1:1 There was a man from Ramathaim Zophim, 1 from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 1:2 He had two wives; the name of the first was Hannah and the name of the second was Peninnah. Now Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
1:3 Year after year 2 this man would go up from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh. It was there that the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, served as the Lord’s priests. 1:4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he used to give meat portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 1:5 But he would give a double 3 portion to Hannah, because he especially loved her. 4 Now the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 5 1:6 Her rival wife used to upset her and make her worry, 6 for the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 1:7 Peninnah 7 would behave this way year after year. Whenever Hannah 8 went up to the Lord’s house, Peninnah 9 would upset her so that she would weep and refuse to eat. 1:8 Finally her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and not eat? Why are you so sad? 10 Am I not better to you than ten 11 sons?”
1:9 On one occasion in Shiloh, after they had finished eating and drinking, Hannah got up. 12 (Now at the time Eli the priest was sitting in his chair 13 by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.) 1:10 She was very upset 14 as she prayed to the Lord, and she was weeping uncontrollably. 15 1:11 She made a vow saying, “O Lord of hosts, if you will look with compassion 16 on the suffering of your female servant, 17 remembering me and not forgetting your servant, and give a male child 18 to your servant, then I will dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. His hair will never be cut.” 19
1:12 As she continued praying to 20 the Lord, Eli was watching her mouth. 1:13 Now Hannah was speaking from her heart. Although her lips were moving, her voice was inaudible. Eli therefore thought she was drunk. 1:14 So he 21 said to her, “How often do you intend to get drunk? Put away your wine!”
1:15 But Hannah replied, “That’s not the way it is, 22 my lord! I am under a great deal of stress. 23 I have drunk neither wine nor beer. Rather, I have poured out my soul to 24 the Lord. 1:16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman, 25 for until now I have spoken from my deep pain and anguish.”
1:17 Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the request that you have asked of him.” 1:18 She said, “May I, your servant, find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and got something to eat. 26 Her face no longer looked sad.
1 tc The translation follows the MT. The LXX reads “a man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite”; this is followed by a number of recent English translations. It is possible the MT reading צוֹפִים (tsofim) arose from dittography of the mem (מ) at the beginning of the following word.
2 tn Heb “from days to days.”
3 tn The exact sense of the Hebrew word אַפָּיִם (’appayim, “two faces”) is not certain here. It is most likely used with the preceding expression (“one portion of two faces”) to mean a portion double than normally received. Although evidence for this use of the word derives primarily from Aramaic rather than from Hebrew usage, it provides an understanding that fits the context here better than other suggestions for the word do. The meaning “double” is therefore adopted in the present translation. Other possibilities for the meaning of the word include the following: “heavily” (cf. Vulg., tristis) and “worthy” or “choice” (cf. KJV and Targum). Some scholars have followed the LXX here, emending the word to אֶפֶס (’efes) and translating it as “but” or “however.” This seems unnecessary. The translators of the LXX may simply have been struggling to make sense of the word rather than following a Hebrew text that was different from the MT here.
4 tn Heb “for Hannah he loved.” Repetition of the proper name would seem redundant in contemporary English, so the pronoun (“her”) has been used here for clarity. The translation also adds the adverb “especially” to clarify the meaning of the text. Without this addition one might get the impression that only Hannah, not Peninnah, was loved by her husband. But the point of the text is that Hannah was his favorite.
6 tn Heb “and her rival wife grieved her, even [with] grief so as to worry her.”
7 tn The MT has a masculine form of the verb here יַעֲשֶׂה (ya’aseh, “he used to do”); the subject in that case would presumably be Elkanah. But this leads to an abrupt change of subject in the following part of the verse, where the subject is the rival wife who caused Hannah anxiety. In light of v. 6 one expects the statement of v. 7 to refer to the ongoing actions of the rival wife: “she used to behave in this way year after year.” Some scholars have proposed retaining the masculine form but changing the vocalization of the verb so as to read a Niphal rather than a Qal (i.e., יֵעֲשֶׂה, ye’aseh, “so it used to be done”). But the problem here is lack of precedent for such a use of the Niphal of this verb. It seems best in light of the context to understand the reference to be to Hannah’s rival Peninnah and to read here, with the Syriac Peshitta, a feminine form of the verb (“she used to do”). In the translation the referent (Peninnah) has been specified for clarity.
8 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Hannah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
9 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Peninnah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
10 tn Heb “why is your heart displeased?”
12 tc The LXX adds “and stood before the Lord,” but this is probably a textual expansion due to the terseness of the statement in the Hebrew text.
13 tn Or perhaps, “on his throne.” See Joüon 2:506-7 §137.f.
14 tn Heb “she [was in] bitterness of soul.”
15 tn Heb “and weeping, she was weeping.” The infinitive absolute emphasizes the extent of her sorrow. The imperfect verbal form emphasizes the continuation of the action in past time.
16 tn Heb “if looking you look.” The expression can refer, as here, to looking favorably upon another, in this case with compassion.
18 tn Heb “seed of men.”
19 tn Heb “a razor will not go up upon his head.”
20 tc Heb “before.” Many medieval Hebrew manuscripts read “to.”
21 tn Heb “Eli.” The pronoun (“he”) has been used in the translation in keeping with contemporary English style.
22 tn Heb “No.”
23 tn Heb “I am a woman difficult of spirit.” The LXX has “for whom the day is difficult,” apparently mistaking the Hebrew word for “spirit” רוּחַ (ruakh) to be the word for “day” יוֹם (yom).
24 tn Heb “before.”
25 tn Heb “daughter of worthlessness.”
26 tc Several medieval Hebrew