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1 Samuel 1:6-20

Context
1:6 Her rival wife used to upset her and make her worry, 1  for the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 1:7 Peninnah 2  would behave this way year after year. Whenever Hannah 3  went up to the Lord’s house, Peninnah 4  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? 5  Am I not better to you than ten 6  sons?”

1:9 On one occasion in Shiloh, after they had finished eating and drinking, Hannah got up. 7  (Now at the time Eli the priest was sitting in his chair 8  by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.) 1:10 She was very upset 9  as she prayed to the Lord, and she was weeping uncontrollably. 10  1:11 She made a vow saying, “O Lord of hosts, if you will look with compassion 11  on the suffering of your female servant, 12  remembering me and not forgetting your servant, and give a male child 13  to your servant, then I will dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. His hair will never be cut.” 14 

1:12 As she continued praying to 15  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 16  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, 17  my lord! I am under a great deal of stress. 18  I have drunk neither wine nor beer. Rather, I have poured out my soul to 19  the Lord. 1:16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman, 20  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. 21  Her face no longer looked sad.

1:19 They got up early the next morning and after worshiping the Lord, they returned to their home at Ramah. Elkanah had marital relations with 22  his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered 23  her. 1:20 After some time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, thinking, “I asked the Lord for him. 24 

1 tn Heb “and her rival wife grieved her, even [with] grief so as to worry her.”

2 tn The MT has a masculine form of the verb here יַעֲשֶׂה (yaaseh, “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, yeaseh, “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.

3 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Hannah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Peninnah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “why is your heart displeased?”

6 sn Like the number seven, the number ten is sometimes used in the OT as an ideal number (see, for example, Dan 1:20, Zech 8:23).

7 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.

8 tn Or perhaps, “on his throne.” See Joüon 2:506-7 §137.f.

9 tn Heb “she [was in] bitterness of soul.”

10 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.

11 tn Heb “if looking you look.” The expression can refer, as here, to looking favorably upon another, in this case with compassion.

12 tn Heb “handmaid.” The use of this term (translated two more times in this verse and once each in vv. 16, 17 simply as “servant” for stylistic reasons) is an expression of humility.

13 tn Heb “seed of men.”

14 tn Heb “a razor will not go up upon his head.”

15 tc Heb “before.” Many medieval Hebrew manuscripts read “to.”

16 tn Heb “Eli.” The pronoun (“he”) has been used in the translation in keeping with contemporary English style.

17 tn Heb “No.”

18 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).

19 tn Heb “before.”

20 tn Heb “daughter of worthlessness.”

21 tc Several medieval Hebrew mss and the Syriac Peshitta lack the words “and got something to eat.”

22 tn Heb “Elkanah knew his wife.” The Hebrew expression is a euphemism for sexual relations.

23 sn The Lord “remembered” her in the sense of granting her earlier request for a child. The Hebrew verb is often used in the OT for considering the needs or desires of people with favor and kindness.

24 tn Heb “because from the Lord I asked him.” The name “Samuel” sounds like the Hebrew verb translated “asked.” The explanation of the meaning of the name “Samuel” that is provided in v. 20 is not a strict etymology. It seems to suggest that the first part of the name is derived from the Hebrew root שׁאל (shl, “to ask”), but the consonants do not support this. Nor is it likely that the name comes from the root שׁמא (shm’, “to hear”), for the same reason. It more probably derives from שֶׁם (shem, “name”), so that “Samuel” means “name of God.” Verse 20 therefore does not set forth a linguistic explanation of the meaning of the name, but rather draws a parallel between similar sounds. This figure of speech is known as paronomasia.



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