chapters of Samuel. In changing the format, you will find a little more Hebrew mentioned in the explanation of the verses in this and the next 10 chapters, than you will in 1Sam. 12–31. Once you get to 1Sam. 12, there will be very little mention of the Hebrew language apart from the exegesis, which will mostly be confined to the Hebrew exegesis tables.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts (quite obviously, this will be the English translation of the ancient texts):


At this point, I am going to begin to engage in a more systematic approach to textual criticism and examine the differences between the ancient texts. For this reason, it might be a good idea to examine Ancient Texts of the Old Testament. In that doctrine, there is a chart which gives us an idea as to the families of manuscripts. We might be quick to assume that the MT is correct because it is often in agreement with the Peshitta (Syriac) and the Vulgate (Latin). However, if you examine the chart, you can see that the Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate and the Masoretic text all stem from the same family of manuscripts and that the Septuagint comes from another group. Therefore, we should expect that much of the time, the LXX will be at odds with the other 3.

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he was a man, one, from the Ramathaim-zophim from hill country of Ephraim and his name, Elkanah ben Jeroham ben Elihu ben Tohu ben Zuph, an Ephraimite.

Septuagint                             There was a man of Armathaim Sipha, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Helkana, a son of Jeremeel the son of Elias the son of Thoke, in Namib Ephraim.

 

Significant differences:          Zuph is mentioned in the MT; somehow that was morphed in Namib in the LXX. As is often the case, whatever differences exist between the MT and the LXX are generally minor and affect no important doctrines (in fact, usually, there is no affect upon any doctrine, major or minor).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Elkanah lived in Ramah, a town in the hill country of Ephraim. His great-great-grandfather was Zuph, so Elkanah was a member of the Zuph clan of the Ephraim tribe. Elkanah’s father was Jeroham, his grandfather was Elihu, and his great-grandfather was Tohu.

TEV                                       There was a man named Elkanah, from the tribe of Ephraim, who lived in the town of Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham and grandson of Elihu, and belonged to the family of Tohu, a part of the clan of Zuph. I want you to understand how long I have come since beginning this exegesis of Scripture. When I began, I would have never thought of quoting the Good News Bible, because it is simplistic and a paraphrase. However, there are times when it more clearly states what is here, even though we do not find this in the original (I should add that the NLT is almost identical).


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        There was a man from Ramathaim of the Zuphites, in the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from 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.


With this chapter and book, I have decided to introduce Young’s Updated Literal Translation, which is not an official translation; in fact, it doesn’t even exist as of this time (although such a project should be attempted by someone). I have simply changed the archaic verbs like hath to has, giveth to gives; and simple words, such as: thy to your; ye to you [all], etc. Once and awhile I will replace an archaic verb or two, and sometimes I will rearrange the verse (although that kind of change will be minimal). Footnote My thinking here is that this will make it a more readable translation without sacrificing its painstaking accuracy.

 

Young's Updated LT              And there is a certain man of Ramathaim-Zophim, of the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name is Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite,...


What is the gist of this verse? We introduce Elkanah with the verse, and his genealogy and home are all noted.


This is the first book where I attempt to use this Hebrew exegesis chart (of my own design). I pretty much follow Owen’s Analytical Key to the Old Testament, making corrections where necessary and noting these corrections. Footnote I wish I could vouch for each and every entry; however, in rereading some of this, I have found a few places where I will indicate that there is a suffix, but there was none; or something along those lines. My literal translation should reflect word-for-word accuracy with the Hebrew text. If you note a discrepancy, I would really like to know about it, so that I can make the proper changes.


1Samuel 1:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

numeral

Strong's #259 BDB #25

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Râmâthayim Tsôwphîm (םי.פצ ם̣י-תָמָר) [pronounced raw-maw-THAH-yim tzoh-FEEM

heights of the Zophim; and is transliterated Ramathaim-Zophim

Proper singular noun; location

Strong’s #7414 & 7436 BDB #928


Translation: There was a certain man, from the Ramathaim of the Zuphites... We begin this verse with the wâw consecutive, as though we are picking up this book from elsewhere. The book of Ruth took place during the time of the judges, although we are hard-pressed to place it exactly (see the Introduction to the Book of Ruth for a full discussion of this). However, this book of 1Samuel picks up more or less where the book of the Judges left off—at least from a topical standpoint. The book of the Judges is not in chronological order, as the last couple incidents occurred early on in the history of the judges. However, it would be logical to go from the book of the Judges to here, stopping for a brief look back into the period of the judges at the book of Ruth. And so we begin with the book of Samuel (which is called I and 2Samuel in the English Bibles and I and 2Kings in the Greek Septuagint).


Then we have from the followed by the proper noun and gentilic adjective Ramathaim-Zophim, a designation found here and only here. I think that the rendering of the JPS gives us the better idea of what we have here: Ramathaim of the Zuphites. Ramathaim appears to be equivalent to Ramah of Benjamin, referred hereto for as the Ramah (which means the height). Although there are some very imaginative scholars who teach that Ramathaim of the Zuphites and the Ramah are different places, this makes little sense. Elkanah is said to be from Ramathaim of the Zuphites in this verse, and is said to have a home in Ramah in v. 19 and 1Sam. 2:11. Now, it is true that Ramathaim is a duel noun, which could mean that the city is built in two sections, or that it is build upon two hills (the Rabbis tell us that there were two watchtowers which looked toward one another). Whatever the reason (the two hills, two sections to the city, an old and new section perhaps), Ramathaim is two of something.


The only possible reason that one might try to distinguish Ramah from Ramathaim of Zophim is that Ramathaim is said to be in Ephraim and Ramah is said to be in Benjamin, so let’s discuss that: you may recall the absolutely vile thing which occurred in the book of the Judges when a Levite brought his concubine back through the territory of Benjamin and stopped for the night in Gibeah (they were going to stop in Gibeah or in Ramah). They were taken in by an old man who only worked in that city occasionally; suddenly, that night, the degenerate men of the city of Gibeah came to the home of this old man and demanded that the male Levite be sent out so that they could have forced homosexual relations with him. Although the old man refused, as a compromise, the old man and the Levite sent out the Levite’s concubine (or mistress), who was then raped continually by these men until she died. The rest of Israel was contacted concerning this deed and demanded the extradition of these degenerates for trial and certain execution. The tribe of Benjamin refused, which began a civil war. The civil war resulted in the tribe of Benjamin being almost wiped out (all this can be found in Judges 19–21). The problem with the Benjamites was not just the degeneracy of the men of one city, but the fact that the other Benjamites would shelter them from legitimate prosecution. One of the results of any war is the change of ownership of certain territories. Since Ephraim is the nearest territory to Benjamin, we would expect Ephraim to absorb at least the northern portion of Benjamin. That would include the city Ramah and the hill country that we are speaking about—and this explains why the same city is sometimes said to be a part of Ephraim and other times to be a part of Benjamin.


1Samuel 1:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

epherayim (ם̣י -רפ ∵א) [pronounced ef-RAH-yim]

transliterated Ephraim

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #669 BDB #68


Translation: ...from the hill country of Ephraim... There are a set of hills which begin in Ephraim, go through Benjamin and terminate in Judah. These are called the hill country of Judah and the hill country of Ephraim, depending upon whether we are looking at the northern or southern portion of this mountain range. In Joshua 17:17, the northern portion of this mountain range was given to Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph. They were told to clear it of forest and of Canaanites and to occupy it. Part of that was also given over to the tribe of Benjamin, who likely lost it by their aforementioned degenerate behavior. My point in all of this is that Ephraim, during the time of the judges, took possession of most of Benjamin, which included the city of Ramah (Joshua 18:25). They possibly renamed it Ramathaim, which could be reasonably interpreted as Ramah of Ephraim. Same city; new owners.


ZPEB treats these as different cities, although it is most likely that they are identical. Footnote Ramathaim of the Zuphites is simply called Ramah in 1Sam. 1:19 and 2:11. Keil and Delitzsch Footnote assume that Benjamin still occupies this area and that Ramathaim-zophim is in the hill country of Ephraim, which extends into the territory of Benjamin. I believe the territories to be less static, but, in any case, there is no contradiction here; we simply do not know if the tribe of Benjamin controlled this area at this time or not. I don’t think that they did; Keil and Delitzsch seem to think that they did. Footnote For me, the fact that Elkanah is called an Ephraimite settles the matter. Footnote The long name for the city is given here, along with its location. Once it has been has been established, the shorter name, Ramah, will be used throughout the first book of Samuel.


Let me give you one more reason why the Ramah that we are speaking of was in Benjamin, but is spoken of as being in the hill country of Ephraim. Early, in the time of the judges, the last few chapters of the book of Judges occurred. I covered this in great detail in the introduction and in the exegesis of this book. The judge Deborah used to set up her headquarters to judge between Bethel and Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. Bethel and Ramah were both countries belonging to Benjamin (Joshua 18:21–25), yet they are spoken of as being in the hill country of Ephraim Judges 4:5. The easiest explanation is the one which I have given you: Benjamin was nearly completely wiped out as a nation because of their behavior in Judges 19–20; Ephraim, being directly north of Benjamin, would have absorbed, at the minimum, the northernmost cities, which would have included Bethel and Ramah. Footnote Now, if you look in the back of your Bible or in a small atlas to find Ramah, you will note that Ramah is probably not even placed on the map. That is because its location is strongly disputed. Being called a part of two different territories is why—but, as you see, the explanation is simple: sometimes Ephraim controlled it and sometimes Benjamin controlled it. An alternate explanation would be, even though Ramah (Ramathaim) is in Benjamin, it is in the hills of Ephraim (which run through the middle of Benjamin and become the hills of Judah on the other side of Benjamin). Because it looked as though the tribe of Benjamin might be wiped out completely, these hills were always known as the hills of Ephraim in the north and the hills of Judah in the south, even though between them, the hills are in Benjamin.


Now, perhaps, you might understand why we have spent so much time in passages which you had deemed worthless. We went through the cities of Israel near the end of the book of Joshua—a second area of Scripture which you might have thought to be as dull as any genealogy around—and those chapters helped us to put it altogether. This travelogue combined with the history of Judges 19–21 tells us (1) why two cities of Benjamin are said to be in the hill country of Ephraim and, (2) why someone who lives in these cities is called an Ephraimite. What is God telling us? God is telling us that in His Word, all the pieces of the puzzle are there. He did not leave out any vital details or information which we need to know.


1Samuel 1:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Eleqânâh (הָנָקל∵א) [pronounced ele-kaw-NAW]

God has created or God has taken possession of; it is transliterated Elkanah

Masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #511 BDB #46


Translation: ...and his name [was] Elkanah... Elkanah means God has created or God has taken possession of.


1Samuel 1:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yerôchâm (םָחֹרי) [pronounced ye-roh-SHAWM]

may he be compassionate; and is transliterated Jeroham

Masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3395 BDB #934

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Tochûw (חֹ) [pronounced TOH-khoo]

transliterated Tohu

Masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8459 BDB #1063

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

tsûwph (ףצ) [pronounce tzoof]

honeycomb; and is transliterated Zuph

Proper singular masculine noun

Strong’s #6689 BDB #847

epherâthîy (י .תָרפ∵א) [pronounced ef-raw-THEE]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful and is transliterated Ephrathite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #673 BDB #68


Samuel and his family are descended from Levites

Translation: ...ben Jeroham—son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. You will recall from the verse above, that the line of Ephraim to Samuel goes through Zuph. We really know little or nothing about Zuph, apart from his name, which means honeycomb. His family primarily settled Ramah, so it is therefore called Ramathaim of the Zuphites. Elkanah (the father of Samuel) is represented here as being a Ephraimite. In 1Sam. 6:22–26 and 33–35, Zuph is called a Levite from the family of Kohath (he is called Zophar in I Chron. 6:26 and Zuph or Ziph in I Chron. 6:35. And the land around there will later be called the Land of Zuph (1Sam. 9:5). So, what’s the deal? Why is any of this important? This is important because Samuel and his family are descended from Levites, according to I Chron. 6, and from Ephraimites according to this verse. Huh? you comment. The Levites had a tendency to wander about, particularly when they were without a job or function, and they hooked up with other tribes providing a variety of functions (we find this in Judges 17, 19, where we have two different Levites living in the country of Ephraim, essentially to find work). So did some Levites intermarry with the Ephraimites? There is no reason to assume that they did not (the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19 was from Judah). The most reasonable explanation is that Zuph is the product of a mixed marriage between Ephraimites and Levites. At the beginning of this chapter, Elkanah and family are living like Ephraimites and not participating in any way in their Levitical heritage and responsibilities, which bothers at least Hannah. Samuel will assume the Levitical responsibilities of the family, and therefore, when a genealogy looks at Samuel, they see a Levite, because (1) he is descended from the Levites; and, (2) he acted like a Levite, accepting his Levitical responsibilities. Elkanah, his father, is called an Ephraimite because (1) he is descended from the Ephraim, and, (2) he behaved like an Ephraimite, doing nothing which directly related to his spiritual heritage as a Levite. (3) Furthermore, there is already a precedent for calling a Levite by the name of another tribe, depending upon where he lived or who he was related to (Judges 17:7). In other words, what we have here is not complex nor is it some sort of contradiction.


Did you know that practically no one studies the first nine chapters of Chronicles? Why? Because it is all genealogies. People wonder if the Bible is the Word of God, why include all these friggin’ genealogies. It’s simple. This provides us a great deal of background for the tribal mixtures which took place and allows us some parallel passages which we can use to hang our hats, so to speak. It is the background found in this passage compared to the information found in I Chron. 6 which helps to explain the behavior of Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. I must admit that when I began to think about working on the first few chapters of Chronicles, I dreaded it, because it was name after name after name. Then there was the problem of, how do we make the lines in Chronicles jive with the lines mentioned elsewhere? Although there were certain difficulties, most of them having to do with spelling, Chronicles 1–9 gives us a marvelous background for the Bible, taking us all the way from the creation of Adam to the dispersion of Israel. I believe only the book of John has a wider scope.


If you will notice, Ramah is called Aramathaim in the Greek. By the time we get to New Testament times, this is shortened to Arimathea, and we find it in connection with a certain Joseph who provided the tomb in which our Lord’s body would lay (Matt. 27:57–60). Given the close proximity of Ramah (later Arimathea) and Jebus (later Jerusalem), it would not be unusual for a business man to make his way from the smaller Arimathea into Jerusalem to conduct a great deal of his business. That he would purchase a tomb in the city of Jerusalem is also reasonable. Footnote

 

Ramah is further identified with the hill country of Ephraim. The first word is the masculine singular of har (ר ַה) [pronounced har], which means hill, mountain, hill-country. It can be used to mean mountain when used in connection with a specific proper noun; here, it simply refers to the hill country. Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249. As mentioned, there is a mountain range which runs along the west side of the Jordan, which extends all the way from Northern Dan past the Sea of Galilee (in fact it continues north from there) all the way along the west side of the Salt Sea, diverging slightly to the west about half way down the Salt Sea (there is another shorter and lower mountain range which picks up along the coast of the Salt Sea and continues down past the Gulf of Aqaba. These mountain ranges are not organized, not very prominent, and often meander off into high plains. Given this lack of structure and prominence, I don’t even know that this mountain range has a name. Depending upon where we are, it is simply known as the hill country of Judah or of Ephraim or of Galilee.


The line of ascent looks like this: Ephraim –› Zuph –› Tohu –› Elihu –› Jeroham –› Elkanah. In between each pair of names, we have a son of (which is ben in the Hebrew). In I Chron. 6, we have the line of the Levi, the brother of Ephraim. More specifically, we are dealing with the line of Kohath, one of Levi’s three sons. Footnote However, we are told clearly that Samuel comes from a family of Ephraimites. Again, some of the tribe of Kohath wandered into Ephraim looking for work and intermarried, confusing their spiritual purpose, a fact which was apparent to some of the descendants of Zuph.


Since we have the line of Samuel given elsewhere, we should examine that line:

The Line of Samuel the Prophet

1Sam. 1:1–2, 19–20 8:2 1Chron. 15:17

In order to properly place this line of Levi in time, we need to move ahead prematurely to the line of Samuel. Samuel is mentioned twice in this chapter and what we need to determine is whether this is Samuel the judge/prophet/priest. You will note that the line of Samuel is remarkably similar to in both cases, and that there is, at most, a slight problem with the spelling of two names. There are several implications of this: (1) the line of Kohath is a fairly complete line. We have 21 generations from Jacob (Israel) to Samuel, which would cover a period of roughly 800 years. Whereas, this is by no means

1Chron. 6:33–35a

Zuph

Tohu

Elihu

Jeroham

Elkanah (and wife Hannah)

Samuel

Joel and Abijah

Heman

Zuph

Toah

Eliel

Jeroham

Elkanah 4

Samuel

Joel

Heman

excessive, it makes the line of Kohath relatively complete. (2) Even though Samuel is called an Ephraimite, he is, in reality, a Levite. In this particular line (in 1Chron. 6), he is a Levite. However, because his family lived in Ephraim, there was very likely intermarriage among his ancestors with the Ephraimites. Furthermore, in reading the first chapter of Samuel, you can see that his parents were not raising the other sons as Levites with religious responsibilities, but more as Ephraimites (or, better, as non-Levites). Therefore, it is reasonable to view Samuel as both a Levite and an Ephraimite. Given the mother’s prayer and behavior, it appears, at least on the surface, that she is the Levite, and that she realizes that her sons should be raised as Levites, with their Levitical duties. However, a reasonable argument could be made for both parents being Levites or even the father being a Levite (his wife realizes the consequences of his not pursuing his proper vocation). (3) Given the number of generations covered in this particular branch of the Kohathites, we should expect that the differences are more likely divergence as opposed to missing and supplied generations. (4) Given the importance of the man, Samuel, we should not be surprised to find two lines listed here where contain him.

Although the information you find here was developed bit by bit from Scripture, John Darby Footnote and others also make mention of Samuel’s Levitical background.


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You no doubt noticed the differences between the names in the line of Samuel. This line is mentioned also in I Chron. 6:26–28, which provides even greater differences. We have compared these differences already in 1Chronicles 6:25–27 in a chart and we have already given a short biography of them all in I Chron. 6. The lines given in I Chron. 6 are also more detailed; but, since that has already been covered, we don’t need to go into any more detail here.


I should mention that there is no reason to ever assume that any particular line given is complete. Barnes here erroneously assumes that we are found complete generations of Israelites in the land, which is about 130 years by his calculation. We should expect during the time of slavery to Egypt and during the time of the judges to find gaps in the generational lines given. In any given line, the typical Israelite should know the name of his tribe, what branch of the tribe he is in, and his parents, grandparents and perhaps some of his great grandparents. Since they obviously kept better records of such things than we do, they might know one or two more in their line. This does not mean that they trace their line through each and every generation, however.


Now, for those of you who know a little about the background of the Levites, realize that certain cities throughout Israel were given over to them, not to own, exactly, but to occupy. However, even though Ramah is given as a city of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), it is not one of the cities given over to the Levites (Joshua 21:17–19). In the book of the Judges, we have two instances of Levites who did not seem to be involved in the service to the Aaronic priesthood and one of them was actually free-lancing his services. Furthermore, they did not necessarily live in the areas designated for them.


Now I realize that you are probably bored to tears with the concept of genealogy, particularly as it pertains to a bunch of old dead guys who are not related to you; and then mentioning passages which seem to just give endless lists of cities—I mean, what’s that all about? You’re thinking, who the hell cares? Let’s just get on with the story. However, it is Samuel’s genealogy and the background of his family which helps to explain his mother’s prayer and his mother’s willingness to give up her son according to her vow. What appears to be the case, as previously discussed, is that Hannah and Elkanah were both probably Levites living as Ephraimites. They weren’t in the cities given to them by God; they weren’t serving the Aaronic priesthood. They had forsaken their unique ancestry as Levites and lived just like anyone in the tribe of Ephraim. They apparently had enough Levi blood in them to qualify them as Levites (and they could have been pure almost pure Levites, with reference to their ancestors) and this apparently weighed on the mind of Hannah, which will explain some of her behavior in this chapter. She wants badly to have a child by her husband, Elkanah. Elkanah, being a man, is fine with whatever is going on. If they have a kid, fine; if they don’t, fine. Not a big deal to him. He likes Hannah; he has another wife who bears him children, so everything is a-okay with him (although, he certainly is not pleased with the bickering between the two women, which no doubt helps to account for his strong religious ties). Not so with Hannah. She knows that she is a Levite and that her family has not taken on the duties of the Levi tribe for several generations. It could be inferred that she believes that is the reason for her barrenness. Therefore, she wants so badly to bear a child that she is willing to place this child at the Tabernacle (the Holy Tent of God) to be raised. Given her heritage as a Levite who does not serve God, the vow that she makes, to give her child over to God if God gives her a child, makes a great deal of sense.


