King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Samuel 1

Elkanah and his family. (1-8) Hannah’s prayer. (9-18) Samuel, Hannah presents him to the Lord. (19-28)

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Elkanah and his family

1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

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

3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

Hannah’s prayer

9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.

Samuel, Hannah presents him to the Lord

19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.

20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.

27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. There. Heb. Sept. &c. “And there,” &c. The books of Scripture are thus frequently connected. The authors present us with a series of events, without prefixing any title, or their own names, that our attention may be wholly fixed on what we read. The birth of Samuel being so miraculous, deserves to be recorded, as he was the last judge of Israel, and had so much to do under the first of their kings, whose election and misconduct brought a great change into the state of the commonwealth. C. — Ramathaimsophim. Rama, or Ramatha, “a height,” and the environs were occupied by the family of Suph, a descendant of Core; (1 Par. vi. 29.) though the place did not properly belong to the Levites. It lay probably between Gabaa and Bethel, where Samuel spent much of his time, while he was judge, and obliged to be frequently absent from the tabernacle. C. — Ragusinus and Prince Radzivil think it was afterwards called Arimathea, the birth-place of Joseph, and now Ramula. T. C. ii. 11. — Ephraimite. He was of the tribe of Levi, (1 Par. vi. 34.) but is called an Ephraimites from dwelling in Mount Ephraim. Ch. — So we read of Cretan Jews. Acts ii. 11. T.

Ver. 2. Phenenna. She was only of inferior dignity. At that time polygamy was lawful, (M.) as Moses insinuates, if he do not expressly allow it.

Ver. 3. Days, the three great festivals. His family accompanied him, though the law only lays an express injunction upon the males to attend. We find, however, that females did not neglect to come. C. — Hosts. Heb. (Tsebaoth) of “armies,” both of angels and of Israel. God is attended by myriads of angels, and decides the fate of armies. H. — This title has not appeared in the former books. The pagans took occasion from it to form their Jupiter Sabazius. C. — Elcana might go up from the height of Ramatha to Silo, which was the highest mountain round Jerusalem of all in the holy land. Adrichom. T.

Ver. 4. Sacrificed, by the hand of the priests, (M.) who had the breast and right shoulder; the rest was given back to the person who had presented the fattened victim, that he might feast with his friends. C.

Ver. 5. With sorrow. Hebrew apayim, “of faces, indignation, (C.) sorrow;” (M.) or that was presented before him. Chal. and many others translate, “a chosen:” (C.) Prot. “a worthy portion.” H. — The shew-bread is called, “the bread of the face,” because it stood before the Lord. Joseph sent to each of his brethren, “a portion of his faces,” as the Heb. expresses it; (Gen. xliii. 33.) or of such meat as was placed upon his table. In the East, the master of a family has all set before him, and he sends to each his portion, to the place where he is sitting. Chardin, Perse. — Thus Elcana sent some more excellent, or “double,” part to his beloved Anna, (C.) grieving inwardly that she had no children, to whom he might also send. H. — By this distinction, he wished to alleviate the sorrow of his wife. M. — Womb. Sterility was deemed a curse, and a mark of God’s displeasure, with which women were often reproached. Hence Anna prays so earnestly that God would be mindful of her. v. 11—19. The power of the Almighty, in giving children to the barren, is frequently mentioned. Gen. xxviii. 13. Ps. cxii. 9. C. — Luke i. 25. &c. H.

Ver. 6. Insomuch. Heb. “to make her fret, or rage; because the Lord,” &c. C.

Ver. 7. Lord. Then they could hardly avoid being together on the road, and Anna was accustomed to pray earnestly (M.) to be delivered from her reproach. H.

Ver. 9. Silo; either in some private house, or in the porch before the tabernacle. She complied with the entreaty of her husband. M. — Stool. Heb. “Heli was sitting upon a throne, near the steps, leading to the palace of the Lord.” It is also called the temple, or the house of God, though it was only a tent. Mat. xii. 4. &c. Perhaps women were not allowed to go beyond the porch.

Ver. 11. A vow; rightly trusting that her husband would give his consent. Num. xxx. 7. — Razor. Heb. mora, “scissors.” Sept. “iron.” Some copies add, “he shall not drink wine, nor any intoxicating drink.” In quality of Levite, Samuel was bound to serve the tabernacle from 25 or 30 years of age till he was 50. Num. iv. 2. Anna consecrates him to the Lord for life, and promises that he shall be a Nazarite, like Samson, and S. John Baptist. The law prescribes no rules for these perpetual Nazarites. Num. vi. 3. Many of the ancients believe that Samuel always observed the prescriptions of Moses, and abstained from intoxicating liquors; though the Heb. and Vulg. are silent on this head. We find that during his administration as Judge, he was not able to continue always near the tabernacle. C. — When he came to years of discretion, he might depart if he thought proper, like other Levites. Had he been of another tribe, he must have been redeemed. W. — Esther, Elcana, or Samuel, might have annulled this vow. Salien, A. 2900.

