March 26

1 Samuel 1:1 — 2:36

The First of Samuel

Now there happened to be a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the mountainous region 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. 2 And he had two wives, the name of the one being Hannah, and the name of the other being Peninnah. And Peninnah came to have children, but Hannah had no children. 3 And that man went up out of his city from year to year to prostrate himself and to sacrifice to Jehovah of armies in Shiloh. And there is where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to Jehovah.

4 And there came to be a day when Elkanah proceeded to sacrifice, and he gave to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters portions; 5 but to Hannah he gave one portion. Nonetheless it was Hannah that he loved, and, as for Jehovah, he had closed up her womb. 6 And her rival wife also vexed her sorely for the sake of making her feel disconcerted because Jehovah had closed up her womb. 7 And that was the way she would do year by year, as often as she went up into the house of Jehovah. That was the way she would vex her, so that she would weep and not eat. 8 And Elkanah her husband proceeded to say to her: “Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you not eat, and why does your heart feel bad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

9 Then Hannah got up after they had eaten in Shiloh and after the drinking, while Eli the priest was sitting upon the seat by the doorpost of the temple of Jehovah. 10 And she was bitter of soul, and she began to pray to Jehovah and to weep greatly. 11 And she went on to make a vow and say: “O Jehovah of armies, if you will without fail look upon the affliction of your slave girl and actually remember me, and you will not forget your slave girl and actually give to your slave girl a male offspring, I will give him to Jehovah all the days of his life, and no razor will come upon his head.”

12 And it occurred that while she prayed extendedly before Jehovah, Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart; only her lips were quivering, and her voice was not heard. But Eli took her for drunk. 14 So Eli said to her: “How long will you behave drunk? Put away your wine from upon you.” 15 At this Hannah answered and said: “No, my lord! A woman hard pressed in spirit I am; and wine and intoxicating liquor I have not drunk, but I pour out my soul before Jehovah. 16 Do not make your slave girl like a good-for-nothing woman, for it is out of the abundance of my concern and my vexation that I have spoken until now.” 17 Then Eli answered and said: “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.” 18 To this she said: “Let your maidservant find favor in your eyes.” And the woman proceeded to go on her way and to eat, and her face became self-concerned no more.

19 Then they got up early in the morning and prostrated themselves before Jehovah, after which they returned and came into their house at Ramah. Elkanah now had intercourse with Hannah his wife, and Jehovah began remembering her. 20 So it came about at the rolling around of a year that Hannah became pregnant and brought a son to birth and proceeded to call his name Samuel, because, said she, “it is from Jehovah that I have asked him.”

21 In time the man Elkanah went up with all his household to sacrifice to Jehovah the yearly sacrifice and his vow offering. 22 As for Hannah, she did not go up, for she had said to her husband: “As soon as the boy is weaned, I must bring him, and he must appear before Jehovah and dwell there to time indefinite.” 23 At this Elkanah her husband said to her: “Do what is good in your eyes. Stay at home until you wean him. Only may Jehovah carry out his word.” So the woman stayed at home and kept nursing her son until she weaned him.

24 Accordingly just as soon as she had weaned him, she brought him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a large jar of wine, and she proceeded to enter the house of Jehovah in Shiloh. And the boy was with her. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli. 26 With that she said: “Excuse me, my lord! By the life of your soul, my lord, I am the woman that was standing with you in this place to pray to Jehovah. 27 It was with reference to this boy that I prayed that Jehovah should grant me my petition that I asked of him. 28 And I, in my turn, have lent him to Jehovah. All the days that he does happen to be, he is one requested for Jehovah.”

And he proceeded to bow down there to Jehovah.

2  And Hannah went on to pray and say:

     “My heart does exult in Jehovah,
          My horn is indeed exalted in Jehovah.
          My mouth is widened against my enemies,
          For I do rejoice in the salvation from you.
2 There is no one holy like Jehovah, for there is no one but you;
          And there is no rock like our God.
3 Do not YOU people speak very haughtily so much,
          Let nothing go forth unrestrained from YOUR mouth,
          For a God of knowledge Jehovah is,
          And by him deeds are rightly estimated.
4 The mighty men of the bow are filled with terror,
          But those that are stumbling do gird on vital energy.
5 The satisfied must hire themselves out for bread,
          But the hungry actually cease [to hunger].
          Even the barren has given birth to seven,
          But she that was abundant in sons has faded away.
6 Jehovah is a Killer and a Preserver of life,
          A Bringer down to Sheol, and He brings up.
7 Jehovah is an Impoverisher and an Enricher,
          An Abaser, also an Exalter,
8 A Raiser of a lowly one from the dust;
          From the ashpit he lifts up a poor one,
          To make them sit with nobles; and a throne of glory he gives to them as a possession.
          For to Jehovah belong earth’s supports,
          And he places upon them the productive land.
9 The feet of his loyal ones he guards;
          As for the wicked ones, they are silenced in darkness,
          For not by power does a man prove superior.

