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1 Samuel 2:1-11

Context
Hannah Exalts the Lord in Prayer

2:1 Hannah prayed, 1 

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;

my horn 2  is exalted high because of the Lord.

I loudly denounce 3  my enemies,

for I am happy that you delivered me. 4 

2:2 No one is holy 5  like the Lord!

There is no one other than you!

There is no rock 6  like our God!

2:3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly, 7 

letting proud talk come out of your mouth!

For the Lord is a God who knows;

he 8  evaluates what people do.

2:4 The bows of warriors are shattered,

but those who stumble find their strength reinforced.

2:5 Those who are well-fed hire themselves out to earn food,

but the hungry no longer lack.

Even 9  the barren woman gives birth to seven, 10 

but the one with many children withers away. 11 

2:6 The Lord both kills and gives life;

he brings down to the grave 12  and raises up.

2:7 The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;

he humbles and he exalts.

2:8 He lifts the weak 13  from the dust;

he raises 14  the poor from the ash heap

to seat them with princes

and to bestow on them an honored position. 15 

The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord,

and he has placed the world on them.

2:9 He watches over 16  his holy ones, 17 

but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness,

for it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails.

2:10 The Lord shatters 18  his adversaries; 19 

he thunders against them from 20  the heavens.

The Lord executes judgment to the ends of the earth.

He will strengthen 21  his king

and exalt the power 22  of his anointed one.” 23 

2:11 Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah. But the boy was serving the Lord under the supervision of 24  Eli the priest.

1 tn Heb “prayed and said.” This is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.

2 sn Horns of animals have always functioned as both offensive and defensive weapons for them. As a figure of speech the horn is therefore often used in the Bible as a symbol of human strength (see also in v. 10). The allusion in v. 1 to the horn being lifted high suggests a picture of an animal elevating its head in a display of strength or virility.

3 tn Heb “my mouth opens wide against.”

4 tn Heb “for I rejoice in your deliverance.”

5 sn In this context God’s holiness refers primarily to his sovereignty and incomparability. He is unique and distinct from all other so-called gods.

6 tn The LXX has “and there is none righteous like our God.” The Hebrew term translated “rock” refers to a rocky cliff where one can seek refuge from enemies. Here the metaphor depicts God as a protector of his people. Cf. TEV “no protector like our God”; CEV “We’re safer with you than on a high mountain.”

7 tn Heb “proudly, proudly.” If MT is original, the repetition of the word is for emphasis, stressing the arrogance of those addressed. However, a few medieval Hebrew manuscripts and some other textual witnesses do not reflect the repetition, suggesting that the Hebrew text may be dittographic.

8 tc The MT (Qere) reads “and by him actions are weighed.” The translation assumes that reading of the Qere וְלוֹ (vÿlo, “and by him”), which is supported by many medieval Hebrew mss, is correct, rather than the reading of the Kethib וְלוֹא (vÿlo’, “and not”).

9 tc Against BHS but with the MT, the preposition (עַד, ’ad) should be taken with what follows rather than with what precedes. For this sense of the preposition see Job 25:5.

10 sn The number seven is used here in an ideal sense. Elsewhere in the OT having seven children is evidence of fertility as a result of God’s blessing on the family. See, for example, Jer 15:9, Ruth 4:15.

11 tn Or “languishes.”

12 tn Heb “Sheol”; NAB “the nether world”; CEV “the world of the dead.”

13 tn Or “lowly”; Heb “insignificant.”

14 tn The imperfect verbal form, which is parallel to the participle in the preceding line, is best understood here as indicating what typically happens.

15 tn Heb “a seat of honor.”

16 tn Heb “guards the feet of.” The expression means that God watches over and protects the godly in all of their activities and movements. The imperfect verbal forms in v. 9 are understood as indicating what is typically true. Another option is to translate them with the future tense. See v. 10b.

17 tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss in reading the plural (“his holy ones”) rather than the singular (“his holy one”) of the Kethib.

18 tn The imperfect verbal forms in this line and in the next two lines are understood as indicating what is typically true. Another option is to translate them with the future tense. See v. 10b.

19 tc The present translation follows the Qere, many medieval Hebrew manuscripts, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Vulgate in reading the plural (“his adversaries,” similarly many other English versions) rather than the singular (“his adversary”) of the Kethib.

20 tn The Hebrew preposition here has the sense of “from within.”

21 tn The imperfect verbal forms in this and the next line are understood as indicating what is anticipated and translated with the future tense, because at the time of Hannah’s prayer Israel did not yet have a king.

22 tn Heb “the horn,” here a metaphor for power or strength. Cf. NCV “make his appointed king strong”; NLT “increases the might of his anointed one.”

23 tc The LXX greatly expands v. 10 with an addition that seems to be taken from Jer 9:23-24.

sn The anointed one is the anticipated king of Israel, as the preceding line makes clear.

24 tn Heb “with [or “before”] the face of.”



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