Ver. 12. Prayers, out of fervour; not through vain superstition and ostentation, as the Pharisees and pagans did. Mat. xxiii. 14. Christ does not condemn many, or long prayers, since he prayed whole nights for our instruction. Luc. xxi. 43. and vi. 12. 1 Thes. v. 17. — Mouth. He tried, but could not hear what she said. C.

Ver. 14. Much. Heli’s “son or servant,” (paidarion, according to the Sept.) addressed these words to Anna. Her going to pray immediately after a feast, instead of taking recreation, increased the suspicion. S. Chrys. hom. 1. — Salien (A.C. 1153) observes the many instances of patience which Anna exhibits on this occasion. H. — She teaches us not to answer the unjust reproaches of our superiors with haughtiness. D.

Ver. 15. My lord. She gives him this title, though he had called her a drunken woman. H. — Unhappy. Heb. “of a hard (or afflicted) spirit.” See Cant. viii. 6. C.

Ver. 16. Belial; “without restraint;” abandoned. H. — Sept. “pestiferous.” — Sorrow. Heb. “meditation;” (C.) what preys upon my spirits. H.

Ver. 17. Peace, with all blessings. M.

Ver. 18. Eyes: that thou wouldst lay aside thy suspicions against my character, and pray (C.) that I may obtain so great a happiness. — Changed. Heb. “no more,” as it had been sad, and defaced with tears. H. — She was now full of hope and joy. M. — Sept. “her countenance fell not.” She was not moved with anger or with jealousy. Gen. iv. 6. C.

Ver. 20. About, at the expiration of the year, which term the ancients frequently allowed between the conception and the nativity. Gen. xviii. 10. — Samuel. This name imports, asked of God. Ch. — Some letters are omitted for the easier pronunciation, as the Hebrews would now write it, Saul-meel; (C.) or it may signigy, “God placed him,” sum-hal. T. — Shaal means, “to ask.” But Vatable thinks that Anna retained only the first letter. M.

Ver. 21. Vow, in consequence of his son’s nativity. The sacrifice might be of precept, such as the paschal lamb, or for his wife’s purification and the redemption of his first-born, as they could not attend in person. C. — Heb. “the victim of days and his vow,” which he had probably made in conjunction with Anna. M.

Ver. 22. Weaned. The mother of the Machabees weaned her children when they were three years old; (2 Mac. vii. 27.) which Gallien asserts as the proper time, though Avicenna fixes upon two years. See Gen. xxi. 8. Iremellius translates, “till the child be grown up.” But we must not allow any long term, since he was very young when he was presented to the Lord. v. 24.

Ver. 23. Word, by preserving the life of the child, (C.) and enabling him to serve according to our engagement. H. — Word is often put for “a thing,” in Heb. May God perfect his own work. M.

Ver. 24. Three calves. Sept. “a calf three years old,” such as Abraham sacrificed, Gen. xv. 9. We only find one offered up, v. 25. — Bushels. Heb. epha, (C.) each of which contained three bushes or measures. Ruth ii. 17. H. — Bottle. Heb. nebel, a large measure containing above 87 pints. C. — The sacrifices seem to have been for thanksgiving, accompanied with an ephi for each calf, and with wine. Num. xv. Ezec. xlvi. 7.

Ver. 26. Liveth: a strong attestation. M. — As sure as you live; or, may you enjoy a long and happy life. See C. xvii. 55. and xx. 3. Dan. iii. 9. 2 Esd. ii. 3.

Ver. 28. Lent. This is equivalent to giving entirely. Anna presents her son to the Lord, to serve in his tabernacle as long as God shall think proper. He dispensed with his personal attendance, when he appointed him judge. C. vii. 15. C. — As much as depended on Samuel’s mother, he was consecrated for ever. But he was at liberty to ratify the vow if he pleased. M. — The expression, lent, seems to reserve the dominion of the thing, which Anna had entirely given up, so that we might translate the Heb. “Therefore I have him simply as one lent…he is a thing lent, which belongs to the Lord.” C. — They. Heb. “he worshipped the Lord there.” Grabe found not these words in the Alex. copy, which by comparison of this chapter with the the Vatican edition, appears, to be more accurate. Both omit this sentence: but it is found in the Aldine edition of the Sept. Proleg. C. iv. The Targum adds, “and she prayed in the spirit of prophecy, and said.” H.