In your program to read the Bible in one year, you read this verse in about 3 seconds. It took us over four pages of commentary to cover the same verse. On to v. 2:


And to him two women: a name of one, Hannah and a name of the other, Peninnah. And so he was to Peninnah children and to Hannah not of children.

1Samuel

1:2

And to him, two wives: the name of one [was] Hannah, and the name of the other [was] Peninnah. And so there were to Peninnah children and to Hannah, without children.

And he had two wives. The first one’s name was Hannah, and the second was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah did not.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And to him two women: a name of one, Hannah and a name of the other, Peninnah. And so he was to Peninnah children and to Hannah not of children.

Septuagint                             And he [had] two wives; the name of the one [was] Anna and the name of the second, Phennana. And Phennana had children, but Anna had no child.

 

Significant differences:          None. When this is the case, we can be about 99.5% assured that this text is accurate.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Although Peninnah had children, Hannah did not have any.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Elkanah had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and he has two wives, the name of the one is Hannah, and the name of the second Peninnah, and Peninnah has children, and Hannah has no children.


What is the gist of this verse? Elkanah has two wives; Hannah is his first, who has borne him no children; and Peninnah is his second who has borne him children.


1Samuel 1:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shetayîm (ם̣יַ ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim]

two, two of, a pair of, a duo of

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802

Strong’s #802 BDB #61


Translation: And to him, two wives:... This gives us: And to him, two of women. Or, slightly less literally: And to him, two wives.


There are some who read this first phrase and conclude that God approves of polygamy. Not true. The people found in Scripture are presented with all of their flaws and sins. Just because God tells us that Elkanah had two wives, this does not mean that God therefore approved. This fact is pertinent to understanding the motivation of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. As many an exegete has pointed out: the Bible quotes Satan when he tempts our Lord in the desert wilderness—does that mean that Satan’s misapplication of Scripture is accurate? Satan is quoted in Gen. 3 as lying to the woman—does that make his lies truth? Certainly not. The Bible simply gives us the necessary background to understand the narrative and the issues pertaining thereto. If someone other than our Lord was portrayed as sinless in Scripture, then we would be much more suspicious of the veracity of the record (even the two greatest men of Scripture, Moses and Paul, are presented with flaws and chinks in their armor). However, it was clear that the Law allowed for more than one wife. Given that, we ought to investigate this matter more carefully:


A Few Points on Polygamy

1.    God did not provide Adam with several wives. He provide Adam with one wife (Gen. 1–3). In case you do not understand, this means that God has set a precedent.

2.    The second, and most important point, is that there are relatively few polygamous relationships alluded to in Scripture. There are cults who lean toward polygamy, and rely on the Old Testament for support; however, whereas there are hundreds and hundreds of women mentioned with respect to their marriage; there are only a handful of polygamous marriages named.

3.    The first recorded instance of polygamy in the Old Testament was in Gen. 4:19, where Lamech, several generations down in the line of Cain, took two wives to himself. Lamech was also the father of vigilantism (Gen. 4:23–24), therefore, if we conclude anything, it is that only the most degenerate of early man was a polygamist.

4.    Abram, at the insistence of his wife, had relations with her Egyptian personal servant, Hagar. Although Abram was never officially married to Hagar, he had a son by her whom God had to protect, because of the conflict which arose under Abram’s roof (Gen. 16, 21).

5.    On the other hand, Jacob, many generations later, and after the flood, had two wives and, in a manner of speaking, two mistresses (the two personal slaves of his two wives). Jacob had been tricked into marrying the first wife (whom he did not love). He was then able to marry the woman that he did love (whose life was relatively short). Nothing is said with regards to right or wrong concerning this instance of polygamy, and, to be fair, Jacob did not start out with the intention of marrying several wives; he was in love with Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her older sister first. Both of his wives then convinced him to have sexual relations with their mistresses, which Jacob went along with (the Bible reports but does not necessarily condone this). In any case, God did bring from these two wives and two mistresses the tribes of Israel. What is clear is that Jacob rarely exhibited what we would think of as exemplary behavior for a believer (he was a chiseler early on in his life and a self-centered whiner at the end of his life). That all of Israel came from him was God taking what there was and making good come from it (Rom. 8:28).

6.    Interestingly enough, after being raised in a polygamous home, none of Jacob’s sons were recorded as having more than one wife (although Judah is recorded as having at least one extra-marital affair—Gen. 38).

7.    The Law records an instance of how to deal with the situation when a man loves one wife over another (Deut. 21:15–17), indicating that this practice did occur in early Jewish society and some aspects of it required regulation. The law in question deals with favoritism when there is more than one wife.

8.    The genealogical portion of Chronicles, which is filled with family lines, records at least three men with more than one wife: King David (I Chron. 3:1), Ashhur in the line of Judah (I Chron. 4:5) and Shaharaim (I Chron. 8:8).

9.    Gideon, one of the judges (or saviors) in the book of Judges, had a large number of wives (he took these wives on after his period of spiritual greatness).

10.  Our two most famous case histories are David and Solomon, the latter having 300 wives and 700 concubines. Joash, another king of Israel (actually, one of the good ones) also had two wives (2Chron. 24:3). All in all, this gives us fewer than 10 polygamous marriages in the Old Testament.

11.  David’s sons and daughters by his different wives have a sorted history of civil war, power lust and incest.

12.  Solomon’s heart was turned from God from all of the foreign women that he had relations with.

13.  Furthermore, the Law warned against a king multiplying wives to himself (this is also where we find that the king was not to use his office for great personal gain—Deut. 17:17).

14.  In those relationships that we are allowed to examine in depth, there was always a favorite wife: Jacob preferred Rachel over Leah and his two mistresses. Elkanah preferred Hannah over Peninnah. Solomon was in love with a woman that he could not have (recall that he had a thousand wives and mistresses). Obviously (to a woman), once a preference has been stated or inferred, then there will be hell to pay in that particular household. Pretty much any woman could pick up on an inferred preference.

15.  Just as important as the fact that there are but a handful of polygamous marriages in Scripture, is this point: in all of these case histories, we have no instances of a happy home life for those involved in polygamy. Jacob’s household was filled with strife, as was the household we have before us—Elkanah’s. One book of the Bible is dedicated specifically to Solomon’s frustration with falling in love with perhaps his right woman (had he not married all of the other women first) and, as a Lothario, not being able to woo her into his harem (this is the Song of Solomon, of course).

16.  Speaking of Solomon, I should also mention that the practice of polygamy is pretty much confined to the wealthy.

17.  In the Law, we do not find a prohibition against polygamy (although it is strongly discouraged for kings); however, we find little to recommend it either (there are more laws dealing with slavery than with polygamy).

18.  Even though there are regulations in the Mosaic Law governing polygamy, this does not grant approval for polygamous practices. The laws that deal with polygamy are primarily designed to protect the women involved in such marriages.

19.  In the New Testament, we find pretty much an assumption of the correctness of monogamy.

       a.    A man who divorces one woman to marry another, apart from the offense of adultery, was said to commit adultery (Matt. 19:3–9). In this passage, Jesus quotes Genesis, where it reads: And the two will become one flesh.

       b.    When the Sadducees try to trap Jesus with a question, they ask about a woman who has been married to several husbands; however, each husband dies before she remarries (she marries his brothers, according to the Law). There is a different point that Jesus makes, but the point I am making is that she does not marry several men at the same time (Matt. 22:23–32).

       c.     Whereas, we have two passages in the Law dealing with polygamy (those two mentioned), all New Testament passages deal with the marriage between one man and one woman (Eph. 5:22–33).

       d.    Paul tells Timothy that a pastor must be the husband of one wife. Although this passage is given several different interpretations; it can certainly be used to show that polygamy is not a part of the game plan for any pastor (I Tim. 3:2).

20.  Given that we have no New Testament case histories of polygamy and that there are very few in the Old Testament (and none of those are given as peaceful); and given that God’s original plan involved one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24), we are forced to the conclusion that it is God’s perfect plan for one man to marry one woman.

21.  An interesting question: there is no specific ban on polygamy in the Old Testament, but there appears to be in the New. Explain.

       a.    The proper relationship between a man and a woman is one man for one woman; even though this is not a requirement of the Law, it is discouraged in the Old Testament.

               i.      By example: every detailed example of polygamy in the Old Testament is fraught with problems. However, there were a number of polygamous unions that we do not know much about (Gen. 4:19, 23 Judges 8:13 1Chron. 4:5 8:8 2Chron. 24:3). In at least the first two, we are sure that the families had more than their share of problems.

               ii.     By law: the king was not supposed to multiply wives to himself.

               iii.    By doctrine: the relationship between God and Israel is often spoken of in terms of a man and his right woman.

               iv.    However, to be accurate here, the Old Testament Law dealt with polygamy: If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his (Deut. 21:15–17). This does not tells us that it is right or wrong for a man to be polygamous; it just tells us that some were.

       b.    There is not actually a ban in the New Testament; it was also discouraged, however:

               i.      By doctrine: all teaching about marriage is confined to one man and one woman.

               ii.     By church requirements: the pastor has to be a husband of one wife.

       c.     So actually, there is no ban against polygamy in the Old or New Testaments. However, it is strongly discouraged in both.

22.  An interesting and final question: why doesn’t the Bible come right out and condemn polygamy? Why is there not a commandment which requires all marriages to be strictly monogamous?*

       a.    We have three case histories of men whose relationship to Israel and to God was fundamental, and these three were all polygamists (Jacob, David and Solomon). Solomon, on the one hand, had the spiritual wherewithal to built a Temple for God (which, at once, spoke of our Lord to come, and of His eternal future presence on this earth as ruler over Israel and over all the earth). On the other hand, Solomon was the poster boy for how mixed up a person in polygamy could become.

       b.    Thieme has given the example many times of the tribal chief who is converted to Christianity, and then is told that he should be married to only one woman. This is the light at the end of the tunnel he has been looking for. He then throws his least favorite wife or wives out into the street (he has also found out the hard way that you do not want to have more than one wife living under the same roof), condemning them and probably their children to a lifetime of hardship and poverty. In fact, the one provision in the Law of God protects the interest and inheritance of a child who is the son of the least favorite wife.

* A similar question might be, why doesn’t the Bible come right out and condemn slavery?


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What is clear in the narrative to follow is that there was trouble in the Elkanah household because he had two wives. The friction between the two wives is the driving force behind this first chapter of Samuel. The end result is that Hannah’s son, Samuel, would be given over to the Lord. Now, does that make polygamy okay? Again, certainly not. The ends do not justify the means. God took a bad situation, two jealous women under the same roof, and brought good from it. For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His pre-determined plan (Rom. 8:28). Footnote


1Samuel 1:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

feminine singular numeral

Strong's #259 BDB #25

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584. BDB #336

Barnes tells us that Hannah means beauty, charm. Footnote Clarke says Hannah means fixed or settled. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch tell us her name means grace, gracefulness. Footnote

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE]

second, the second; When only two items are named, it can be rendered [the] other

feminine singular adjective numeral ordinal with the definite article

Strong’s #8145 BDB #1041

Peninnâh (הָ̣נפ) [pronounced pen-in-NAW]

transliterated Peninnah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6444 BDB #819

Barnes tells us the Peninnah means pearl and that the name has the same significance as the name Margaret. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch tell us her name means coral. Footnote

 

Translation: ...the name of one [was] Hannah, and the name of the other [was] Peninnah. We have the proper name Hannah, which is transliterated. Hannah means grace. In the Hebrew, her name is actually channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khah-NAW], which is grace with a feminine (ah) ending (there are at least two different words for grace in the Hebrew).

 

This is followed by and a name of the, which is followed by the feminine numeral ordinal shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE], which means second, the second. When only two items are named, it can be rendered [the] other. Then we have the proper noun Peninnah, also a close transliteration. This gives us: ...a name of one, Hannah; and a name of the second, Peninnah. Peninnah means coral.


1Samuel 1:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Peninnâh (הָ̣נפ) [pronounced pen-in-NAW]

transliterated Peninnah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6444 BDB #819

yelâdîym (םי.דָלי) [pronounced ye-law-DEEM]

children, descendants

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3206 BDB #409

 

Translation: And so there were to Peninnah children... The second line begins with the wâw consecutive and the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of to be (which most translators render as a plural). You note that Young renders it hath, which is not necessarily wrong, except that Peninnah cannot be the subject, as she is preceded by the lâmed preposition, giving us to Peninnah. Then we have the masculine plural of yeled (ד∵ל∵י) [pronounced YEH-led], which means child, son, boy, youth. In the plural, it means children, descendants. Strong’s #3206 BDB #409. This is followed by and to Hannah, after which is the construct of the negative ayin (ן ̣י-א) [pronounced AH-yin], which means naught, nothing, no, not. The construct is êyin (ן ̣י̤א) [pronounced AYH-yin], which can mean in the condition of being not = without. Strong’s #369 BDB #34. This is affixed to children again, giving us: And it is to Peninnah children and to Hannah not of children.


This narrative simply sets up the principal characters and their states of being. Until most recently, children were seen as a great blessing and a fulfillment of a marriage. Actually, one of the great topics of Scripture has been the temporary barrenness of certain women (e.g., Sarai, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah).


There was a man named Elkanah...

There was a man named Elkanah

Who lived in Ephraim’s hills in Ramah

He was related to a bunch of guys

and he had two wives

whose names were Peninnah and Hannah.

(1Sam. 1:1–2) perhaps you were expecting something else....


1Samuel 1:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584. BDB #336

êyn (ןי̤א) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no [none, no one, not]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

yelâdîym (םי.דָלי) [pronounced ye-law-DEEM]

children, descendants

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3206 BDB #409


Translation: ...and to Hannah, without children.


Introverted Parallelism in 1Sam. 1:2

Okay, perhaps I am joking a little. However, in this second verse, we do have a poetic parallelism. When set up in a poetic fashion, it will be more obvious:

The name of one, Hannah

and the name of the other, Peninnah.

And so it was to Peninnah children

and to Hannah not of children.

With respect to the names of the wives, this is called introverted parallelism. The words name and children form a simple parallelism. Now, did Eli or Samuel set out to write in this fashion? Not necessarily. I have a former student who, in some of her writing to me, seems to be almost poetic. It is not necessarily the thoughts or that she so intends, but it comes out that way. Footnote

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The theme of barren women who later bear children is not unusual in Scripture; we have at least four examples of this.

Formerly Barren Women

The Women

Details and Scripture

Sarah

God had promised a childless Abram that this huge amount of land would belong to his descendants (Gen. 15:18–21). His barren wife, Sarai, aware of this promise, suggests that Abram impregnate her Egyptian maid, Hagar, which causes an incredible number of problems (Gen. 16 21:9–21). 13 years after this mistaken union takes places, God comes to Abram (he is 99 years old) and He tells Abram that he will be a father of nations. His wife, Sarai, originally barren, and now long past menopause, is renamed Sarah (princess), Abram is told, will bear him a son (Gen. 17). Despite the fact that Sarah quietly laughs at this promise, she does bear Abraham’s child, Isaac (Gen. 18, 21). So that it is clear that the birth of Isaac is a shadow of the Messiah to come, Abraham is told to offer up his son to God (Gen. 22).

Rebekah

Rebekah was the wife chosen for Isaac; Abraham put his servant in charge of finding this woman (Gen. 24). There was a time period of barrenness for Rebekah; however, she eventually bore Isaac twins (Gen. 25:21–24). Very little is really said about this time period of barrenness; however, in order for God’s promises to Abraham to be fulfilled, Rebekah must bear at least one child.

Rachel

Jacob is Isaac’s son by Rebekah, and he is tricked into marrying Leah, her sister; and then, 7 years later, he is allowed to marry Rachel. Leah bears 4 children and Rachel has none. Rachel suggests that Jacob impregnate her personal maid and suggests that this will be like their son. Jacob goes along with this and has 2 more sons. Leah stops bearing children, but then gets her personal maid into the act and Jacob fathers 2 sons by her. Leah then bears 2 more sons for Jacob, followed by a daughter. Then God allows Rachel to bear Jacob 2 sons (she died giving birth to the second son). Gen. 29:21–30:24 35:16–19

The wife of Manoah (father of Samson)

Manoah and his wife’s marriage was barren for some time until the Angel of the Lord appeared to his wife, and told her that their son, Samson, would be a Nazirite to God (Judges 13). He is the first example of a Nazirite to God. Samuel is probably a Nazirite and John the Baptist might be a Nazirite.

Hannah

As we have observed, although Hannah is loved by her husband, she has not borne him any children, and this has distressed her. She will promise her child to God if God gives her a child (1Sam. 1).

Elizabeth

The wife of the priest Zacharias was barren for many years, even though she and her husband lived exemplary lives. They had both prayed for a child and the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, telling him that they would have a son whom they would name John (John the Baptizer).

Although I had hoped to see a pattern here, I don’t think that we have one with all six women. In the case of Sarah and Rebekah, the Messiah would come through them; however, the humanity of Jesus would be a descendant of Judah, the 4th son of Jacob by Leah—He would not be a descendant of Rachel’s. The only commonality is, these women are barren and God invigorates their wombs. There are many parallels between Isaac and Jesus as well as Samuel and Jesus; but far fewer parallels with Jacob, Joseph, Samson and John the Baptizer and Jesus. Interestingly enough, the final three on that list were probably all Nazirites. Hannah, Rachel and Sarah, to some extent, were rivals of women who were not barren. Obviously, the in the case of the virgin Mary, barrenness was never an issue.

As I have mentioned before, when I begin a short study like this, I don’t always know what I am going to find. In this case, I did not come up with any pattern or any obscure spiritual truth (apart from the fact that we can depend upon God and His promises). Footnote

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And went up the man the this from his city from days to days to bow [himself] down and to a slaughter of to Yehowah armies in Shiloh. And there two of sons of Eli: Hophni and Phinehas—priests to Yehowah.

1Samuel

1:3

Now this man went up from his city from year to year to bow down [in worship] and to sacrifice to Yehowah of the armies in Shiloh. And there [were] two sons of Eli: Hophni and Phinehas—[both] priests of Yehowah.

Now this man went from his town each year to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to Jehovah of the armies. And in Shiloh were two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, both of whom were priests to Jehovah.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And went up the man the this from his city from days to days to bow [himself] down and to a slaughter of to Yehowah armies in Shiloh. And there two of sons of Eli: Hophni and Phinehas—priests to Yehowah.

Septuagint                             And the man went up from year to year from his city, from Armathaim, to worship and sacrifice to the Lord God of Sabaoth at Selom. And [there were] Heli and his two sons, Ophni and Phinees, the priests of the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NJB                                        Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship, and to sacrifice to Yahweh Sabaoth at Shiloh. (The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of Yahweh.)


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Every year this man would go from his own city to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of Armies at Shiloh. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served there as priests of the LORD.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were priests to the Lord there.

Young’s Updated LT             And that man has gone up out of his city from time to time, to bow himself, and to sacrifice, before Jehovah of Hosts, in Shiloh, and there are two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to Jehovah.


What is the gist of this verse? Elkanah traveled regularly to Shiloh to offer up a sacrifice. Eli and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas are all priests to God there.


1Samuel 1:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

that; this

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun (with a definite article)

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

Although the KJV renders this word as this most of the time, BDB gives this usage with the definite article as properly that.

You will note that this is identical to the 3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: Now this man went up from his city... There were three feasts which beckoned Israelite men to come up and celebrate (those feasts are, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles). For more information, see the Feast Days Chart (which we covered back in Lev. 23). I suspect that, Elkanah being a Levite, probably went to Shiloh for all 3 of these feasts.


1Samuel 1:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun with the directional hê

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Literally, this is from days to days; however, together, they mean from year to year.


Translation: ...from year to year... We have a slight problem here as to which festival is being spoken of and how often this festival occurred. There were three festivals wherein the men of Israel were supposed to gather themselves in whatever city the Tent of God was, and these festivals were held yearly. For this reason, when we come upon the phrase, from days to days, we assume that it means yearly. We have the exact same phrase in both Ex. 13:10, which refers to the Passover, and in Judges 21:19 for apparently the same festival as is in view here.


Again, I am going to assume that he went to all three feasts and that this phrase simply meant that each feast occurred once a year.