 As for Jehovah, those contending against him will be terrified;
          Against them he will thunder in the heavens.
          Jehovah himself will judge the ends of the earth,
          That he may give strength to his king,
          That he may exalt the horn of his anointed one.”

11 Then Elkanah went to Ramah to his house; and as for the boy, he became a minister of Jehovah before Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were good-for-nothing men; they did not acknowledge Jehovah. 13 As for the due right of the priests from the people, whenever any man was offering a sacrifice, an attendant of the priest came with the three-pronged fork in his hand, just when the meat was boiling, 14 and made a thrust into the basin or the two-handled cooking pot or the caldron or the one-handled cooking pot. Anything that the fork might bring up the priest would take for himself. That is the way they would do in Shiloh to all the Israelites coming there. 15 Also, before ever they could make the fat smoke, an attendant of the priest came and said to the man sacrificing: “Do give meat to roast for the priest so that he may receive from you, not boiled meat, but raw.” 16 When the man would say to him: “Let them be sure to make the fat smoke first of all. Then take for yourself just whatever your soul may crave,” he actually said: “No, but you should give it now; and, if not, I shall have to take it by force!” 17 And the sin of the attendants came to be very great before Jehovah; for the men treated the offering of Jehovah with disrespect.

18 And Samuel was ministering before Jehovah, as a boy, having a linen ephod girded on. 19 Also, a little sleeveless coat his mother would make for him, and she brought it up to him from year to year when she came up with her husband to sacrifice the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife and said: “May Jehovah appoint to you an offspring from this wife in place of the thing lent, that was lent to Jehovah.” And they went to their place. 21 Accordingly Jehovah turned his attention to Hannah, so that she had pregnancy and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel continued growing up with Jehovah.

22 And Eli was very old, and he had heard of all that his sons kept doing to all Israel and how they would lie down with the women that were serving at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 23 And he used to say to them: “Why do YOU keep doing things like these? For the things I am hearing about YOU from all the people are bad. 24 No, my sons, because the report is not good that I am hearing, that the people of Jehovah are causing to circulate. 25 If a man should sin against a man, God will arbitrate for him; but if it is against Jehovah that a man should sin, who is there to pray for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, because Jehovah was now pleased to put them to death. 26 All the while the boy Samuel was growing bigger and more likable both from Jehovah’s standpoint and from that of men.

27 And a man of God proceeded to come to Eli and say to him: “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘Did I not for a fact reveal myself to the house of your forefather while they happened to be in Egypt as slaves to the house of Pharaoh? 28 And there was a choosing of him out of all the tribes of Israel for me, to act as priest and go up upon my altar to make sacrificial smoke billow up, to bear an ephod before me, that I might give to the house of your forefather all the offerings made by fire of the sons of Israel. 29 Why do YOU men keep kicking at my sacrifice and at my offering that I have commanded [in my] dwelling, and you keep honoring your sons more than me by fattening yourselves from the best of every offering of Israel my people?

30 “‘That is why the utterance of Jehovah the God of Israel is: “I did indeed say, As for your house and the house of your forefather, they will walk before me to time indefinite.” But now the utterance of Jehovah is: “It is unthinkable, on my part, because those honoring me I shall honor, and those despising me will be of little account.” 31 Look! Days are coming when I shall certainly chop off your arm and the arm of the house of your forefather, so that there will not come to be an old man in your house. 32 And you will actually look upon an adversary [in my] dwelling amid all the good that is done to Israel; and never will there come to be an old man in your house. 33 And yet there is a man of yours that I shall not cut off from being at my altar so as to cause your eyes to fail and to make your soul pine away; but the greater number of your house will all die by the sword of men. 34 And this is the sign for you that will come to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: On one day both of them will die. 35 And I shall certainly raise up for myself a faithful priest. In harmony with what is in my heart and in my soul he will do; and I shall certainly build for him a lasting house, and he will certainly walk before my anointed one always. 36 And it must occur that anyone left over in your house will come and bow down to him for the payment of money and a round loaf of bread, and will certainly say: “Attach me, please, to one of the priestly offices to eat a piece of bread.”’”