1Samuel 1:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâchah (הָחָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAW]

to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to do obeisance to; to honor [with prayers]; to do homage to, to submit to

Hithpael infinitive construct

Strong’s #7812 BDB #1005

Actually, Owen calls this the Hithpalal and Zodhiates calls it the Hithpael. The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel, or intensive stem. The Hithpalal is probably a variant form of the Hithpael.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zâbach (חַבָז) [pronounced zawb-VAHKH]

to slaughter [usually an animal for sacrifice]

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #2076 BDB #256

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

tsebâôwth (תאָבצ) [pronounced tzeb-vaw-OHTH]

armies, wars

masculine plural noun, simply the plural of Strong’s #6635, but often used in titles

Strong’s #6635 BDB #838

In reading translations such as the NJB, you might be tempted to think that what we have here is Yehowah of the Sabbath, because that appears to be so similar to Yehowah Sabaoth. So let’s just look at this a bit more closely. This is the plural form of tsâbâ, which is tsebâôwth (תאָבצ) [pronounced tzeb-vaw-OHTH]. There is also its use in this title for God and some take that as a proper noun. There is no difference in the spelling and it is not listed as a separate reference in BDB; however, it is listed under tsâbâ as a technical use of the word, so to speak. Owen simply lists it as a proper noun, and references tsâbâ even though, again, there is no separate proper noun listing for this word in BDB. Now, in terms of meaning, there really is no change—it means Jehovah of the Armies. Now, in case you want to interpret this as Yehowah of the Sabbath, the word Sabbath is shâbbath (ת ָ ַש) [pronounced shahb-BATH]. The two words both have the bêyth and the same tâv at the end, but they have a different beginning and tsebâôwth as an additional wâw at the end as well (this is a part of the plural form). And if this were just one isolated passage, we might make a case that one should be the other. However, both of these words are found in abundance throughout Scripture, correctly pointed and spelled, and those different from one another. Shâbbath = Strong's #7676 BDB #992. The upshot of all this (as I realize that your eyes may glaze over when I make mention of the Hebrew) is that in this passage, as in many others, what we have here is Yehowah of the Armies and not Yehowah of the Sabbath.

Keil and Delitzsch comment about this title: “Jehovah Zebaoth” is an abbreviation of “Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth”; and the connection of Zebaoth with Jehovah is not to be regarded as the construct state, nor is Zebaoth to be taken as a genitive dependent upon Jehovah. This is not only confirmed by the occurrence of such expressions as “Elohim Zebaoth” (Psalm 59:6 Psalm 80:5, 8,Psalm 80:15, 20 84:9) and “Adonai Zebaoth” (Isa. 10:16), but also by the circumstance that Jehovah, as a proper name, cannot be construed with a genitive. The combination “Jehovah Zebaoth” is rather to be taken as an ellipsis, where the general term Elohe (God of), which is implied in the word Jehovah, is to be supplied in thought (see Hengstenberg, Christol. i. p. 375, English translation); for frequently as this expression occurs, especially in the case of the prophets, Zebaoth is never used alone in the Old Testament as one of the names of God. Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch continue: This expression, which was not used as a divine name until the age of Samuel, had its roots in Gen. 2:1, although the title itself was unknown in the Mosaic period, and during the times of the judges. It represented Jehovah as ruler over the heavenly hosts (i.e., the angels, according to Gen. 32:2, and the stars, according to Isa. 40:26), who are called the “armies” of Jehovah in Psalm 103:21; Psalm 148:2; but we are not to understand it as implying that the stars were supposed to be inhabited by angels, as Gesenius (Thes. s. v.) maintains, since there is not the slightest trace of any such notion in the whole of the Old Testament. It is simply applied to Jehovah as the God of the universe, who governs all the powers of heaven, both visible and invisible, as He rules in heaven and on earth. It cannot even be proved that the epithet Lord, or God of Zebaoth, refers chiefly and generally to the sun, moon, and stars, on account of their being so peculiarly adapted, through their visible splendor, to keep alive the consciousness of the omnipotence and glory of God (Hengstenberg on Psalm 24:10). For even though the expression Tzebaim (their host), in Gen. 2:1, refers to the heavens only, since it is only to the heavens (vid., Isa. 40:26), and never to the earth, that a “host” is ascribed, and in this particular passage it is probably only the stars that are to be thought of, the creation of which had already been mentioned in Gen. 1:14.; yet we find the idea of an army of angels introduced in the history of Jacob (Gen. 32:2-3), where Jacob calls the angels of God who appeared to him the “camp of God,” and also in the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:2), where the “ten thousands of saints” (Kodesh) are not stars, but angels, or heavenly spirits; whereas the fighting of the stars against Sisera in the song of Deborah probably refers to a natural phenomenon, by which God had thrown the enemy into confusion, and smitten them before the Israelites (see at Judges 5:20). Footnote

We must also bear in mind, that whilst on the one hand the tribes of Israel, as they came out of Egypt, are called Zebaoth Jehovah, “the hosts of Jehovah” (Ex. 7:4; Ex. 12:41), on the other hand the angel of the Lord, when appearing in front of Jericho in the form of a warrior, made himself known to Joshua as “the prince of the army of Jehovah,” i.e., of the angelic hosts. And it is in this appearance of the heavenly leader of the people of God to the earthly leader of the hosts of Israel, as the prince of the angelic hosts, not only promising him the conquest of Jericho, but through the miraculous overthrow of the walls of this strong bulwark of the Canaanitish power, actually giving him at the same time a practical proof that the prince of the angelic hosts was fighting for Israel, that we have the material basis upon which the divine epithet “Jehovah God of hosts” was founded, even though it was not introduced immediately, but only at a later period, when the Lord began to form His people Israel into a kingdom, by which all the kingdoms of the heathen were to be overcome. It is certainly not without significance that this title is given to God for the first time in these books, which contain an account of the founding of the kingdom, and (as Auberlen has observed) that it was by Samuel's mother, the pious Hannah, when dedicating her son to the Lord, and prophesying of the king and anointed of the Lord in her song of praise (1Sam. 2:10), that this name was employed for the first time, and that God was addressed in prayer as “Jehovah of hosts” (1Sam. 1:11). Footnote

Consequently, if this name of God goes hand in hand with the prophetic announcement and the actual establishment of the monarchy in Israel, its origin cannot be attributed to any antagonism to Sabaeism, or to the hostility of pious Israelites to the worship of the stars, which was gaining increasing ground in the age of David, as Hengstenberg (on Psalm 24:10) and Strauss (on Zep. 2:9) maintain; to say nothing of the fact, that there is no historical foundation for such an assumption at all. It is a much more natural supposition, that when the invisible sovereignty of Jehovah received a visible manifestation in the establishment of the earthly monarchy, the sovereignty of Jehovah, if it did possess and was to possess any reality at all, necessarily claimed to be recognized in its all-embracing power and glory, and that in the title “God of (the heavenly hosts” the fitting expression was formed for the universal government of the God-king of Israel, - a title which not only serves as a bulwark against any eclipsing of the invisible sovereignty of God by the earthly monarchy in Israel, but overthrew the vain delusion of the heathen, that the God of Israel was simply the national deity of that particular nation. Footnote


Translation: ...to bow down [in worship] and to sacrifice to Yehowah of the armies... His reason for going to these festivals each year is to bow down in worship and to slaughter animals to Jehovah of hosts (or Yehowah of the armies).

 

We have Yehowah followed by the masculine plural of tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW], which means armies, wars, or warfare. It is usually translated hosts in the KJV, which is okay, as long as you then picture a huge army of angels ready to do battle. We expect Yehowah to be in the construct, which it won’t be (there are no vowels in the Hebrew, which would actually indicate the construct state; furthermore, Yehowah is a proper noun, and proper nouns can be taken as genitives, but they do not have a genitive form). My guess is that the construct was placed on slaughter, which transfers to Yehowah (or, at least, that is how everyone else rendered this). This is followed by in Shiloh, giving us: And this man went up from his city from year to year to bow [himself] down and to slaughter to [the] Yehowah of armies in Shiloh.


Now, you may wonder why I go off into such detail about this particular title. This is because this is the first place chronologically that we find the title, Yehowah of the Armies, in Scripture and this title for our God, or close variations of it, occurs 260 times in Scripture. Now, God is not so named for no reason. Israel’s armies are called armies of Yehowah in Ex. 7:4 12:41 and the Angel of Yehowah (Christ Jesus) presented Himself to Joshua as the commander of the armies of Yehowah in Joshua 5:14, which means that He is Commander-in-Chief over the angelic army of God. There has also been a mention of the armies of heaven (Deut. 4:19 17:3). However, this is the first time we have the title Yehowah of the Armies. This will be a title found throughout Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and the Psalms. However, those who use this title most frequently are the prophets, particularly Isaiah and Jeremiah. Therefore, it seemed best to get this correctly explained from the beginning.


Obviously, we should understand what Yehowah of the Armies means. Like many things found in Scripture, we have a natural progression which leads us to this point so that, in order to understand the meaning of the title, we can primarily look backward in time. One aspect of this is that God rules over all the heavens and the stars of the heavens (Psalm 148:2). He created the heavens and the earth and all of the stars in the heavens (Gen. 1:1, 16–18 2:1), and all of the heavenly bodies along with all of those things found in the heavens and the earth are called hosts (that is, armies) in Gen. 2:1 (Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts—see Also Deut. 4:19). God’s creation of such heavenly bodies along with His control over the elements of nature (e.g., Gen. 7:4) places Him as the Divine Ruler over the stars. Furthermore, the visible splendor of His sun, the moon and the myriad of stars in the heavens is a constant reminder to us of the omnipotence and glory of God, who governs over all powers, both visible and invisible. Footnote He knows each and every star and they all have their proper circuit that God leads them on (Isa. 40:26).


As mentioned, our Lord is Divine Sovereign over the armies of Israel, who are called the armies of Yehowah in Ex. 7:4 12:41. So, not only is He sovereign over the hosts of the heavenlies, but He is sovereign over the Israelite fighting force. During a time of degeneracy, a psalmist complains that God does not go out with Israel’s armies (Psalm 44:9). In times of obedience, our Lord is Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s fighting forces.


God is also the God of the Armies of the Heavens (i.e., the angels). This is certainly implied in Gen. 28:12 2Kings 6:15–17. We do not find the plural angels used in the Old Testament very often, as its use in the plural primarily means messengers where no heavenly connotation is inferred (e.g., 1Sam. 11:3 2Kings 1:3). We do find that this word in the singular often refers to Christ Jesus in His pre-incarnate form (e.g., Ex. 23:20 Num. 22:22 Judges 2:4). Moses, in his blessing of Israel, wrote: “Jehovah came from Sinai, and He rose upon them from Seir. He showed forth from Mount Paran and He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones.” (Deut. 33:2b—see also Psalm 68:17). However, it is used occasionally in the plural to refer to the angels of heaven (Psalm 91:11 148:2). Israel also had an army at various times, and God would ultimately be the head of that army, just as He was ruler over Israel (which is why Israel went so long without a king). In Joshua 5:14–15, prior to Israel’s invasion of the land, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the Host of Jehovah. The implication is that He was the Commander-in-Chief of God’s angelic army. One of the strongest passages which indicates this is 1Kings 22:19, where Micaiah speaks to King Jehoshaphat, saying, “Therefore, hear the word of Jehovah: I saw Jehovah sitting on His throne and all the army o heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.” Obviously, this army would not be stars or the army of Israel. Therefore, Jehovah God is ruler over the angels of heaven, over the stars of heaven and over the army of Israel. Context would determine which of these is emphasized. Our context here, apart from any implication of warfare, would reasonably be Yehowah of the hosts [of the heavens] or over the armies [of angels]. God rules over all powers, visible or invisible. All of the gravitation forces and all of the velocities of the planets are things over which God rules—God placed these things in motion. He created all of the angels, who have a form and power that is far beyond our own. God created the earth and all that is in it and He rules over all of these things.


Allowing myself just one more tangent—apparently Gesenius suggested that angels inhabited the various stars. Although this is not an impossibility, there just does not seem to be any support for this in Scripture. Furthermore, given the fact that we have many instances of angels functioning on this earth (apart from our Lord, Who is known as the Angel of Yehowah), this would make their dwelling place on a particular star less meaningful and much less likely. An interesting thought would be that God created the same number of stars as He did angels, as we have an interplay between the two (for instance, when Lucifer fell, he took a third of the stars from the heavens—Rev. 12:4; see also Isa. 14:13). Not that there is any theological significance to this, but a thought nonetheless. The number of believers in Israel (that is, the seed of Abraham) is also compared in number to the number of stars in the heavens and sands in the seas. The only inference is that the number of stars, the number of angels, and the number of Abraham’s descendants is quite nearly uncountable (I use this word from a human perspective and not its technical mathematical definition).


Returning to the topic of this new title of God, it is ironic that we find it first in 1Sam. 1, as the first act of war mentioned in this book will be 1Sam. 4 where the armies of Israel will be soundly defeated by the Philistines. God is still sovereign over the armies of His people, but recall that Israel, for the better portion of 300 years, has lived in degeneracy, not completing the taking of the Land of Promise and not eradicating the land fully of her own enemies. On the other hand, what we have in the books of Samuel and Kings is the foundation of the nation Israel, and it is within these books where the nation Israel will reach its greatest pinnacle of success (at least, up until this point in time). Therefore, from the standpoint of God the Holy Spirit, Who breathed this Word, this is the proper place to introduce this title for God. Israel will take on a king and become great; however, it is God Who rules over all.


I should also explain why man introduces this title for God at this time. Scripture has both a human and a divine author. My thinking is that Hannah herself was the first to coin this phrase (see v. 11), in a silent prayer to God (obviously, the content was made known by her later on). The author of this book, whether Samuel or Eli, found this designation for God to be apropos, and applies it here and throughout the book of Samuel.


Scofield has some excellent remarks regarding this title:

Scofield on the Title the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth)

Sabaoth means simply host or hosts, but with special reference to warfare or service. In use the two ideas are united; Jehovah is LORD of (warrior) hosts. It is the name, therefore, of Jehovah in manifestation of power. "The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory" (Psalm 24:10) and accordingly in the Old Testament Scripture this name is revealed in the time of Israel's need. It is never found in the Pentateuch, nor directly in Joshua or Judges, and occurs but rarely in the Psalms; but Jeremiah, the prophet of approaching national judgment, uses the name about eighty times. Haggai in two chapters uses the name fourteen times, Zechariah in fourteen chapters calls upon the Lord of hosts about fifty times. In Malachi the name occurs about twenty five times. In the utmost extremity, the Psalmist twice comforts his heart with the assurance "the Lord of hosts is with us." (Psalm 46:7, 11).

The meanings and uses of this name may thus be summarized:

(1) The "hosts" are heavenly. Primarily the angels are meant, but the name gathers into itself the idea of all divine or heavenly power as available for the need of God's people (Gen. 32:1 32:2 Isa. 6:1-5 1Kings 22:19 Luke 2:13-15).

(2) In use this is the distinctive name of Deity for Israel's help and comfort in the time of her division and failure (1Kings 18:15 19:14 Isa. 1:9 8:11-14 Isa. 9:13-19 10:24-27 31:4, 5 Hag. 2:4 Mal. 3:16–17 James 5:4).

As you see, Scofield’s explanation of the title, The Lord of Hosts is much easier to understand than what Keil and Delitzsch write.


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1Samuel 1:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Shilôw (ל̣ש) [shi-LOH]

quiet, relaxed, prosperous; transliterated Shiloh

proper noun locale

Strong’s #7887 BDB #1017


Translation: ...in Shiloh. The Tent of God, which was the prescribed place of worship, moved about in Old Testament times, from city to city. Although it is not really clear as to why it was moved, it is clear that it moved. We find it here in Shiloh, which is in Ephraim. There was only to be one tent (you usually hear it called a tabernacle) where worship by sacrifices occurred (see Deut. 12:14 Joshua 22). Although God told Israel that they would build this tent, He never specified a particular city, but always spoke of placing it at the place where I will tell you. The Tent of God was set up in Shiloh in Joshua 18:1 and it appears as though it remained there throughout most of the book of Judges (the only exception noted is Judges 20:26–27 where it was in Bethel, about ten miles south of Shiloh). By the way, various authors have Shiloh as being anywhere from 7 to 12 miles from Ramah. Footnote Obviously, because there is so much disagreement as to the exactly location of Ramah (and whether it is equivalent to Ramathaim), opinions as to distance will certainly be different. However, for Elkanah and for his family, this is not a very long trip to make.


The Philistines will defeat Israel and capture the Ark Footnote in 1Sam. 4, obviously something we will study in the very near future.


The religious significance of the Tent of God was much different than is our concept of a church. For us, there is a church every few blocks or so, and they are all of these various denominations. We can change our denomination and just drive another block to a new church, or we can even get mad at our present church, retain our denominational affiliation, and wander down the road to another church of the same affiliation. This was not the case for Israel. There was the Tent (or, Tabernacle) of God and it was in one place. Now, it moved, occasionally, but it stayed in one place for a long time and there was only one Tent of God. Three times a year, the males of Israel would go there to worship God (Ex. 34:23 34:23 Deut. 12:5–7 16:16–17 Luke 2:41 Footnote ). Females and families are not mentioned in most of these passages; however, when offering a tithe to Jehovah, that tithe was not to be consumed within the gates of one’s city, but they as a family were to bring them before Jehovah God (this would have to be at the Tent of God) and they could eat of those things there. A case history of family attendance of a feast with which most of us are familiar, is Joseph, Mary and a very young Jesus going to Passover Feast in Jerusalem (they actually attended the festival with a very large number of friends and family members). In this passage of 1Sam. 1, all of the family obviously attends the Feast of God as well.


Why the difference between the Tent of God and the modern day church? The Tent of God represented the Lord Jesus Christ. Each sacrifice, each item of furniture, the Holy of Holies, the High Priest—all of these things spoke of Jesus Christ in shadow form. And—here is the important part—there is only one Jesus Christ. There are not two saviors (or three); we don’t have our choice of Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed or Jesus—there is one Savior, Christ Jesus. As Jesus told Thomas: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6b). Peter said, “And there is no salvation in anyone else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). And Paul wrote to Timothy: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men—the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5). Therefore, there is one Tent of God. There was not a Tent of God on every corner or in every town of Israel. The Tent represented our Lord; there is only One Lord, one faith and one baptism (Eph. 4:4), so, therefore, there would be only one Tent of God. Christianity is exclusive in its Savior and in its means of salvation (simply exercising faith in Christ)—however, there are thousands of church buildings because the church building does not represent Jesus Christ any more.


The NIV Study Bible suggests that this is the Feast of Tabernacles (also called the Feast of Booths), as the celebration is of the harvest of Israel, which would be in stark contrast to the barrenness of Hannah. Footnote Barnes suggests that the spiritual life of Israel fell into such a mire during the time of the judges that the celebration of the three attendance festivals was combined into just one yearly festival. Footnote The latter viewpoint was made as we have a yearly festival in Shiloh mentioned also in Judges 21:19 (recall, this is the festival where the few men of Benjamin who were still alive were hooked up with some women in order to preserve the family name). 1Sam. 1 takes place during the time of the judges. Judges 21:19 occurred early on during the time of the judges, and our passage occurs late during the time of the judges. However, we do not have enough information to determine which Feast it was nor can we assume that an amalgamation took place (although the latter presumption is reasonable). The Israelites were supposed to attend three yearly feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) and the Feast of Booths (or, the Feast of the Tabernacles). The phrasing of this passage does not necessarily refer to attending a feast each year, although most have interpreted it to mean that. The phrase near the beginning of v. 3 (from days to days) seems to indicate yearly in Ex. 13:10 Judges 11:40 where it is first found; furthermore, the degeneracy of Israel during the time period of the judges would possibly suggest that in a time of spiritual renewal that they did not immediately begin following the Law perfectly, but began slowly with a single festival wherein all males (and this did not exclude females) were to show up to the Tent of God.


Furthermore, to add to the confusion, the incidents described in 1Samuel did not have to occur only at one particular festival. In vv. 4–8, we simply hear what has transpired in the past at various Feasts of God. Vv. 9–18 occur during a particular feast, when Hannah’s sorrow comes to a head. Vv. 21–23 name a feast which Hannah does not attend; however, this was probably several feasts in a row while she was nursing. In vv. 24–28, Hannah takes Samuel on what appears to be one of the Feasts of God, although it is never specified (and she could have simply gone up to the Tent of God apart from a feast day—there is nothing in the final four verses which require a feast day to be simultaneously occurring). Therefore, to say that such-and-such a feast is being celebrated in this chapter makes little sense, as all of the named three feasts might be in view throughout this chapter.


Which Feast is Being Celebrated Here?

Theory

Reasons For

Reasons Against

One amalgamated feast (Barnes)

(1) We have no specific feast named here. (2) There seems to be a reference to the same feast in Judges 21:19, which would have been during the same time period. (3) No particular feast is ever named; it has the generic title here and in Judges 21:19. (4) We would expect things to be done improperly during the time of the judges, improving as we near the end of that time period. (5) The phrase from days to days appears to mean yearly (see its first uses in Ex. 13:10 Judges 11:40).

(1) There is no particular feast named here because there is not simply one feast going on. (2) This takes place over a period of several years during which there were several feasts. Therefore, it would be silly to name a particular feast, if some of the chapter occurs at the Feast of Tents and another portion occurs during the Feast of Weeks.

One of the particular feasts that the Israelites were supposed to attend (R. Joshua Ben Levi thinks it is Pentecost; Abarbinel thinks it is the time of the ingathering of the fruit and produce). Footnote

(1) The phrase from days to days appears to mean yearly (see its first uses in Ex. 13:10 Judges 11:40).

This seems to be the least likely option because: (1) Never are we given the name of particular feast and, (2) there are several feasts where the males were to attend yearly. Furthermore, (3) there appears to be more than one festival in view here.

All of the three feasts are in view (Clarke, Gill).

(1) No feast is ever named specifically. (2) As discussed, there are several different time periods during which this chapter occurs, which would allow for several different feasts. (3) Since the first few verses describe what occurs generally at several feasts, naming a particular feast makes little sense. (4) When Hannah returns with the child, this does not necessarily occur during a feast day. (5) There is only one particular feast day in view, and that is vv. 9–18 when Hannah goes to the Tent of God to pray. The fact that it is a feast day is not really relevant to that portion of 1Sam. 1. (6) Perhaps the phrase from days to days does not mean yearly but periodically (which would then give us some trouble with its use in Ex. 13:10 Judges 11:40.

(1) Why not name the Feast of Weeks in vv. 9–18 and the Feast of Tabernacles in v. 21? (2) Why is no feast ever mentioned by name?

The Passover

Even though the men were not required to go to Passover, it could not be simply celebrated at home (Deut. 16:5–6). My guess is, this non-requirement means that salvation is a matter of freewill. Given that Elkanah and his wives are Levites, it is likely that they attended more than the minimal 3 feasts.

This is a reasonable option; however, not enough information is given to us to make this decision.

Conclusion: I would lean first toward the one amalgamated feast. It would make sense, because this is the time of the judges, for things to be done incorrectly. Their spirituality was weak during this time period, so for them to adjust their worship to suit their own needs would be a likely scenario. Recall, every man did what was right in his own eyes. In fact, to me, this is the deciding argument. We would be surprised to find Israel celebrating the feasts to God exactly as God had intended them to, when, up until this point, the functions of the High Priest have not been alluded to since Joshua 22. The similarity between Judges 21:19 and 1Sam. 1:3 also seems to indicate that only one particular yearly feast is in view here. The arguments against this position are not strong enough to defeat this position.

Also bear in mind that, Eli’s sons will make a mockery of the priesthood (as will Samuel’s sons eventually). Furthermore, God will allow Shiloh to be destroyed. These facts also indicate that worship at the Tabernacle had fallen into a variety of traditional practices which were not in accordance with the Mosaic Law.


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Next, some mention should be made of the city of Shiloh. We covered this city in detail back at the end of Exodus when we exegeted Psalm 78:61. It appears to have been the spiritual center of Israel for several hundred years, beginning during the book of the Judges and continuing until this point. When it is clear that the Ark of God and the Tent of God move to another city, then we will examine the movement of these holy things.


1Samuel 1:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

shenayim (ם̣י-נש) [pronounced sheNAH-yim]

two of, a pair of, a duo of

masculine plural numeral construct

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

׳êlîy (י.ל̤ע) [pronounced ģay-LEE]

transliterated Eli

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5941 BDB #750

Châphenîy (י.נפָה) [pronounced chaff-NEE]

hollow of hand? and is transliterated Hophni

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2652 BDB #342

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

phîynechâç (סָחני.) [pronounced pheene-KHOSS]

 which possibly means Negro in Egyptian, and is transliterated Phinehas

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #6372 BDB #810

kôhên (ן ֵהֹ) [pronounced koh-HANE]

priest

masculine plural noun

Strong's #3548 BDB #463

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

 

Translation: And there [were] two sons of Eli: Hophni and Phinehas—[both] priests of Yehowah. The second line in this verse then assumes information which the reader several thousand years later would not necessarily know—that Eli was a the High Priest to God in Shiloh. He is casually mentioned, although his sons are then named specifically, indicating that they would be not as well known to the reader. We begin with the wâw conjunction and the adverb shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm], which means there, thither, whither. There emphasis is upon place; so the two sons of Eli were there at Shiloh. Then we have two of sons of Eli.


Let’s just touch on Eli for a moment. I’ve pointed this out once already, but let me point it out again: prior to discussing Eli, the first thing that I did was take a look at the priestly chart from I Chron. 6. While putting together the first few chapters of 1Chronicles, I wondered just what the heck all this mattered, but now that it is finished, I go back to my exegesis of those first few chapters in connection with most historical figures found in Scripture. As a young believer, I could make little sense of the first nine chapters of Chronicles and pretty much ignored them. Now, as I plod through the Old Testament, these chapters become extremely important to me. The first High Priest was Aaron, who had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The first two died at the altar, having brought strange fire before Jehovah (Lev. 10). The son of Eleazar, Phinehas, was probably more well-known than Eleazar, and he carried out the priestly tradition with pride and dedication. His leadership participation in Joshua 22 indicates that he was not some namby pamby, let’s all just sit in a meadow and hold hands kind of guy. We have a fairly clean line of descent from him on down to the dispersion of Judah. The son of Aaron who is given very little air time is Ithamar, Aaron’s fourth son. We jump from him (circa 1400 b.c.) right down to Eli (circa 1100 b.c.).


As a father, we have mixed reviews on Eli. He raises two sons in the priesthood who appear to be worthless. He then raises Samuel, who is one of the great Old Testament figures, so go figure. There is often this great discussion of nature vs. nurture in development, as though one must exclude the other. There are people who are inherently negative, and regardless of the upbringing that they have, they simply seem to turn out wrong. There are others who, even given very little direction and guidance, seem to turn out honorable. Here we will have Eli raising three children, the third child when he will have the least amount of patience. Still, the child who is raised well is that third child, Samuel.


Eli’s responsibility before God was a dual responsibility: he was one of the last judges over Israel, and he was a priest before God. Therefore, he operated as somewhat of a ruler over Israel (whose authority would be politically limited); and as the High Priest over Israel, whose authority was absolute on earth. His adopted son, Samuel, would also bear this dual responsibility.


The second line is, literally: And there [were] two of sons of Eli: Hophni and Phinehas, priests to Yehowah. What we have here in Scripture is quite normal. We have introduced in some reasonable detail Elkanah. We know where he lives; we know his yearly spiritual activity, we know the names of his wives, and that one of fertile and the other appears to be barren. However, Eli is introduced here without any fanfare. The writer of Samuel mentions Eli as if the reader is familiar with him (or, at least, the writer and his contemporaries were familiar with Eli). Therefore, there is no need for an introduction or explanation. We are not even told that Eli is High Priest. We are not told his lineage. It is as though that information is expected to be known by those who read this. I mention this because that is the way a near contemporary would write. An historian, looking back several hundred years, would give us the 4-1-1 on Eli as well. A writer more contemporary to this time period would not feel there is some need to give a great deal of background on the High Priest. After all, he was High Priest for 40 years. If one of our presidents was president for 40 years, when mentioning him, contemporary writers would not feel it necessary to remind their readers that he is the president of the United States.


The mention of Hophni and Phinehas here indicates that the writer of this portion of Scripture sat down to write this years after the events of the next two chapters transpired. Although the fact that Eli had sons and that they were priests has nothing to do with the narrative at hand (i.e., this first chapter), it is pertinent to the entire narrative (i.e., the first two chapters). It is suggested that Eli is along in years and, although he is High Priest, his sons do much of the work. My thinking is that a lot of it has to do with his weight and subsequent inertia.


Now, I want you to notice something. We are only three verses into this narrative and we have been all over the Bible. We have been in the Law of Moses, dealing with the worship of God in Old Testament times. We have spent some time in the genealogies, which seem to be nothing but name after name after name to most people. We even traveled to the least traveled portion of Joshua, the distribution of the cities. And then we brought in the relationship between the worship of the New and Old Testament’s, spending some time in the gospels, the book of Acts and a couple of the epistles. That is because it is all interrelated. Scripture is God-breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but by men from God who had been moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). Therefore, it should all fit together, as though written by one man—I should say, One God, God the Holy Spirit. However, as an aside concerning inspiration, even in the original languages, to one who does not speak Hebrew, the style and vocabulary from book to book varies dramatically. One Divine author and many human authors.


And so was the day and so slaughtered Elkanah and he had given to Peninnah his woman and to all of her sons and her daughters portions.

1Samuel

1:4

And so the day came when Elkanah sacrificed; also, he had given portions [of the sacrifice] to Peninnah, his wife, and to all her sons and daughters.

When it came time for Elkanah to offer a sacrifice, he gave portions of this sacrifice to his wife, Peninnah, and to all their sons and daughters.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so was the day and so slaughtered Elkanah and he had given to Peninnah his woman and to all of her sons and her daughters portions.

Septuagint                             And the day came, and Helkana sacrificed, and he gave portions to his wife Phennana and her children.

 

Significant differences:          None which are significant. In the Hebrew, this is fairly straightforward, and it appears as though the Septuagint took some minor liberties with the Hebrew, combining the sons and daughters together. The Septuagint is very literal in the Law, but it takes greater liberties in translating other portions of Scripture.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he gave some of the meat to Peninnah and some to each of her sons and daughters.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he would give portions of it to his wife Peninnah and all her sons and daughters.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And when the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;...

Young’s Updated LT             And the day comes, and Elkanah sacrifices, and he has given to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions,...


What is the gist of this verse? On the day that they went to the Tabernacle to offer up sacrifices, Elkanah gave out measured portions to Peninnah and to her children.


1Samuel 1:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, it often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). In order to indicate that usage, the gender is usually different from the gender of any nearby nouns. However, that is not the case here. The day is also a masculine singular noun. If this should be: And it came to pass the day, then the verb would have been in the feminine singular.

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: And so the day came... We could get away with: And so the day came... (see the Hebrew exegesis). This is a specific day, referring to the day of the gathering and sacrifices. As mentioned before, we do not know for certain which feast is in view here. Although some pick out a particular feast, I think what we find here is a pattern. That is, vv. 1–6 was what happened each time this family attended a religious feast at Shiloh.


1Samuel 1:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâbach (חַבָז) [pronounced zawb-VAHKH]

to slaughter [usually an animal for sacrifice]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2076 BDB #256

Eleqânâh (הָנָקל∵א) [pronounced ele-kaw-NAW]

God has created or God has taken possession of; it is transliterated Elkanah

Masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #511 BDB #46


Translation: ...when Elkanah sacrificed;... We could fudge a bit and allow the second wâw consecutive to be rendered when, as there is no indication that the day mentioned here and the sacrifice of Elkanah were at different times. The purpose seems to place these events together. Therefore, in the more lax translation, we could render this: And so the day came when Elkanah sacrificed...


When reading a book, I truly enjoy an author with a rich and varied vocabulary. However, after dealing with several difficult psalms and several chapters of the book of Job, I can’t tell you how nice it is to deal with an author who has a limited vocabulary. The verb for slaughter is in the imperfect tense, meaning that what took place was seen as a process. He probably had several sacrifices to offer and his wife and children had several sacrifices as well. So the author views all of these sacrifices as an ongoing event.


1Samuel 1:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Peninnâh (הָ̣נפ) [pronounced pen-in-NAW]

transliterated Peninnah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6444 BDB #819

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #802 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

mânâh (הָנָמ) [pronounced maw-NAW]

[properly] something weighed out; a division; a part, a [specific] portion; a lot

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #4490 BDB #584


Translation: ...also, he had given portions [of the sacrifice] to Peninnah, his wife, and to all her sons and daughters. The one day a year when they were to come to the Tent of God and to sacrifice was a great event, and the entire family participated. This does not mean that this is the only spiritual event in their lives; however, this was the once a year, travel to Shiloh and offer a sacrifice—for a family of that time period, this was much more involved than our dropping by the church once a year at Christmas and daydreaming our way through a sermon.


The fact that Elkanah gives each member of the family a portion of the sacrifice indicates that this could be the Feast of the Booths where the harvest is celebrated. “You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil or the first-born of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you will eat them before me your God in the place where Jehovah your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you will rejoice before Jehovah your God in all your undertakings.” (Deut. 12:17–18). Quite obviously, the slaughtering of the animals as a sacrifice to God was combined with the eating of the animals as well in the festive family meals. This at once spoke of the sacrifice of our Lord and our communion with Him. Footnote

 

The comments of Clarke: The sacrifices which were made were probably peace-offerings, of which the blood was poured out at the foot of the altar; the fat was burnt on the fire; the breast and right shoulder were the portion of the priest, and the rest belonged to him who made the offering; on it he and his family feasted, each receiving his portion. Footnote


And to Hannah, he gave a portion one nostrils [or, an extremity], because Hannah he loved and Yehowah had closed her womb.

1Samuel

1:5

And to Hannah, he gave an end piece, because [or, although] he loved Hannah, Yehowah had closed her womb.

He love Hannah, his other wife, but he gave to her an end piece [to signify that she was the end of her line], as Jehovah had closed her womb.


This is the first verse which will require a little work, and that is because we have a minor textual and interpretation problem. However, once we get past that, we will find that we actually have a fairly clever play on words which I don’t believe has ever been properly explained before. First, what the others have done:


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         But to Anna he gave one portion with sorrow, because he loved Anna. And the Lord had shut up her womb..

Masoretic Text                       And to Hannah, he gave a portion one nostrils [or, an extremity], because Hannah he loved and Yehowah had closed her womb.

Peshitta                                 But to Hannah, he gave a double portion, because he loved Hannah, even though the Lord had shut up her womb.

Septuagint                             And to Anna he gave a prime portion, because she had no child, only Helkana loved Anna more than the other; but the Lord closed her womb.

 

Significant differences:          There appears to be some problems with the Hebrew text at this point. In any case, I think the idea is that Elkanah clearly showed Hannah favoritism at these feasts.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he gave some of the meat to Peninnah and some to each of her sons and daughters.

The Message                         When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...but to Hannah he would give one portion only—though [only though: Hebrew uncertain] Hannah was his favorite—for the Lord had closed her womb.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     ...but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb.

Owen's Translation                But to Hannah he would give one portion faces [or, only?] because [although?] Hannah he loved because Yahweh had closed her womb.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and to Hannah he gives a certain portion—double, for he has loved Hannah, and Jehovah has shut her womb;...


What is the gist of this verse? Elkanah either gave a double portion to his wife Hannah or a prime cut, as he loved her, despite the fact that God did not give him children by her.


1Samuel 1:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

mânâh (הָנָמ) [pronounced maw-NAW]

[properly] something weighed out; a division; a part, a [specific] portion; a lot

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4490 BDB #584

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

feminine singular numeral

Strong's #259 BDB #25

aphayim (מ̣י-פ ַא) [pronounced ah-fah-YIM]

face; noses, nostrils, but is also translated brows, face; anger, fierce anger

masculine dual noun

Strong’s #639 BDB #60

This could possibly be the noun....

epheç (ספא) [pronounced EH-fes]

ends, extremities, extremity, extreme limits; ceasing; soles [extremities] of feet in dual

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #657 BDB #67

 

Translation: And to Hannah, he gave an end piece,... This verse begins easily enough: And to Hannah, he gave a portion one... This translation, from the Hebrew, is undisputed. Therefore, you wonder why others have given us such a myriad of interpretations: a double portion (NAB, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV), a certain portion (Young), only one share (REB), only one portion (NJB), one portion (Rotherham, God’s Word™), and a special portion (NLT). What is the problem? It is the next word, which is the masculine plural of aph (ף ַא) [pronounced ahf], which means nose, nostril, face, brow, anger. Strong’s #639 BDB #60. The plural of this word is aphâyîm (מ̣יָפ-א) [pronounced ah-phaw-YEEM]. Now, If we leave out the yodh of the plural form (which is pretty much the smallest consonant in the Hebrew), and combine this with the word for one, that would possibly yield epheç (ס פ א) [pronounced EH-fes] (recall that the vowels were added hundreds and hundreds of years after the original and the Hebrew letter ס Samekh looks just like the ending form of the letter mêm, ם). Footnote epheç means ceasing, end, extremity and expresses non-existence. Strong’s #657 BDB #67. Now, either a slip of the pen in transmission of this text, or an incomplete understanding of the text could have led to the current Hebrew text, which is one nostrils. However, if we combine the words and remove the yodh, we have a translation which might make a little more sense: And to Hannah, he gave one portion, an end [piece]. Although this does not exactly mean a prime portion (as we find in the NASB), that is still possibly a relatively good understanding of what we have here (I will discuss this at length further on down).


The various ancient translations differ on this portion of v. 5.

Ancient Translations of 1Sam. 1:5a

Version

Translation

Chaldee

...one Chosen part... According to Clarke Footnote

Latin Vulgate

But to Anna he gave one portion with sorrow,... [or, because he was sorrowful, he gave her one part]

LXX

He used to give unto Hannah one portion... This is according to Rotherham.

Masoretic Text

And to Hannah, he gave a portion one nostrils [or, an extremity],... According to Clarke Footnote , this reads: ...one portion of two faces...

Peshitta

But to Hannah, he gave a double portion,...

Septuagint

And to Anna he gave a prime portion,...

Syriac

...one double part... [according to Clarke Footnote ]

The Targum

...one choice portion... [according to Gill Footnote ]

As you see, there are even some disagreements as to what some of the ancient versions say. This is quite obviously true of the Hebrew, which inspires a great deal of debate (as we will see in the next two charts). The tremendous amount of debate concerning the Hebrew likely accounts for the lack of agreement of the other ancient versions.

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Of course, the modern translators have to choose a “side,” so to speak. So here is how the modern translators deal with this:

Modern Translations of 1Sam. 1:5a

English Versions

Translation

BBE, The Emphasized Bible, God’s Word™, NAB, Owen, JPS (1985), REB

...he gave one portion [or, part]... [or something very similar]

The Amplified Bible, ESV, HCSB, HNV, JPS (1917), LITV, MKJV, NAB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, WEB, Young’s Literal Translation

...he gave a double portion... [or something very similar]. The MKJV reads ...one double portion...

CEV, KJV, the Message

...he gave Hannah more... [or, a worthy portion]... [or something very similar]

Kukis

...he gave Hannah one end [piece]...

JPS (1985), Kukis, Owen

Indicates that there is confusion or possibly a problem with the text.

I think that it is unfortunate that so few translations indicate that there are problems with this passage. However, given that there is no doctrine that I can think of which depends upon this passage, some may be justified in translating this and moving on as a verse which is not essential to the faith. Footnote

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Although I think that I am onto something, there are a number of other theories and comments about this section of Scripture:

What Are People Saying about Hannah’s Portion of Meat?

Person

Theory/Comments

Barnes

Elkanah gives Hannah a double-portion, akin to what we find in Gen. 43:34. Footnote

Clarke

As the shew-bread that was presented to the Lord was called םי.נ- ם∵ח∵ל (lechem panim), the bread of faces, because it was placed before the face or appearances of the Lord; probably this was called ם ̣י--א ה-נ -מ (manah appayim), because it was the portion that belonged to, or was placed before, the person who had offered the sacrifice. On this ground it might be said that Elkanah gave Hannah his own portion or a part of that which was placed before himself. Whatever it was, it was intended as a proof of his especial love to her; for, it is added, he loved Hannah. Footnote

Gill

The priest had...the breast and the right shoulder, [so] the next best piece he [Elkanah] gave to Hannah; and the word being of the dual number, some render it a double portion; others, "one part of two faces"; which Jerome interprets, which might be received with a cheerful countenance, it was so good and excellent in its kind; others interpret it that he gave it with a sorrowful and displeased countenance, because of the reason following, that she had no children; but Ben Gersom understands it of a part or portion of meat that had two faces or appearances; that he gave her one of the pieces, one part of which was very fat, and the other had no fat on it, so that she might choose what she liked best. Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch

They don’t really come to a conclusion, but kick around many of the ideas we find here. However, they bring up some points not covered before, so let me quote portions of their text: ...to Hannah he gave one portion for two persons [i.e., a double portion] because he loved her, but Jehovah had shut up her womb. I.e., he gave it as an expression of his love to her, to indicate by a sign, “you art as dear to me as if you had born me a child” (O. v. Gerlach). This explanation of the difficult word aphayim (מ̣י-פ ַא) of which very different interpretations have been given, is the one adopted by Tanchum Hieros., and is the only one which can be grammatically sustained, or yields an appropriate sense. The meaning face (faces) is placed beyond all doubt by Gen. 3:19 and other passages. It is true that there are no other passages that can be adduced to prove that the singular aph (ף ַא) was also used in this sense; but as the word was employed promiscuously in both singular and plural in the derivative sense of anger, there is no reason for denying that the singular may also have been employed in the sense of face (πρόσωπον). The meaning double has been correctly adopted in the Syriac, whereas Luther follows the tristis of the Vulgate, and renders the word traurig, or sad. But this meaning, which Fr. Böttcher has lately taken under his protection, cannot be philologically sustained either by the expression in Gen. 4:6, or by Dan. 11:20, or in any other way. aph (ף ַא) does indeed signify anger, but anger and sadness are two very different ideas. But when Böttcher substitutes “angrily or unwillingly” for sadly, the incongruity strikes you at once: “he gave her a portion unwillingly, because he loved her!” Footnote

Kukis

Elkanah gives Hannah an end piece, as she is the end of his line. See 1Sam. 1:5c for more details.

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

...a double portion. The Hebrew phrase, manah achath appayim, is correctly rendered, “a portion for two persons, a double portion;” for aph in Hebrew, and Πρόσωπον in Greek, which literally mean a face, are used for a person. See Gen. 43:34 45:22. Footnote

Okay, I know that I have beat this dead horse half to death, and then went back and kicked it some more; and the reason I do that is, so you don’t have to. I have a 40.3% confidence level in my interpretation; a little more than I do with the idea of one portion with two faces.

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No matter what the interpretation, something was different with the portion which Elkanah gave to Hannah; and the difference was related to what we find below.


1Samuel 1:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

Kîy, like many of the small words in Hebrew, has a large number of uses: ➊ It is used as a relative conjunction, particularly after the verbs seeing, hearing, speaking, knowing, believing remembering, forgetting and in such cases means that. ➋ Although kîy is used for consecution and effect and rendered to that, that; it sometimes has an intensifying force and is rendered so that, so even, even. This is how it is used in this context. ➌ The connective can be used of time and be rendered at that time, which, what time, when. ➍ Kîy can be used of time, but in such a way that it passes over to a demonstrative power where it begins an apodosis (then, so). ➎ It can be used as a relative causal particle: because, since, while, on account that. When we find it several times in a sentence, it can mean because...and or for...and. ➏ It can also have a continuous disjunctive use here and be rendered for...or...or (when the second two kîy’s are preceded by conjunctions). ➐ After a negative, it can mean but (the former must not be done because the latter is to be done).

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

âhêb (בֵה ָא) [pronounced aw-HAYVB]

to desire, to breathe after; to love; to delight in

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #157 BDB #12


Translation: ...because [or, although] he loved Hannah,... Although there are problems with the text, the fact that Elkanah loves Hannah helps to clear up what we will find in the next portion of this verse. By the way, it will makes sense of Elkanah to love Hannah the most—she is not a snitty little bitch like Peninnah is (which we will see in the next verse).


1Samuel 1:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

çâgar (רַג ָס) [pronounced saw-GAHR]

to shut up, to close up

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5462 BDB #688

rechem (םחר) [pronounced REH-khem]

womb; inner parts

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7358 (and #7356) BDB #933


Translation: ...Yehowah had closed her womb. The remainder of the verse is: ...for he loved Hannah and Jehovah had closed her womb. Therefore, it is difficult to determine from this if he gave her a prime portion because he loved her, or if the emphasis is that he gave her one portion, as she had no children. Was Elkanah angry about something? Just why would he give her an end piece and why is that significant? Believe it or not, this is actually a fairly simple verse to understand. There is a textual error, and that is the yodh. Elkanah gives Hannah one piece because she is one person; and he gives her an end piece, or an extremity (and the word implies nonexistence) because her line ends with her. She has no children and will apparently have no children in the future. She is the end of her lineage. The because (or, for) is not so much attached in thought to the fact that he loved Hannah, but more to the fact that God had shut up her womb. Therefore, an ending piece, using a word which simultaneously means nonexistence, is pretty much an inspired use of the word. We are at the end of Hannah’s line, and her children do not exist. Now, how do I explain this so that everyone understands? Elkanah was a man—a guy, if you will—he preferred his wife Hannah, he more or less knew that she was unhappy not to have any children, and he made up for it by being extraordinarily clever when they went to sacrifice to God. You may want to know how being clever—how his almost making light of the situation—spoke to the fact that Hannah was barren and distressed over that fact. Again, I explained this—Elkanah was a guy. Our concept of comforting a woman is not always as evolved as the woman would like it to be. Elkanah figured he was being humorous and clever, that he was injecting a bit of levity into the situation, and in his humor, he expected that this to help to mollify the sadness of Hannah’s heart. Not a great plan, I realize, but he did it year after year, and he did it because he was a guy. I’m not giving an excuse for him here; just an explanation. Centuries hence, theologian’s will refer back to this as the guy theory.


Now, why is it important to mention that Elkanah loved Hannah? This is simple: (1) Elkanah Loves Hannah would have been an excellent name for a pre-television Jewish sitcom; and, (2) the lack of children is not from a lack of trying. Elkanah and Hannah engaged in marital relations, but no children resulted from this union.


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Hannah’s Grief


And provoked her, her adversity—even a provoke anger— for to cause her to tremble because had closed Yehowah round about her womb.

1Samuel

1:6

And her adversity provoked her—even a provoked anger—to cause her to be angered, because Yehowah had closed round about her womb.

Moreover, her adversary provoked her with intense belittling, causing her to be angry, simply because Yehowah had closed up her womb.


In reading through these various translations, you can see that they differ a great deal. And the translators of the Septuagint do not appear to be reading even from the same hymnal (I didn’t exegete the Greek, but simply took Brenton’s English translation).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         Her rival also afflicted her, and troubled her exceedingly, insomuch that she upbraided her, that the Lord had shut up her womb.

Masoretic Text                       And provoked her, her adversity—even a provoke anger— for to cause her to tremble because had closed Yehowah round about her womb.

Peshitta                                 And her rival also taunted her sorely to make her fret because the Lord had shut up her womb.

Septuagint                             For the Lord gave her no child in her affliction, and according to the despondency of her affliction; and she was dispirited on this account, that the Lord shut up her womb so as not to give her a child.

 

Significant differences:          The general idea between the LXX and the MT is the same; however, the LXX does not really mention her adversary, Peninnah. An argument could be made that the MT does not really make mention of her adversary either (see the exegesis below).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Peninnah liked to make Hannah feel miserable about not having any children,...

The Message                         But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that GOD had not given her children.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Because the Lord had made her unable to have children, her rival [Peninnah] tormented her endlessly in order to make her miserable.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Moreover, her rival, to make her miserable, would taunt her that the Lord had closed her womb.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.

Young’s Literal Translation   ...and her adversity has also provoked her greatly, so as to make her tremble, for Jehovah has shut up her womb.


What is the gist of this verse? Peninnah picks away at Hannah and makes fun of her for having no children.


1Samuel 1:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kâ׳aç (ס-עָ) [pronounced kaw-ĢAHS]

to irritate, to provoke

3rd person feminine singular, Piel imperfect with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3707 BDB #494

tsârâh (הָרָצ) [pronounced tzaw-RAW]

distress, anguish, affliction, travail, trouble, distress; possibly, rival, vexer, rival-wife; female adversary, enemy

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #6869 BDB #865

Although this word is found about 70 times in Scripture, this is the only place where it is rendered rival, rival wife, adversary. The idea is, what Peninnah is to Hannah transcends rivalry; she is Hannah’s constant anguish and affliction.

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

ka׳aç (סַעַכ) [pronounced KAH-ģahs]

provoking, taunting, provoked anger, a taunting provocation, highly emotional state which has been provoked; frustration

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3708 BDB #495

 

Translation: And her adversity provoked her—even a provoked anger—... The subject of the verb follows, which is the feminine singular noun tsârâh (ה ָר ָצ) [pronounced tzaw-RAW], and it means anguish, adversity, affliction, travail, trouble and distress. This noun occurs about 70 times in Scripture and only here do we find it rendered rival or adversary. In case you don’t realize what that means, it means that it should not be rendered rival or adversary. Peninnah transcended the state of being Hannah’s rival; she was Hannah’s anguish and adversity. Strong’s #6869 BDB #865. There is no reason to assume that this is anything other than the subject of the verb. This gives us: And her adversity [i.e., Peninnah] provoked her...

 

That was not the difficult part. We then have the adverb gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm], which means also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover; followed by the masculine singular noun ka׳aç (ס ַע ַכ) [pronounced KAH-ģahs], which means provoked anger, highly emotional state which has been provoked, taunting provocation; giving us ...even a provoked anger... As you can see, Hannah is in a highly charged state, and Peninnah seems to be the one who has instigated it all. Two women who are having trouble living under the same roof—who would have thought? Their relationship is ripe for problems; Elkanah clearly prefers one woman over the other, and that has to be apparent. Secondly, one has children by him and the other one does not, which is a very big deal in the ancient world. Thirdly, there are two women under the same roof apparently sleeping with the same man. For all of these reasons, there is going to be trouble in River City.


1Samuel 1:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

baģăbûwr (רבֲע -ב) [pronounced bah-ģub-VOOR]

because of, for, that, for the sake of, on account of, in order that; while

preposition/conjunction; substantive always found combined with the bêyth preposition

Strong’s #5668 BDB #721

Actually a combination of the bêyth preposition (in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before) and ׳âbûwr (רבָע) [pronounced ģawv-BOOR] which means a passing over, a transition; the cause of a crossing over; the price [of transferring ownership of something]; purpose, objective. Properly, it is the passive participle of Strong’s #5674 BDB #720. Strong’s #5668 BDB #721.

râgam (ם-ע ָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHM]

to thunder, to roar from heaven; to provoke to anger, to cause to be angered

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7481 BDB #947

 

Translation: ...to cause her to be angered,... Râgam (ם-עָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHM], means to thunder, to roar from heaven. In this case, it would be reasonable to look at this as what the end result of the thunder would be—the causing of a person to tremble and shake. Strong’s #7481 BDB #947. This gives us: And her adversity provoked her, even a provoked anger, for to cause her to tremble with anger...

 

Gill: Some render this, "because she thundered" against her; that is, Peninnah was exceeding loud and clamorous with her reproaches and scoffs, which were grievously provoking to Hannah. So said Socrates, when Xantippe first scolded at him, and then poured foul water on him: “Did not I say,” says he, “that Xantippe first thunders, and then rains?”  Footnote


Gill tells us that Elkanah was chastised for having two wives. Footnote I don’t know that we can draw that conclusion; however, I think it is safe to say that strife and household drama are normal results when there are two wives living under the same roof. For men who are married, you know that being married to a woman introduces no little drama into the household. Increasing the number of women in a household increases the amount of drama exponentially.


1Samuel 1:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

çâgar (רַג ָס) [pronounced saw-GAHR]

to shut up, to close up

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5462 BDB #688

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ba׳ad (ד ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģad]

by, near; because of; behind, after; about, round about; between [two things], through; into, among; pro, for; away from, behind; on behalf of

generally a preposition of separation or nearness

Strong's #1157 BDB #126

Even though ba׳ad is covered in roughly half a page in both BDB and Gesenius, it still has a great many meanings (and only some of their material overlapped). With verbs of falling, letting down, leaning forward so as to look out, it means through, out through (lit., away from) a window, etc. With verbs of shutting, it means to shut behind, after, up or upon. It can be used as follows: to seal up; to hedge about; to fence round about. It has metaphorical uses: on behalf of, for the sake of, on account of. This preposition can denote nearness, as in by, near; between [two things]; into, among; pro, for (in the sense of exchanging).

rechem (םחר) [pronounced REH-khem]

womb; inner parts

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7358 (and #7356) BDB #933

 

Translation: ...because Yehowah had closed round about her womb. This is almost a repeat from the previous verse, but with the insertion of a preposition: ...for Yehowah had closed round about her womb. However, right before her womb, we have the preposition ba׳ad (ד ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģad], which means for, for the sake of, on account of, on behalf of, behind, upon, round about. Ba׳ad, with a verb indicating closing or shutting, means behind, upon, round about.


This is the kind of behavior that you would expect from two women under the same roof. They both are dependent, emotionally and financially, upon the same man. What Elkanah gives to one, he cannot simultaneously give to the other.

This is the kind of behavior that you would expect from two women under the same roof. They both are dependent, emotionally and financially, upon the same man. What Elkanah gives to one, he cannot simultaneously give to the other. Peninnah is raising his children, and he is obviously going to have some interest in his own children. However, he prefers his wife Hannah, and Elkanah isn’t smart enough to hide this fact (even if he did, there would be problems; but there are even more problems because they both know he prefers Hannah). So, Hannah is jealous of Peninnah because she is bearing her love’s children; Peninnah is jealous of Hannah because the love of her life loves Hannah more. What we then have is the emotional response of the two women. Hannah is like the weak chicken on a farm, and Peninnah is one of the chickens who pecks away at her until she is dead. This is their psychological makeup. Hannah is the vulnerable and introverted one; Peninnah is more aggressive and she will lash out in anger concerning her own insecurities. One of my friends is a very attractive young lady who, whenever she begins a new job, there are almost always jealous women who peck away at her. One place where I worked, there were two ladies who almost daily pecked away at me. Women have the capacity for a vicious tenacity when expressing their inner anger and jealousy. There was little happiness under the Elkanah roof when these two stirred it up. Peninnah would make her comments and she would peck away at Hannah, and Hannah would eventually break down crying. The realities of being married to two women far exceed a man’s imagination. Whatever you think polygamy might be, by way of fun and titillation, the reality of the situation is quite a bit different. Obviously, the biggest problem is their old sin natures. Remove the old sin natures, and they might all get along. ☺


And so he did year by year from an abundance of her going up into a House of Yehowah; so she provoked her [or, she caused her to be provoked] and so she wept and she would not eat.

1Samuel

1:7

And so he [Elkanah] did [this] year by year, as often her going up to the House of Yehowah. So she [Peninnah] provoked her [Hannah] so that she cried and would not eat.

And so this same scenario played itself out year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the House of Jehovah, Peninnah would provoke her, and Hannah would cry and not eat.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And thus she did every year, when the time returned, that they went up to the temple of the Lord: and thus she provoked her: but Anna wept, and did not eat.

Masoretic Text                       And so he did year by year from an abundance of her going up into a House of Yehowah; so she provoked her [or, she caused her to be provoked] and so she wept and she would not eat.

Peshitta                                 And Pannah did this year by year when she went up to the house of the Lord, and thus she provoked her; therefore, Hannah wept and did not eat.

Septuagint                             So she did year by year, in going up to the house of the Lord; and she was dispirited, and wept, and did not eat.

 

Significant differences:          In the MT, it is Elkanah who does this year by year (taking them both to the sacrifice, but given Hannah a greater portion). The verb is a 3rd person feminine singular in the Greek and Latin. We find Pannah’s (Peninnah’s) name in the Peshitta.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...especially when the family went to the house of the LORD each year. One day, Elkanah was there offering a sacrifice, when Hannah began crying and refused to eat.

The Message                         This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of GOD she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.

REB                                       This happened year after year when they went up to the house of the Lord; her rival used to torment her, until she was in tears and would not eat.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         This happened year after year. Whenever Hannah went to the LORD'S house, Peninnah would make her miserable, and Hannah would cry and not eat.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And it happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she would provoke her, so she wept and would not eat.

Young’s Updated LT             And so he does year by year, from the time of her going up into the house of Jehovah, so it provokes her, and she weeps, and does not eat.


What is the gist of this verse? This scene played out year after year; they would all go to the House of Jehovah; Peninnah would provoke Hannah, and Hannah would cry and not eat.


1Samuel 1:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

Given the dozen or so translations which I glanced at, I would have expected this to be the verb for to be.

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040.


Translation: And so he [Elkanah] did [this] year by year,... This simply refers to the modus operandi of Elkanah. When he took his wives up on a Feast Day to Shiloh, he always gave Hannah an end piece of the slaughtered animal.


1Samuel 1:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

day (י ַ) [pronounced dahy]

sufficiency, a large enough quantity, enough, abundance

substantive which can act like an adverb

Strong’s #1767 BDB #191

When day is preceded by min, the meaning is according as, as often as, whenever when followed by an infinitive; also, according to the multitude, abundance; every month, every year, monthly, yearly [in the right context].

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...as often her going up to the House of Yehowah. Altogether, this gives us: And thus he did year by year as often as her going up into a house of Yehowah. He simply refers to Elkanah. What he did year after year is that he gave the end portion of a sacrifice to Hannah, and then gave several pieces to Peninnah and to her children. As her going up refers to Hannah, as she is the primary subject of this passage. As discussed, Elkanah no doubt felt that he was being clever, not realizing that Hannah did not look upon his distribution of the slaughtered meat as being clever. As you no doubt realize, many men do things which they feel are clever, which things push their wives pretty much to the point of the boundaries of their patience.


I should mention that there is a slight difference in the Latin Vulgate, as is apparent in the REB rendering. Instead of Hannah going up year by year, it is they went up (which is what the REB adopted from the Vulgate).


Now, we needn’t make much out of the House of Jehovah here. This does not mean that we are speaking of the Temple. Wherever God appeared to reside was called His House. God resided in the Holy of Holies, the portion of the Tent of God wherein the High Priest only ventured once a year, and with great trepidation. It is not the normal vernacular applied to the Tent of God, but, again, there is no reason to make more out of this than we have to. What might be implied is, this was a more or less established city for the Tabernacle of God.


1Samuel 1:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

kâ׳aç (ס-עָ) [pronounced kaw-ĢAHS]

to irritate, to provoke

3rd person feminine singular, Piel imperfect with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3707 BDB #494


Translation: So she [Peninnah] provoked her [Hannah]... Although we are not given any specifics, it appears as thought Peninnah is intentionally aggravating Hannah—and it appears that she does so, more than just by having been fertile. That is, Hannah is not just getting worked up over this on her own, but Peninnah, in some way, is driving this point home.


Application: Peninnah was upset because Elkanah loved Hannah more. Hannah was upset because Peninnah bore Elkanah’s children. No matter what sort of life you have, there is someone who has, from your perspective, a better life—that is, they have more money, a nicer house, better children, a better looking husband or wife, and better job. It is a big mistake to look on the things which others have with great desire. The 10th commandment deals with this. Furthermore, it is a tremendous mistake to be involved in verbal sins because you perceive that someone is better off than you. You need to be satisfied with what God has given you. Let’s just take a simple example: your house—or wherever you live—someone has a nicer house. You probably have a friend with a nicer house; you’ve probably been inside and thought, “I’d rather live here.” Or you have seen pictures. It is nearly impossible to live anywhere and not know of someone who has a nicer house. So what? With a little doctrine, you can learn to be happy with what you have.


1Samuel 1:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37


Translation: ...so that she cried and would not eat. This scene has been played out for several years in a row. Peninnah had a couple children and the five (or more) of them made the trek up to the House of God. Elkanah has this brilliant idea to give Hannah the end piece of a sacrifice, as she had no children. Every year or two, Peninnah would have another child, and Elkanah continued this tradition. Peninnah would do her level best to make Hannah feel crappy about being unable to conceive. Furthermore, Hannah realized that she was a Levite living like an Ephraimite; and so her entire family. All of this weighed heavy on Hannah’s heart.


And so said to her, Elkanah her man, “Hannah, why do you cry and why do you not eat and why is injured your heart? Am I not better to you from ten sons?”

1Samuel

1:8

So Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why don’t you eat and why is your heart breaking? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

So Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Why are you crying, Hannah? Why don’t you eat? Why do you seem to be heartbroken? Aren’t I better to you than ten sons?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said to her, Elkanah her man, “Hannah, why do you cry and why do you not eat and why is injured your heart? Am I not better to you from ten sons?”

 

eptuagint                        And Helkana her husband said, to her, “Anna.” And she said to him, “Here [am] I, my lord.” And he said to her, “What bothers you that you cry? And why do you not eat? And why does your heart strike you? Am I not better to you than ten children?”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences; the LXX adds some text which does not really sound right nor does it add anything to the narrative. My guess is that it was inserted by some man who was having trouble asserting his authority at home. Shows that she snaps to attention when he summons her.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So Elkanah asked, "Hannah, why are you crying? Why won't you eat? Why do you feel so bad? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"

The Message                         Her husband Elkanah said, "Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren't you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Her husband Elkanah would ask her, "Hannah, why are you crying? Why haven't you eaten? Why are you so downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Elkanah 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 better to you than ten sons?”

Young’s Updated LT             And Elkanah her husband says to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat?  And why is your heart afflicted? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”


What is the gist of this verse? Elkanah, like most husbands, is in the dark about this. He does not understand what is wrong with Hannah and makes an attempt to sooth her.


1Samuel 1:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Eleqânâh (הָנָקל∵א) [pronounced ele-kaw-NAW]

God has created or God has taken possession of; it is transliterated Elkanah

Masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #511 BDB #46

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113


Translation: So Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why don’t you eat... Now, isn’t this basic situation played out in household after household up until this day? The woman is upset about something, and her husband tries to comfort her, although he does not really see the point in her being upset.


1Samuel 1:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

râ׳a׳ (ע ַע ָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHĢ]

to make a loud noise; to be evil [from the idea of raging or being tumultuous]; to be bad, to displease; possibly to be unpleasant and embittering; to break, to shatter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7489 BDB #949

lêbab (בַבֵל) [pronounced lay-BAHBV]

mind, inner man, inner being, heart

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3824 BDB #523

 

Translation: ...and why is your heart breaking? The verb here is the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of râ׳a׳ (ע ַע ָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHĢ], which means to be evil, to be bad, displeasing, injurious. Originally, this word meant to make a loud noise and various roots refers to crushing or breaking. It came to mean to be evil from the idea of raging and tumultuous, which is the result of having a bad disposition. In the Hiphil, it means to make evil, to do evil, to do ill, to cause to do evil, to cause something injurious to be done. Strong’s #7489 BDB #949. The subject is heart. And so Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, Why do you cry and why do you not eat and why is your heart injured?” Now, isn’t this what you would expect? What has been played out year after year—Elkanah giving an end piece to Hannah because her line has ended; Peninnah pecking away at Hannah; Hannah crying—this happened year after year. To set a pattern, this would have had to have happened at least 3–4 times, and probably closer to a dozen times. Now, Elkanah finally asks Hannah what is wrong. If you are a woman reading this, you’re thinking, how can he be that dense? If you are a guy reading this, you’re wondering, Yeah, what is the problem here anyway? What we find in this passage is very typical male and female behavior. Most married men have experienced the cold shoulder from their wives, and they ask what is wrong, and the wife is even more furious because the husband either doesn’t know or acts as though he doesn’t know—therefore, she sure as hell is not going to tell him.


1Samuel 1:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me

1st person singular personal pronoun (sometimes a verb is implied)

Strong’s #580 BDB #59

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine feminine singular adjective which acts like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: Am I not better to you than ten sons?” Elkanah thinks that his preferential treatment of Hannah should be more than enough compensation for what she feels. Because of this treatment, Peninnah is angered and she pecks away at Hannah, making her feel worse. Elkanah sees no problem here. Peninnah has his children but Hannah has his strongest love and devotion. It all evens out in Elkanah’s mind.


This is fairly straightforward, but I want you to notice exactly how Hannah responded. The Bible is a book of reality and Hannah responds to Elkanah like any woman would have responded. This has been going on for years. It is pretty obvious what is happening (obvious to everyone but Elkanah). Notice what she says. Nothing. Now, is the Bible not real, or what? Is that not how a woman would respond?


And so that you don’t think I am just one-sided regarding this, isn’t Elkanah’s reaction typical? Isn’t it obvious that he does not seem to have a clue? The man generally has little if any idea what is going on in the brain of his woman; when you add another woman to this mix, the change is exponential. The man is not just twice as confused, but clueless to the tenth power.


When you examine what is occurring here and the way this man relates to these two women, do you see how timeless Scripture is? Do you see how closely this approaches your real life?


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


If you don’t mind, please allow me a tangent at this point, to discuss...

Just How Bad Can a Commentary Be?

I have been quite lucky in the commentaries which I have chosen. I have access to about a dozen commentaries and they are generally very good to outstanding. However, now and again, I buy one on sale, e.g., 1 & 2 Samuel by Gnana Robinson. He brings a lot to the table when he begins this commentary, and misinterprets this first chapter and Hannah because of the baggage he carries.

Hannah stands here as a doubly discriminated against, distressed woman, a typical representative of oppressed women at all times. First, she is discriminated against by a male chauvinistic Israelite society. It treated women simply as part of a man’s possessions...Second, the fact that she had not produced any children, especially male children, became another social stigma upon her. She was discriminated against still further on account of this biological fact of life, though no fault of her own. Elkanah treated her with partiality and discriminated against her when it came to sharing the portions from the sacrifices, over against Peninnah and her children. Hannah suffered utter humiliation under this double discrimination and was troubled sorely...


It is worth noting that Hannah, instead of praying for a child prays particularly for a son. Even her prayer is conditioned by the society in which she lived. Here again she is the typical representative of many Asian women today, who much prefer to bear male children. In a clinic in Bombay, 8,000 abortions were performed in one year, out of which 7,999 were identified to be female fetuses. We are also reminded here of the shocking stories of the killing of female children in China, where, because of the government’s “one child policy,” parents kill their female babies to allow them to continue trying for a male child...


The writer of 1 Samuel does not raise the question whether Hannah can make such a vow without the consent of her husband. Again, he would never have thought of Elkanah as stemming from Levi’s line, for in that case the vow would have been superfluous. He also seems to be unaware of the law regarding the firstborn, according to which every male that opens the womb already belongs to Yahweh.*

The author misunderstood that Hannah was Elkanah’s favorite wife and that he did not do anything intentionally untoward to her. Praying for a son goes hand in hand with the spiritual service she expects him to engage in. The illustrations given are tragic, but are completely out of synch with what we find in this chapter of 1Samuel. Am I reading that the abortions are okay, but the fact that they were mostly female is disturbing? With regards to the final paragraph, (1) Scripture allows a woman to make a vow, and the husband can overrule it (as we have discussed); (2) the dedication of this son from a man who should be living the life of a Levite is not superfluous (even if he was living that life, it would not be; Samuel’s lifelong dedication was unique); (3) the fact that the firstborn belongs to Jehovah, regardless of the tribe, is still not the same as what Hannah promised of her son. My point is, this author came from a set of beliefs and misinterpreted pretty much everything that he commented on. You cannot take the popular values of your generation and superimpose them on Scripture. Let Scripture be Scripture. If you disagree with it, fine! Be a man and say, I disagree. Don’t twist it to say what you want it to. I’ll guarantee you that there have been many times when I approached a passage with a particular interpretation which, after examining it in depth, I had to junk that interpretation and go with what was there.

*  Gnana Robinson, 1 & 2 Samuel; from the International Theological Commentary series; Wm. B. Eerdmans’s Publishing Co., Grand Rapids ©1993, pp. 13, 16–17.


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Hannah’s Vow


And so rose up Hannah after she had eaten in Shiloh and after drinking. And Eli the priest was sitting upon the seat [of honor] beside a doorpost of a Temple of Yehowah.

1Samuel

1:9

Later, Hannah got up after she had eaten in Shiloh and after drinking. Simultaneously, Eli the priest was sitting on the throne beside the doorposts [i.e., entrance] of the Temple of Yehowah.

Later, after Hannah had eaten, she arose. At the same time, Eli the priest was sitting on his seat of honor next to the entrance to the Temple of Jehovah.



Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         So Anna arose after she had eaten and drunk in Silo: And Heli, the priest, sitting upon a stool before the door of the temple of the Lord.

Masoretic Text                       And so rose up Hannah after she had eaten in Shiloh and after drinking. And Eli the priest was sitting upon the seat [of honor] beside a doorpost of a Temple of Yehowah.

Peshitta                                 So Hannah rose up after she had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, and she went up to the house of the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting upon a seat by the port of the temple of the Lord.

Septuagint                             And Anna rose up after they had eaten in Selom, and stood before the Lord. And Heli the priest was on a seat by the threshold of the temple of the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          The Hebrew and Latin appear to be identical. In the Hebrew, it is implied in this verse and the next that Hannah went to the house of Jehovah; it is stated in the Peshitta; and she stands before Jehovah in the LXX. The slight difference in the second line could simply be a matter of translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to GOD's Temple in the customary seat.

The Message                         So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to GOD's Temple in the customary seat.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         One day, after Hannah had something to eat and drink in Shiloh, she got up. (The priest Eli was sitting on a chair by the door of the Lord's temple.)


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

NRSV                                    After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

Young’s Updated LT             And Hannah rises after eating in Shiloh, and after drinking, and Eli the priest is sitting on the throne by the side-post of the temple of Jehovah.


What is the gist of this verse? Hannah, at the conclusion of the family meal, goes to the Tabernacle of Jehovah; and Eli, the priest, is sitting by the entrance (probably the entrance to the Tabernacle itself rather than the courtyard.


1Samuel 1:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Shilôw (ל̣ש) [shi-LOH]

quiet, relaxed, prosperous; transliterated Shiloh

proper noun locale

Strong’s #7887 BDB #1017

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

shâthâh (הָתָש) [pronounced shaw-THAW]

to drink [actually or metaphorically]; to drink together [at a banquet]

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #8354 BDB #1059


Translation: Later, Hannah got up after she had eaten in Shiloh and after drinking. Qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom], which means to stand, to rise up. This is not the simple word for to arise, to get up. It is often used to mean to take a stand. Hannah gets up with resolve; she has been thinking this matter over and she has a plan of action. When she stands up, it is more than standing up; Hannah is getting up with the resolve to do something.


Hannah had eaten and drunk, although, apparently, not very much (compare v. 8). Furthermore, she did not drink any alcohol at this meal (v. 15).


We are in the same place—Shiloh. While Hannah eats, she thinks. When she finishes, she has determined what she must do. The Septuagint makes more sense at this point. Rather than Hannah eating and drinking, she stands up before the Lord or she presents herself to the Lord. In the Hebrew, there is really no way for one phrase to be mistaken for the other. We either had a copyist’s error, or the text was perhaps unreadable at this point, and a copyist simply filled in the best they could (they recognized that there was text which belonged here, but did not really know what it was, so they inserted and drinking). In any case, we do not know for certain, but you will notice that the NRSV (which follows the Septuagint at this point) is a more logical read than the NASB (this, by the way, does not necessarily mean that the LXX is more accurate—according to the rules of textual criticism, you take the least likely reading, when readings are different). Footnote


I have read several books about contradictions and errors in the Bible, but not one of them cites this passage. What is the supposed contradiction? V. 7 says Hannah would not eat and here, in v. 9, we are speaking of what happens after she eats. No one cites this as a contradiction, because there are two simple possibilities: (1) customarily, she does not eat when Elkanah gives her this end-portion of meat, and she does not eat because she is upset; however, on this occasion, she did eat. (2) When it says that Hannah does not eat, the idea is, she does not eat much; she does not eat a full meal. She pokes at the food; she takes a bite; most of the food is still on her plate when she is done. (3) Hannah later regains her appetite and has a bite to eat by herself. In any case, she can stand up after eating; and more than likely, the idea is, she did not eat too much. Most other alleged contractions which we find in Scripture are just as easy to explain.


1Samuel 1:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳êlîy (י.ל̤ע) [pronounced ģay-LEE]

transliterated Eli

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5941 BDB #750

kôhên (ן ֵהֹ) [pronounced koh-HANE]

priest

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #3548 BDB #463

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

kiççê (א ֵ̣) [pronounced kis-SAY]

throne, seat of honor; seat of judgment

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3678 BDB #490

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

mezûwzâh (הָזזמ) [pronounced me-zoo-SAW]

side post, door-post, gate-post; door frame

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #4201 BDB #265

This is analogous to our door frame. The singular emphasizes the singular nature of the door frame (which is just the opposite of our concept of a pair of pants).

hêychâl (לָחי̤ה) [pronounced hay-SHAWL]

a large, magnificent building; a palace, a palace of [Jehovah]; a temple, a portion of the Temple

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1964 BDB #228

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Simultaneously, Eli the priest was sitting on the throne beside the doorposts [i.e., entrance] of the Temple of Yehowah. Eli, as we will find, is a big man, and he does a lot of sitting. The Qal active participle seems to imply this—it is a continuous action. He is sitting upon the throne, the seat of honor, the judgment seat. This both gives us Eli’s official position, which is both judge and High Priest, sitting in the place of honor. It also gives us his general position, which is sitting around a lot.


This seat of honor could have been in front of the Tent of God or right at the entrance to the courtyard around the Tent of God (I believe it to be the former). When one went to the Tent of God in those days, they expected to find Eli sitting on this seat of honor.


According to Freeman, there was often a seat placed in a courtyard for the master of a house or for a judge over other men’s affairs. Generally, these chairs were backless and were placed next to a wall or a post or tree so that the one sitting could have some sort of back support. There are several Assyrian monuments which have representations of these backless chairs. Footnote


Eli is both the High Priest and a judge. He will be replaced by Samuel, who will be a priest, a judge and a prophet (Samuel will essentially bridge the gap between the judges and the prophets).

 

Then we have the masculine singular construct of hêychâl (לָחי̤ה) [pronounced hay-KHAWL], which means palace, temple. Strong’s #1964 BDB #228. Now, quite frankly, this is not a noun that we would have expected to find here. 99% of the time, when we find this word, we expect Solomon’s Temple (or, Herod’s Temple). In fact, this is the first place in Scripture that we find this particular word used. We find it used in this way in 1Sam. 3:3 and Psalm 5:7, which is a Davidic psalm. But most of the time, it refers to the throne room of God in the third heaven (2Sam. 22:7) or to Solomon’s Temple (e.g., 1Kings 6:3, 5, 17). We would expect the Tent of Jehovah; we would expect the word ohel (ל הֹא) [pronounced OH-hel], which is translated tent, tabernacle, house. Strong's #168 BDB #13. Most of the time, we find ohel when referring to the Tent of God, but here, we do not find it. My thinking is that, after the period of the judges, this Tent of God became more and more established; the area around it was built up. It was no longer this tent sitting in the middle of a wilderness, but there was an aura about it, so to speak. Possibly there was another large house nearby which was the courthouse; there were certainly sleeping quarters associated with it in 1Sam. 3:2–3 and doors in 1Sam. 3:15. In any case, finding this word here seems to indicate that there was more than a simple tent here, although we have no more details (this does not mean that we find hêychâl from hereon in—we find ohel in the book of Samuel as well, occasionally referring to the Tent of Jehovah—e.g., 1Sam. 2:22 2Sam. 6:17).


Another reason that we have this particular designation is that, the time of the judges was a particularly degenerate period of time, and several of the practices of worship were not fully in accordance with Scripture (we will see this not only in the behavior of Eli’s sons in 1Sam. 2, but in the tradition which existed prior to their twisting of that tradition). One of the more minor changes was referring to the Tent of God as the Temple of God. Anyway, this gives us: And Eli the priest was sitting upon the seat [of honor] beside the door posts of [the] Temple of Jehovah. What the NIV Study Bible suggests is that we have a much larger and more permanent complex here. Footnote There appears to be some sort of a sleeping quarters nearby (1Sam. 3:2, 15). Since the Tent of God had been at Shiloh for a couple centuries, it is possible that a living area for the High Priest had been added to it, or was made adjacent to it. It would be reasonable that other rooms for various purposes would also have been added, the end result being a semi-permanent structure. This would make Solomon’s building of a temple a century or so later less revolutionary in concept and more of a logical next step.


Finally, we have already discussed that the use of this word here would indicate a pre-Solomon author rather than a post-Solomon author for the book of Samuel in the introduction to this book and in the introduction to this chapter. A post Solomon author would not use this word to refer to the Tabernacle; he would only use it for the Temple of Jehovah built by Solomon.


And she [was] bitter of soul; and so she prays unto Yehowah and a crying she cries.

1Samuel

1:10

And she [was] bitter [in her] soul so she prayed to Yehowah; and she cried continuously.

Her soul was sad and bitter because of her barrenness, so cried prayed intensely to Jehovah, crying as she did.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And she [was] bitter of soul; and so she prays unto Yehowah and a crying she cries.

Septuagint                             And she [was] very much grieved in spirit, and she prayed to the Lord, and she wept abundantly.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Hannah was brokenhearted and was crying as she prayed,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Though she was resentful, she prayed to the Lord while she cried.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And she, greatly distressed [lit., bitter of soul], prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.

Young’s Updated LT             And she is bitter in soul, and prays unto Jehovah, and weeps greatly,...


What is the gist of this verse? Hannah is in a high charged emotional state when she prays to Jehovah; and she is crying while she prays.


1Samuel 1:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

mârâh (ר-מ) [pronounced maw-RAW]

bitter, bitterness

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #4751 BDB #600

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun; pausal form

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659


Translation: And she [was] bitter [in her] soul... We also find the phrase, bitter of soul (or something very similar) in Job 3:20 7:11 10:1 21:25 27:2 (if anyone had a reason to be upset with his life, it would be Job).


1Samuel 1:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

pâlal (ל ַל ָ) [pronounced paw-LAHL]

to pray, to intercede, to make intercession for, to ask for a favorable determination

3rd person feminine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #6419 BDB #813.

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

 

Translation: ...so she prayed to Yehowah;... Then we have the 3rd person feminine singular, Hithpael imperfect of pâlal (ל ַל ָ) [pronounced paw-LAHL], which means, in the Piel to judge and in the Hithpael to pray. This is not the common word used for either of those verbs. This is followed by unto Yehowah, which gives us: And she [was] bitter of soul so she prayed unto Yehowah.


Application: Now and again you are going to be very emotional about this or that. Some crisis will occur in your life; some problem will continue to crop up—here is how you handle it: you pray to Jehovah God. Now, there are other things which we can do—make certain we are in fellowship and take in God’s Word; however, prayer is also an option. Please see Luke 11:8-10 18:1 Eph. 6:18 Col. 4:2 1Thess. 5:17.


1Samuel 1:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113

 

Translation: ...and she cried continuously. We find the ver, bâkâh (ה ָכ ָ) [pronounced baw-KAW], twice. It means to weep, to cry. First bâkâh is in the Qal infinitive absolute and the second in the 3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect, which gives us: ...and crying, she cried. Repetition of a verb in the Hebrew is often used to intensify the verb. Hannah is in a highly emotionally charge state at this point.


For some women, particularly in the ancient world, having children was a natural fulfillment of their lives, and a complement to their husbands. In society, we have certain expectations. In Jewish society, a woman expected to marry and then have children. This was sort of a minimal expectation. It is not unlike the college student who graduates and then expects to start working in his field of study. For Hannah to lack this fulfillment, this was very difficult for her emotionally.

You cannot go from one age to the next and expect that you will be married, that you will have children, that you will have a job, that you will have a house, or anything else.


Application: Regardless of what you have been led to believe, there is no minimum set of expectations in this life. You cannot go from one age to the next and expect that you will be married, that you will have children, that you will have a job, that you will have a house, or anything else. Whatever it is that we do have is God’s grace. Whatever it is that we feel we lack, we go to God in prayer about (which, by the way, does not guarantee that we will get what we think we should have).


Application: Particularly when you are dealing with something over which you have no control, your emotion regarding this is worthless. You do not gain anything by being upset, in tears, angry, anxious, etc. As Jesus said, “Because of this I say to you, do not worry about your life--what you shall eat, or what you shall drink--nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap, nor do they gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they? Which of you by worrying is able to add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither labor, nor spin; and yet I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these. But if God thus clothes the grass of the field, which exists today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we put on?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own affairs. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:25–34).


Application: I don’t care who you are, how much money you have, how much you were born with by way of intelligence and good looks, you will have problems in life. That is a given. I have even found myself making the mistake of thinking, “Well, if I just do this or that, I can rid myself of this particular annoyance.” Some people look to simplify their lives, with the idea that, the simpler their lives our, the fewer problems they will face. Troubles and difficulties are a part of this life. No one, no matter what their station of life, can get around this. We will all have problems; we will never get away from that. From age 0 up to age dead, you will have problems. How much you choose to allow these problems to interfere with your life is an entirely different matter. Being stressed out or upset over your problems is not a given—that is your choice.


Now, Hannah is too emotionally upset over all of this; however, she is dealing with this as a woman should. She does not punch out Peninnah (or Elkanah); she does not leave him; she does not throw a fit during their family dinners (although she does eat very little). What she does, when facing this problem that she views as serious, is go to God in prayer. That is a reasonable approach, and something which men and women all over the world would be better for taking this same approach.


Furthermore, I believe that Hannah had something on her mind—that is, she was mulling over what she was willing to do in order to have a son. We will see what she is willing to promise in the next verse:


And so she vowed a vow and so she said, “Yehowah of [the] armies, if a looking You will look in an affliction of Your maidservant and You have remembered me and you do not forget Your maidservant and You have given to Your maidservant a seed of men and I have given him to Yehowah all [the] days of his livings and a razor will not ascend upon his head.”

1Samuel

1:11

Then she promised a promise and said, “Yehowah of the armies, if You will look carefully at the affliction of Your maidservant and [if] You remember me and [if] You have not forgotten Your maidservant, then [if] You give the seed of men to Your maidservant, then I will give him to Yehowah all the days of his life, and a razor will not come upon his head.”

Then she gave a passionate vow, saying, “Jehovah of the armies, if You even know who I am, please see my affliction. Give to me fertile eggs that I may have a child, and I will dedicate him to You for his entire life, and his hair will never be cut.”



The run-on sentence indicates the passionate plea of Hannah (which was apparently much longer). Here’s how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And she made a vow, saying: “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt look down, and wilt be mindful of me, and not forget thy handmaid, and wilt give to thy servant a manchild: I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”

Masoretic Text                       And so she vowed a vow and so she said, “Yehowah of [the] armies, if a looking You will look in an affliction of Your maidservant and You have remembered me and you do not forget Your maidservant and You have given to Your maidservant a seed of men and I have given him to Yehowah all [the] days of his livings and a razor will not ascend upon his head.”

Septuagint                             And she vowed a vow to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God of Sabaoth, if You will indeed look upon the humiliation of Your handmaid, and remember me, and give to Your handmaid a man-child, then I will indeed dedicate him to You till the day of his death; and he will drink no wine or intoxicants, and no razor will come upon his head.

 

Significant differences:          There are some very minor differences in the LXX, which differ from the Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic, which are pretty much all in agreement with one another. The LXX also adds in that this son would “...drink no wine or intoxicants;” which is a part of the Nazarite vows.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Lord All-Powerful, I am your servant, but I am so miserable! Please let me have a son. I will give him to you for as long as he lives, and his hair will never be cut.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        And she made this vow: “O Lord of Hosts, if You will look upon the suffering of Your maidservant and will remember me and not forget Your maidservant, and if You will grant Your maidservant a male child, I will dedicate him to the Lord for all the days of his life; and no razor shall ever touch his head.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And she made 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 Thy maidservant a son [lit., seed of men] then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

NRSV                                    She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a Nazirite [that is, one separated or one consecrated] until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor will touch his head.”

Young’s Updated LT             ...and [she] vows a vow, and says, “Jehovah of Hosts, if You certainly look on the affliction of Your handmaid, and You have remembered me, and You do not forget Your handmaid, and have given to Your handmaid see of men—then I have given him to Jehovah all days of his life, and a razor does not go up upon his head.”


What is the gist of this verse? Hannah vows to dedicate her son to Jehovah Elohim if He will give her a son. This is very likely a Nazirite vow.


1Samuel 1:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâdar (רַדָנ) [pronounced naw-DAHR]

to vow, to make a promise, to make a commitment, to give a word of assurance concerning a matter, to give one’s personal and honorable guarantee, to make a solemn oath or pledge to do or not to do a thing

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5087 BDB #623

nêder (רדֵנ) [pronounced NAY-der]

a vow, a promise, a personal guarantee, the giving of one’s word of assurance, a commitment

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5088 BDB #623


Translation: Then she promised a promise... We covered the concept of vows back in Num. 30:2. However, we should take note of the fact that vows were quite common during the period of the judges (Judges 11:30 21:5 1Sam. 14:24). Then we have and so she said, giving us: And so she vowed a vow [or, committed (herself) to a commitment] and so she said... What follows, of course, is the content of her prayer and her commitment to God, which is one of the longest sentences in Scripture.


1Samuel 1:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

tsebâôwth (תאָבצ) [pronounced tzeb-vaw-OHTH]

armies, wars

masculine plural noun, simply the plural of Strong’s #6635, but often used in titles

Strong’s #6635 BDB #838


Translation: ...and said, “Yehowah of the armies,... I found this quite interesting. We have already dealt with the introduction of this title of God in the book of Samuel; however, it is quite interesting that Hannah would use it. She is not a general about to lead an army to war. She is a woman praying to God about being barren. The key is, God is the God of an angelic host—an angelic army, if you will—and if God commands all of the angels, then such a God is able to grant her request.

 

Gill: This is properly the first time this title was used by any that we know of; for though it is expressed in 1Sam. 1:3 there it is used as the words of the writer of this history, and so long after this prayer was put up; it is an observation in the Talmud, that from the day God created the world, no man called him the Lord of hosts till Hannah came and called him so. Footnote


1Samuel 1:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

When following an oath, either stated or implied, îm, by itself, functions as an emphatic negative.

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳ŏnîy (י̣נֳע) [pronounced ģon-EE]

affliction, poverty, humility, humiliation

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6040 BDB #777

âmâh (הָמָא) [pronounced aw-MAW]

maid, maidservant, handmaid, female servant female slave

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #519 BDB #51


Translation: ...if You will look carefully at the affliction of Your maidservant... Jesus Christ is the Jehovah of the armies; implied in that is great responsibility. She asks for this God to look at her and her life for a moment.


1Samuel 1:11d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zâkar (ר ַכ ָז) [pronounced zaw-KAHR]

to remember, to recall, to call to mind

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2142 BDB #269

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâkach (ח ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHKH]

to forget; to forget and leave

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7911 BDB #1013

This verb, although found many times in Job, the Psalms and Jeremiah (mostly, but not exclusively, in poetical works), it is only found twice in 1Samuel.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âmâh (הָמָא) [pronounced aw-MAW]

maid, maidservant, handmaid, female servant female slave

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #519 BDB #51

 

Translation: ...and [if] You remember me and [if] You have not forgotten Your maidservant,... She begins with the hypothetical particle if, followed by the Qal infinitive absolute and the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of to see, giving us: If a seeing you see or If a looking You will look... As mentioned in the previous verse, this is an intensification of the verb. We then have the masculine singular construct of ׳ŏnîy (י ̣נ ֳע) [pronounced ģon-EE], which means affliction, poverty, humility, humiliation. Then we have the feminine singular noun âmâh (הָמָא) [pronounced aw-MAW], which means maid, maidservant, handmaid, female servant female slave. Often, it is used as a term of humility, rather than one of actual station (Ruth 3:9 1Sam. 1:15 25:24—this word, by the way, will occur thrice in this verse). So note, we have two terms for humility here as well as two occurrences of the verb to see. This gives us: “If a looking You look and You have remembered me and You do not forget Your maidservant and You have given to Your maidservant...”


I must admit, when I find a prayer where the one giving the prayer asks for God to remember him, that I chuckle a bit to myself. As if God has somehow forgotten about you? Even though God is eternal, God does not have senior moments; He does not say, “Oh, hell, I completely forgot about Charlie Brown. I certainly hope he’s doing okay. Perhaps I should look in on him.” We are in God’s perfect thinking from eternity past to eternity future. God has known every fibre of our being. He knows the mundanely complex, e.g. the number of molecules in our body; and He knows our every thought and motivation. He knew these things prior to our birth and this information remains with Him every moment (I am speaking of God as though He is subject to time). What does it mean when someone prays to God to ask Him not to forget them? Simple—it means that the person giving the prayer is the one who actually has forgotten God. They have gone for a significant portion of their lives—perhaps a few months and perhaps several years—without giving any real thought to God. Then they find themselves in a jam or the desire something, and suddenly, they remember God speak to Him in prayer. Let’s say you have forgotten about God; you have decided to lead your life for a few years without paying any real mind to Him. Then, suddenly, the roof falls in. Your life falls apart. Then you run to God and ask Him to remember you. Listen, your life fell apart because you chose to run it. The roof fell in upon you because that was God getting your attention. That was His statement letting you know that He not only has not forgotten you, but has been keeping close tabs on your life. He decided that it was time for Him to act to get your attention.


1Samuel 1:11e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmâh (הָמָא) [pronounced aw-MAW]

maid, maidservant, handmaid, female servant female slave

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #519 BDB #51

zera׳ (ע -ר∵ז) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing, an offspring

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...then [if] You give the seed of men to Your maidservant,... The problem was not a matter of sex; the implication of vv. 5–6 is that Elkanah and Hannah had a good relationship. There was a problem of conceiving, and the use of zera׳ appears to be less literal and more referring to simply conceiving and having children.


Hannah is requesting a male child here. Although there is some discussion of this by theologians, she asks for the seed of men here and vows that a razor will not be taken to his head (the sort of vow which is never applied to women in recorded practice Footnote ).


1Samuel 1:11f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

1st person singular, Qal perfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee]

life

substantive; masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #2416 BDB #311


Translation: ...then I will give him to Yehowah all the days of his life,... In her vow, Hannah says, “You give me a son and I will give my son to You.” Although it will never be stated, Hannah desires more than this son whom she will give back to God. However, she does not pray for two sons—one for her and one for God; she simply prays for this one son.

 

Clarke: Samuel, as a descendant of the house of Levi, was the Lord’s property from twenty-five years of age till fifty [see Num. 8:24]; but the vow here implies that he should be consecrated to the Lord from his infancy to his death, and that he should not only act as a Levite, but as a Nazarite, on whose head no razor should pass. Footnote


The next portion begins with a wâw conjunction, but it operates more as the then of an apodosis following the protasis introduced by the if (I don’t believe that we have a separate word in the Hebrew which would correspond to the English word then, with respect to an if...then... sentence). Hannah then repeats the verb to give (the morphology is the 1st person singular, 3rd person masculine singular suffix, Qal perfect) and gives the object of the verb: to Yehowah. So far, we have: “If a looking You look and You have remembered me and You do not forget Your maidservant and You have given to Your maidservant a seed of men, then I have given him to Yehowah...” Here is one place where the Hebrew and Greek differ—in the Greek, she does not give him to Jehovah, but she dedicates him to You.


One interesting point which I came across in my readings is Hannah’s prayer here—is it right to bargain with God? It appears that Hannah is telling God, You give me a son, and I will give Him to You. That is, You give me this and I will give You that. Hard Sayings of the Bible points out that Hannah approaches her barrenness and God’s involvement in a fashion similar to that of several other barren women in Scripture. Her request is not a demand nor is it threatening. Her prayer is not formal, contrived or ritualistic. It is direct as any might wish it to be. If only God would look, if only he would remember her and if only he would give her a son, she vowed that she would not grow proud, forgetful or ungrateful; on the contrary, she would give this son...back to God. God was not obligated to answer her. But the fact that he did indicates that he judged her motives to be right and her request appropriate. Footnote And more importantly, always bear in mind her background. She and Elkanah should have been Levites in service to the Tent of God. They were not living in a Levitical city; they were perhaps the product of an inter-married family; and there was possibly a plan for their lives which they were not following as they should. This was a very important aspect of her prayer to God, one that is consistently overlooked. It also explains how she, as a woman, could pray such a prayer and give her son away at such an early age.

 

The next portion is also slightly different in the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew manuscripts. We have all [the] days of followed by the masculine plural noun (with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix) chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee], which means living, alive, and it used of God, man, animals and here, of flesh. I really have no idea how to sensibly translate the plural aspect of this adjective. In the Hebrew, she will give him to Jehovah all the days of his living, whereas, in the Greek, she says, “I will dedicate him to You until the day of his death.” The result is fairly similar, and we do not know if the translator was simply taking liberties or whether his Hebrew text was different.


1Samuel 1:11g

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

môwrâh (הָרמ) [pronounced moh-RAW]

razor

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4177 BDB #559

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910


Translation: ...and a razor will not come upon his head.” The Greek now inserts adds an additional phrase, that he would not drink wine or strong drink. Given this along with her promise that a razor would not be used on his head, a phrase common to the Greek and Hebrew, she is promising to dedicate her son to Jehovah as a Nazarite. This is not to be confused with Jesus, who was a Nazarene (which refers to where he was raised). The Nazarite vows set apart a man to God exclusively from his birth (see Num. 6:2–21). Obviously, he must participate to some degree in this. We only have two case histories which I can think of in Scripture of a Nazarite: Samuel and Samson. It is possible the John the Baptizer was also a Nazarite.


There is some discussion on the length of time that one is a Nazarite. The passage in Numbers really does not tell us. In our examples of Nazarites, they appear to be Nazarites all of their lives (although Samson has his hair cut on at least one occasion—and it is unclear as to whether John the Baptizer or Samuel ever had their hair cut—we simply are not told one way or the other).


Although there are parallels between our Lord and those who were Nazarites, there are differences as well. Therefore, I will list those below:


Similarities Between the Nazarites and Our Lord

Nazarites

Christ Jesus

Spiritual destiny is chosen by the parents.

Spiritual destiny was chosen by God the Father.

This was a dedication which began at some point and continued for all the rest of a man’s life.

Our Lord from His earliest years was dedicated to the service of God (Luke 2:41–50).

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Differences Between the Nazarites and Our Lord

Nazarites

Christ Jesus

Nazarites did not cut their hair.

Although little is said about Jesus’ appearance (nothing, actually), He looked so similar to His disciples that Judas had to point him out in order that the Sanhedrin could arrest Him. That would make it unlikely that He would have long, uncut hair, as His disciples would have had normal hair for that time period.


By the way, in case you did not know, none of the pictures of Jesus were done anywhere close to the time of His life on earth—these pictures of Him with long hair are but a fabrication of the artists’ minds.

Nazarites did not drink wine.

Jesus was called a wine-bibber (i.e., a drunkard) and a friend of the tax collectors and prostitutes. This does not mean that He drank wine necessarily, but was in the company of those who did. The only certain instance where He did drink wine was on the cross at the very end. He partook in some G.I. wine (called sour wine or vinegar in most translations).

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In the Greek, we also have that he would drink no wine or strong drink. In the Hebrew, we do not find that in this particular passage. The full text of her vow is: “If a looking You look and You have remembered me and You do not forget Your maidservant and You have given to Your maidservant a seed of men, then I have given him to Yehowah..all days of his livings and a razor will not ascend upon his head.”


So, what Hannah promised to God is that she would dedicate this child to God if God allowed her to become pregnant. This would be a very serious dedication—she promises that the child would serve God all the days of his life and it appears as though the promise was for him to be a Nazirite, which is the most strict lifestyle that an Old Testament believer could assume. The NIV Study Bible, by the way, suggests that this is a temporary state for a believer; Footnote however, Scripture does not necessarily indicate one way or the other. A reading of Num. 6, does not imply that, once a man has taken his Nazirite vows, that he cannot return to his pre-Nazirite state. However, with Samuel, it appears as though his mother is dedicating him for his entire life. This should not concern us too much, as the Levite was supposed to be in a lifetime of service to help out those in the Aaronic priesthood.


Now, in most cases, this vow of Hannah’s—this promise to God—might seem a little on the psychotic side. She wants a child badly and is willing to give this child up completely and place him into the service of God—and even take this child out of her own care. That is where the background that we studied in v. 1 comes into play. She is a Levite who is living in Ephraim. Her family of Levites has become assimilated into the Ephraimite culture. Certainly, Ephraimites are Israelites, but they are not Levites, who serve God in the Tent service. Every year she travels to the Tent of God and every year she realizes that she and her family do not serve God as God had intended them to. Every year she is grieved by her barrenness. When at the Tent of God, it is natural for her to put these two things together. She has no children and her family does not serve God as called for by Moses (Num. 3:6–9). Therefore, she dedicates her son completely to the service of God for all of his life.


As a matter of ancient history, I need to point out that there were other peoples of that era who, when it came to dedicating their children to God, actually sacrificed their children. In the worship of Molech, there was a statue of Molech with his outstretched hands and the statue was red hot from a fire burning below the hands and parents would actually place their infants on these hands to burn. Others gave their children over to the heathen temple to become temple prostitutes (I should mention that there are historians who claim that Molech worship was only one of these rituals and not both). Footnote We’ve studied this in much greater detail in Judges 2:13 in the Doctrine of the Goddess Ashtoreth as well as in The Doctrine of the Extermination of the Peoples of Canaan in Joshua 10:43. I point this out so that you realize that there is a great spiritual gap between the Israelites and the people around them with respect to their worship of God and the concept of dedicating their children to God.


One of the areas where some believers and unbelievers tend to get goofy is that they will call upon God in some time of desperation and promise that, if He removes them from this desperate moment, then they will do this or that (perhaps attend church every Sunday for the rest of their lives; some might even promise to serve Him). Whereas there is a legitimate place for vows in the history of man, God has little interest in a vow delivered from a state of pure emotion or desperation, or with the hopes of manipulating Him (which is pretty much the purpose of most vows). Hannah is sincere about this vow and intends to carry through with it. Jesus, in general, recommended against giving vows, as they had become just so much hot air. “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You will not make false vows, but you will fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor will you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes yes’ or ‘No no’; and anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matt. 5:33–37 Lev. 19:12 Psalm 48:2).


Finally, before we leave this verse, I want you to notice all that is at play here. First, we have Hannah’s free will, and she has vowed to God that, if He allows her to become impregnated, that she will dedicate this boy for life to service to Him. Then we have Samuel’s free will—Samuel, when he is born, even though he will find himself from the earliest age in service at the Tent of God, still has free will. Obviously, if he chose to pick up and leave, he could be setting himself up for problems of divine intervention; however, he is still a man with free will and he chose to remain in service to the Tent of God. Then we have the sovereignty of God over all. God saw to it that in eternity past, that the womb of Hannah would be shut for a certain period of time. Whether this was via a miracle or a simple progression of events, we are not told (I suspect it was just a simple progression of events, cause and effect). Finally, and most importantly, God had to grant Samuel the spiritual gifts and authority to exercise those gifts. Not every believer in the Old Testament was given a spiritual gift, nor did every believer have a spiritual function in life as we all do. However, God had very specific plans for Samuel and Samuel fulfilled these plans. So, what we have here is the wonderful meeting of divine sovereignty and free will. Perhaps the phrase of today, being in the zone, is most properly applied to the point at which our freewill is in agreement with God’s sovereignty.


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Eli Confirms Hannah’s Vow

And he was that she continued to pray to faces of Yehowah and Eli was watching her mouth.

1Samuel

1:12

And it was when she continued to pray before Yehowah that Eli was watching her mouth.

And while she was praying intensely before Jehovah, and Eli was watching her mouth,...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And he was that she continued to pray to faces of Yehowah and Eli was watching her mouth.

Septuagint                             And it came to pass, while she was long praying before the Lord, that Heli the priest marked her mouth.

 

Significant differences:          If there is an actual difference, it appears to be very slight.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Hannah prayed silently to the LORD for a long time. But her lips were moving, and Eli thought she was drunk. [vv. 12–13].

The Message                         It so happened that as she continued in prayer before GOD, Eli was watching her closely.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         While Hannah was praying a long time in front of the LORD, Eli was watching her mouth.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now it came about, as she continued [lit., multiplied] praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth.

Young’s Updated LT             And it has been, when she multiplied praying before Jehovah, that Eli is watching her mouth.


What is the gist of this verse? While Hannah prays to God, Eli watches her mouth.


1Samuel 1:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

râbâh (הָבָר) [pronounced rawb-VAWH]

to make [do] much; to multiply, to increase; to give much; to lay much; to have much; to make great

3rd person feminine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7235 BDB #915

When the Hiphil is followed by an infinitive and gerund—or by a finite verb—it can mean much.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pâlal (ל ַל ָ) [pronounced paw-LAHL]

to pray, to intercede, to make intercession for, to ask for a favorable determination

Hithpael infinitive construct

Strong’s #6419 BDB #813.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

 

Translation: And it was when she continued to pray before Yehowah... We begin with the wâw conjunction and the masculine singular, Qal perfect of to be. In the English, we would take this as a neuter (and it was). Then we have the preposition kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee], which means when, that, for, because. I would think that the first couple of words could be very reasonably rendered and while. With the two verbs, this would give us: And it was, when she continued praying before Jehovah,...

 

Wesley points out: By which it appears that she said much more than is here expressed. And the like you are to judge of the prayers and sermons of other holy persons recorded in scripture, which gives us only the sum and substance of them. This consideration may help us much to understand some passages of the Bible. Footnote We often get just the gist of what others pray in Scripture, which is why so many prayers may seem short and to the point.


By the way, I want you to notice something: Hannah has not gone to Eli, a priest, to confess her sins or as a bridge to God. Eli will come to her. This tells us two things: even in the Old Testament, a believer did not have to go through a priest; and, secondly, this is how God works with us—He will seek us out (if we have positive volition).


1Samuel 1:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳Êlîy (י.ל̤ע) [pronounced ģay-LEE]

transliterated Eli

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5941 BDB #750

shâmar (ר ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to protect, to watch, to preserve

Qal active participle

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

peh (ה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804


Translation: ...that Eli was watching her mouth. Eli is watching over the House of God, which was the Tabernacle of God at that time. Apparently, it had become quite established in Shiloh as to be considered almost a permanent place for the Tabernacle. Eli’s sons did a lot of the heavy lifting, so to speak, even though they were worthless turds. Footnote However, Eli did not simply retire to his Barca lounger and the remote Footnote ; he still kept an eye on things. The verb here is used for guarding someone or something, and Eli was guarding the Tabernacle of God. When someone just wandered in, apart from the ceremonial sacrifices, he kept a close eye on them, which is what he is doing here.


Hannah does not know Eli and Eli has perhaps never noticed her before (she comes with many people once a year or a few times a year for the religious rites there). He’s sitting while she is engrossed in prayer. He looks over and watches her mouth.


And Hannah she was speaking [intensely] upon her heart only her lips quivered and her voice was not heard. And so thought Eli her to [be] drunken.

1Samuel

1:13

And Hannah was speaking [intensely] within her heart, only her lips moved while her voice was not heard. Therefore, Eli thought her to [be] drunken.

...and Hannah, although she was speaking intensely from her soul, only her lips moved and she was inaudible. Therefore, Eli thought that she was drunk.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Masoretic Text                       And Hannah she was speaking [intensely] upon her heart only her lips quivered and her voice was not heard. And so thought Eli her to [be] drunken.

Septuagint                             And she was speaking in her heart, and her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; and Heli accounted her a drunken woman.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         She was praying silently. Her voice couldn't be heard; only her lips were moving. Eli thought she was drunk.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and Hannah, she is speaking to her heart, only her lips are moving, and her voice is not heard, and Eli assumes she is drunk.


What is the gist of this verse? Eli can only see Hannah’s lips quiver as she prays silently to God, and assumes that she is drunk.


1Samuel 1:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

dâbar (רַבָד) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

feminine singular, Piel participle

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

lêb (בֵל) [pronounced laybv]

heart, inner man, mind, will, thinking

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #3820 BDB #524

raq (קַר) [pronounced rahk]

only, provided, altogether, surely—this adverb carries with it restrictive force

adverb

Strong’s #7534 & #7535 BDB #956

sâphâh (הָפ ָ) [pronounced saw-FAWH]

 lip, tongue; words, speech; dialect, language; edge, border [or, lip] [of something]

feminine dual noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #8193 BDB #973

nûwa׳ (-ענ) [pronounced NOO-ahģ]

to move to and fro, to vacillate; to stagger; to vibrate, to swing to and fro; to wave; to wander; to agitate (the hand or with the hand), to shake; to move [unsteadily]

feminine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #5128 BDB #631

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to be heard; to be regarded, to be cared for; to be heard and answered; to render obedience, to obey; to be understood

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

 

Translation: And Hannah was speaking [intensely] within her heart, only her lips moved while her voice was not heard. We have the preposition ׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ], which means upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside. This is followed by her heart. I would have expected in her heart (with the bêyth preposition), and I don’t know why this preposition was not used. Hannah is praying fervently, probably unaware of Eli watching her. She customarily prays silently, although she says the words inaudibly with her mouth. You certainly understand that when you are counting up a number of things in public, you will probably not count them aloud, but, if you don’t watch yourself, your lips might move while you are counting.


Hannah knew God did not have to hear her audible voice.

And her voice was not heard. There is nothing in Scripture which requires prayers to be given audibly. Some are and some are not. In this prayer, we know what Hannah prayed, even though only God heard what she prayed. My reasonable guess is that the content of her prayer was made known to Eli when Hannah brought Samuel, her son that would be born because of this prayer, to Eli a few years later (this information is given at the end of this chapter). I don’t believe that Hannah revealed to Eli the content of her prayer at this point in time.


It is important to note that, Hannah knew God did not have to hear her audible voice. She knew that her prayer would be just as effective whether spoken from the mouth or from the heart.


1Samuel 1:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châshab (בַש ָח) [pronounced khaw-SHAHBV]

to think, to mediate, regard, to account, to count, to determine, to calculate, to impute, to reckon

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #2803 BDB #362

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shikkûwr (ר̣ש) [pronounced shik-KOOR]

drunk, inebriated, stoned, blotto, drunken

feminine singular adjective

Strong’s #7910 BDB #1016


Translation: Therefore, Eli thought her to [be] drunken. In the last line, we have the conclusion of Eli.

 

Gill: [Eli came to this conclusion based upon ] ...the motions she made, and gestures she used, as if she was muttering something to herself, and by her long continuance therein, and it being after a feast she had been at with her husband, and the rest of the family; from all which Eli concluded this must be her case.

 

This does not speak well of the clientele that Eli was used to dealing with. McGee gives us a brief summary of this passage: Eli was the high priest, and he saw this distraught woman come to the Tabernacle and pray. He watched her mouth, say her lips move, but could not hear any sound. Neither, apparently, could he read her lips. Notice his reaction, which is an insight into the conditions of that day. The sons of Eli drank and caroused there. Eli knew it, but had shut his eyes to it—he was an indulgent father. When Hannah prayed with such zeal in her heart, Eli thought she was drunk. Do you know why? Others who were drunk had come to the house of the Lord. This place of worship wasn’t really the best place to come in that day. Footnote


As you notice, not only was this not a big surprise that someone drunk had come to the Tabernacle, but it was not even a surprise that this is a woman that Eli believes to be drunk. Don’t forget, we are at the tail end of the period of the judges, when Israel was known more for her degeneracy than her piety. It is more of a surprise that this woman is there praying, pouring out her heart to God.


And so said unto her, [the young slave of] Eli, “Until when will you [cause yourself to] be drunken? [Cause to] remove your wine from upon you.”

1Samuel

1:14

Then the young slave of Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Cause your wine to depart from adhesion to you.”

Then the youthful servant of Eli approached Hannah and inquired of her, “How long to you plan to hang here in a drunken state? You ought to turn away from liquor.”

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said unto her, [possibly, the young slave of] Eli, “Until when will you [cause yourself to] be drunken? [Cause to] remove your wine from upon you.”

Peshitta                                 And Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put away your wine from you?”

Septuagint                             And the servant of Heli said to her, How long will you be drunken? Take away your wine from you and go out from the presence of the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          In the Septuagint, it is Eli’s servant who speaks to Hannah; in the Hebrew, Eli speaks to her directly. The Peshitta and Vulgate both agree with the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "How long are you going to stay drunk?" he asked. "Sober up!"

The Message                         He approached her and said, "You're drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "How long are you going to stay drunk?" Eli asked her. "Get rid of your wine."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.”

Young’s Updated LT             And Eli says unto her, “Until when are you drunken? Turn aside your wine from you.”


What is the gist of this verse? Eli (or his young slave) approaches Hannah and asks her how long she plans on being drunk and then warns her to stay away from wine and strong drink.


1Samuel 1:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳Êlîy (י.ל̤ע) [pronounced ģay-LEE]

transliterated Eli

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5941 BDB #750


Translation: Then [the young slave] of Eli said to her,... The first few words are literally And so said unto her, Eli... Interestingly enough, in the Greek, we have, instead, the paidarion of Eli. In the Greek, that is παιδάριον [pronounced pi-DA-ree-on], which has two distinct meanings: (1) little boy, child, boy, youth; and, (2) young slave. The second usage seems to have died out in the Koine Greek and is only applicable to Classical Greek. Strong’s #3813. Finding this word in the Greek is rather interesting, as we would not have expected it. Nor is this something that we would expect translators to insert in order to better bring out the meaning. The most reasonable explanation is that this word was found in their Hebrew manuscripts. One of the rules of textual criticism—and this is one that you will not like very much—is that, when there are two readings, the reading which makes the least sense is the preferred reading (unless, of course, one reading is an obvious scribal error). This is a tough call, as we also find this word in the Greek text down in v. 22, indicating that there could have been a scribal error in the Hebrew. We don’t find any surrounding words or phrases in the Hebrew of these two verses which would have caused a scribe to look down, pick up the Hebrew equivalent of paidarion and miscopy it into v. 14. It would have made more sense for this word to have been dropped out of the Hebrew text of v. 14 than for it to have been accidently inserted by a scribe, and then translated into the Greek. Therefore, it is most reasonable to assume that Eli either told one of his kids or a young slave to go over and talk to the woman. There are unpleasantries in almost every job, and the unpleasantry in Eli’s job was speaking to the reprobates who came to the Tent of God who really didn’t belong there (e.g., the drunks). Rather than deal with them directly, that is why he had a slave. So he tells his slave to speak to the woman. Eli might be right there, tending to some other business or acting as though he is reading Scripture, but he would be listening to her answer. Or, even more likely, Eli is still parked in the chair at the entrance; he motions to one of his servants, whispers to the servant, and the servant goes and speaks to Hannah. Dealing with drunken women can be an unpleasant experience, and Eli is pretty comfy in his chair; so he send a servant to speak to Hannah. My impression is, Eli and Hannah are not that far from one another. In any case, once Hannah speaks, then Eli will speak to her directly in v. 17 (in both the Greek and the Hebrew). Footnote


1Samuel 1:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

mâthay (י-תָמ) [pronounced maw-THAH-ee]

when

interrogative adverb

Strong's #4970 BDB #607

Together, ׳ad + mâthay mean until when, how long?

shâkar (ר-כָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHR]

to become drunk [inebriated], to be drunk

2nd person feminine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #7937 BDB #1016

 

Translation: ... “How long will you be drunk? In this verse, we have the 2nd person feminine singular, Hithpael imperfect of shâkar (ר-כָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHR], which means to become drunk, to be drunk. Strong’s #7937 BDB #1016. Again, the Hithpael is the intensive reflexive. He is asking Hannah, “How long will you make yourself drunk?” This gives us: Then the young servant of Eli said to her, “How long will [you make yourself to] be drunken?”


This is not really what Eli wants to know. Apparently, this is the polite way of saying, “How much longer do you plan to stick around here in your drunken state?” The idea is to embarrass Hannah. Eli has no idea as to the response he is going to get, or the repercussions of this discussion. He is simply looking to shoo away the riff-raff from the Tabernacle of God.


Gill suggests Footnote that Eli has observed Hannah there before, praying silently (although, he thinks all this time that she is drunken). He simply wants to find out how much longer this is going to go on. Although I find this an interesting theory, it just seems unlikely that she has been there day after day and finally, Eli decides to ask her how come she keeps showing up drunk to the Tabernacle (however, we would expect her to continue with her persistence). However, I think the proper understanding is, she has mulled this over in her mind as to what she was willing to do, and finally puts this before God, praying with great emotional fervor.


1Samuel 1:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor]

to cause to depart, to remove, to cause to go away; to turn away from

2nd person feminine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong's #5493 (and #5494) BDB #693

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

yayin (ן̣י-י) [pronounced YAH-yin]

wine

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3196 BDB #406

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

Together, they mean from upon, from over, from by, from beside, from attachment to, from companionship with, from accompanying [in a protective manner], from adhesion to

 

Translation: Cause your wine to depart from adhesion to you.” This last next verb is a command—the Hiphil imperative of çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor ], which means to turn aside, to depart, to go away. In the Hiphil imperative, it means to cause to depart, to remove, to take away. We have discussed this verb in great detail back in Judges 4:18. What she is asked to cause to depart from is the masculine singular noun yayin (ן̣י-י) [pronounced Yah-yin], which means wine. Then we have the combined preposition mê׳al (ל ַע ֵמ) [pronounced may-ĢAHL], which mean from upon, from over, from by. However, because ׳al is the hardest working preposition in the Hebrew language, it has many different uses, meaning that any compound will have a wide variety of uses. The two together can also mean from beside, from attachment to, from companionship with, from accompanying [in a protective manner], from adhesion to. Our translation (taking into account the two feminine singular suffixes) is: “Cause to remove your wine from adhesion to you.” In other words, he is telling her to go home and sleep it off.


So Eli talks to his personal servant and tells him to go speak to the woman, Hannah, whom he believes to be drunk. “Ask her just how long she plans to hang out here in a drunken state and then reprimand her for it,” were probably Eli’s words to his servant. Edersheim comments: It leaves on us the twofold sad impression that such prayerful converse with God must have been rare in Shiloh, and that the sacrificial feasts were not unfrequently profaned by excesses, when such a man as Eli could suspect, and roughly interrupt Hannah’s prayer on the supposition of her drunkenness. But Eli was a man of God; and the modest, earnest words which Hannah spake soon changed his reproof into a blessing. Footnote In other words, it was not unusual during this feast for a drunken woman to wander into the Tent of God, which is what Eli first suspects. However, when Eli realizes that this is not the case, he will back off from his accusations.


A reasonable question would be, why on earth, when Eli first sees Hannah, does he think that she is some drunken woman talking to herself at the Tabernacle of God? Why doesn’t Eli first assume that she is in prayer? The explanation would be, the Tabernacle had fallen into a weakened state as well. Eli was fat, maybe a little lazy, and he had more or less trained his sons to take over for him. However, they treated these sacrifices as though it was BBQ night at Willie’s. In other words, what went on at the Tabernacle did not always encourage the most pious to show up. People of great piety might show up once or twice, but, eventually, fell away from Tabernacle worship. After wall, when they showed up, basically they encountered Eli’s two sons who demanded that they bring them better BBQ (see 1Sam. 2:12–17). Degenerate times brings in degeneracy at every level. I am writing this during the 2nd term of George W. Bush. Personally, I believe him to be a very sincere man with an honest agenda to correct many of the faults in the US system. However, I also believe that there are those under him who are crooked, evil, give bad advice and direction, things which he requires. That is, a president can, in no way, evaluate every situation on his own—he leans heavily upon his advisors, aides and cabinet to give him direction. We live in a very degenerate time—therefore, even if Bush is a great and honorable man, we would expect that the end result of his policies will be quite negative in general, as a people get exactly the kind of leadership that they deserve. My point is, during the time of Eli, Eli is essentially a good priest; and Hannah is essentially, a good woman. However, given that their time is one of great degeneracy, Eli thinks the worst of Hannah as he observes her. He sees her animation, he observes that she appears to be talking to herself, and he notices what appear to be bloodshot eyes (they are red from crying). Given the state of things in Israel, Eli quickly assumes that she is simply a drunken woman.


Hannah’s response to Eli is quite interesting. Personally, given her highly charged emotional state, I had wondered whether or not Hannah was in fellowship Footnote ; however, her response to Eli will be direct, honest, and lack rancor or reproach.


And so answered Hannah and so she said, “No, my lord—a woman difficult [or, intense] of spirit [am] I and wine and strong drink I have not drunk. And so I have been pouring out my soul to faces of Yehowah.”

1Samuel

1:15

Then Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord—I [am] a woman [who is] intense of spirit and I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink. I have been pouring out my soul before Yehowah.

Then Hannah answered Eli’s question, saying, “No, my lord, I am simply a woman who is troubled in my spirit. I have not been drinking alcohol in any form. I have been pouring out my soul to Jehovah.


Hannah speaks directly to Eli. The other translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so answered Hannah and so she said, “No, my lord—a woman difficult [or, intense] of spirit [am] I and wine and strong drink I have not drunk. And so I have been pouring out my soul to faces of Yehowah.”

Peshitta                                 Hannah answered and said to him, “No, my lord, I am a woman full of grief; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.

Septuagint                             And Anna answered and said, “Nay, my lord, [I live] in a hard day, and I have not drunk wine or strong drink, and I pour out my soul before the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          The Septuagint has something about a hard day; the idea could have been, “Today was a very difficult day for me.” In the MT, Latin Vulgate and the Peshitta, the reference is to her soul, which I think is more accurate.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "Sir, please don't think I'm no good!" Hannah answered. "I'm not drunk, and I haven't been drinking. But I do feel miserable and terribly upset. I've been praying all this time, telling the LORD about my problems."

The Message                         Hannah said, "Oh no, sir--please! I'm a woman hard used. I haven't been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I've been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to GOD.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “No, sir,” Hannah responded, “I’m depressed, not drunk. I’m pouring out my heart to the Lord.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     But Hannah answered and said, “No my lord, I am a woman oppressed [lit., severe] in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.

Young’s Updated LT             And Hannah answers and says, “No, my lord, A woman sharply pained in spirit I am, and wine and strong drink I have not drunk, and I pour out my soul before Jehovah;...


What is the gist of this verse? Hannah denies being drunken and says that she is simply pouring out her heart to God.


1Samuel 1:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

Channâh (הָ-ח) [pronounced khahn-NAW]

grace with a feminine (ah) ending; it is transliterated Hannah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2584 BDB #336

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: Then Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord—... Again, there are great differences between the Greek and the Hebrew. In the Greek, it appears as though she is saying, “I’ve had a really difficult day;” and in the Hebrew, the reference is to the difficulties of her life reaching into her soul.


We begin with, literally: And so answered Hannah and so she said, “No my lord—...” Using the term my lord seems to imply that she began speaking directly to Eli, rather than to his servant (if, indeed, she was first spoken to by a servant).


Hannah’s response to Eli is one of great respect. Some people, when falsely accused, not only feel a need to clear themselves, but to return insult for insult to the person who has accused them. This is not how a believer should respond. Prov. 15:1: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 25:15: With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone. Hannah does not take Eli’s reproach personally, nor does she allow herself to be upset by what he has said to her. This tells us that, even though she is in a highly charged emotional state, that she is still discriminating and that her emotions do not peak no matter what the stimulation.


1Samuel 1:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61

qâsheh (השָק) [pronounced kaw-SHEH]

hard, severe, difficult, fierce, intense, vehement, stiff, harsh, stubborn

adjective/noun (here, a masculine singular construct)

Strong’s #7186 BDB #904

rûwach (ַחר) [pronounced ROO-ahkh]

wind, breath, spirit, apparition

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #7307 BDB #924

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me

1st person singular personal pronoun (sometimes a verb is implied)

Strong’s #580 BDB #59

 

Translation: ...I [am] a woman [who is] intense of spirit... What follows is the feminine singular adjective construct of qâsheh (ה ש ָק) [pronounced kaw-SHEH], and it means hard, severe, difficult, fierce, intense, vehement, stiff, stubborn. This is followed by of spirit and the 1st person personal pronoun (which generally implies the verb to be). This gives us: And so answered Hannah and so she said, “No my lord—a woman of difficult [or, intense] spirit [am] I...”


People have a variety of personalities, and, luckily, there is not a Christian personality type that we must imitate. I tend to be rather dour, myself; this woman is apparently quite emotional and expressive of same. We are allowed to coexist as believers, with neither one of us having any sort of advantage over the other. No one can look at me and say, “You really don’t show enough heart to be a believer.” Similarly, no one can look at Hannah and say, “You are getting too emotional about all of this. You need to cool down a bit, woman.” It is in her nature to be fairly emotional; it is in her nature to be very expressive of that emotion. That she is a woman of strong emotion and that she expresses her intense emotion is not out of the realm of the Christian faith.


1Samuel 1:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yayin (ן̣י-י) [pronounced YAH-yin]

wine

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3196 BDB #406

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêkâr (רָכ̤ש) [pronounced shay-KAWR]

strong alcohol, potent liquor, intoxicating drink, strong drink

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7941 BDB #1016

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâthâh (הָתָש) [pronounced shaw-THAW]

to drink [actually or metaphorically]; to drink together [at a banquet]

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #8354 BDB #1059

 

Translation: ...and I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink. In the second part of her answer, we have wine and strong drink followed by a negative and the Qal perfect of to drink. Then she tells Eli what she has been doing. And uses the wâw consecutive and the 1st person singular, Qal imperfect of shâphake ( ַפ ָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHKe], which means to pour, to pour out, to shed. What she is pouring out is my soul before faces of Yehowah (that is, in the presence of Yehowah). This gives us: “...And wine and strong drink I have not drunk—I have been pouring out my soul before Yehowah.” By the way, in the Greek, the words for lord and Lord are identical. They are not so in the Hebrew. In the Hebrew, we originally had a Bible filled with the proper name of God, Yehowah. However, to keep His Name from being used frivolously, at some point in time, many of the instances that Yehowah was found in the Old Testament were spoken in public readings as Lord and the pronunciation of Yehowah was lost (which is why we have no vowel points in the Massoretic text for His Name). The reason we still have some idea of the pronunciation of the ancient Hebrew text is that, even though there were no vowels written in the original text, the Hebrews read God’s Word aloud and often in their services. The Masorites, circa 500 a.d., decided that, since ancient Hebrew was a dying language (actually, it had been dead for about a millennium), that they needed to preserve the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew words. Therefore, they added vowel points to the text of Scripture (and adding anything whatsoever to Scripture was a bold move). The idea behind vowel points is that the original text was preserved in its entirety without interspersing additional text. Since the name YHWH had not been spoken in centuries, placing vowel points in His name would have been arbitrary. They essentially used the vowel points from the less formal designation of God, Adonai (which is different, of course, in the Hebrew).


Also, in the margins, the Massorites made additional notes on the text itself, which was essentially an early form of textual criticism. When they were uncertain as to a reading of a passage, or if there were two readings, they would put a note in the margin. These notes are called the masora. The basic push of this group was simply to recopy the Hebrew text in such a way that it would be preserved in a form as close to the original as possible. The inclusion of the masora and the vowel points has benefitted us tremendously with respect to determining what the original text of the Old Testament was (and it helps us to pronounce the Hebrew words as well). The Massorites continued their work almost up to the time of the invention of printing. Back to Hannah and Eli:


1Samuel 1:15d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâphake ( ַפ ָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHKe]

to pour, to pour out, to shed

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8210 BDB #1049

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

St