1 Samuel 1

Verse 18. Until thou know how the matter will fall] That is,

whether he who is nearer of kin than Boaz will take thee to wife;

do not return again till this thing is determined. Boaz lost no

time to bring this to an issue, as we shall see in the following




-Year from the Creation, 2833.

-Year before the Incarnation, 1171.

-Year before the first Olympiad, 395.

-Year before the building of Rome, 418.

-Year of the Julian Period, 3543.

-Year of the Dionysian Period, 351.

-Cycle of the Sun, 15.

-Cycle of the Moon, 9.


Some account of Elkanah and his two wives, Peninnah and Hannah,

1, 2.

His annual worship at Shiloh and the portions he gave at such

times to his wives, 3-5.

Hannah, being barren, is reproached by Peninnah, especially in

their going up to Shiloh; at which she is sorely grieved, 6, 7.

Elkanah comforts her, 8.

Her prayer and vow in the temple, that if God would give her a

son, she would consecrate him to His service, 9-11.

Eli, the high priest, indistinctly hearing her pray, charges her

with being drunk, 12-14.

Her defence of her conduct, 15, 16.

Eli, undeceived, blesses her; on which she takes courage,

17, 18.

Hannah and Elkanah return home; she conceives, bears a son, and

calls him Samuel, 19, 20.

Elkanah and his family go again to Shiloh to worship; but Hannah

stays at home to nurse her child, purposing, as soon as he is

weaned, to go and offer him to the Lord, according to her vow,


When weaned, she takes him to Shiloh, presents hear child to Eli

to be consecrated to the Lord, and offers three bullocks, an

ephah of flour, and a bottle of wane, for his consecration,



Verse 1. Ramathaim-zophim] Literally, the two high places of the

watchman; these were, no doubt, two contiguous hills, on which

watchtowers were built, and in which watchmen kept continual guard

for the safety of the country and which afterwards gave name to

the place.

Verse 2. He had two wives] The custom of those times permitted

polygamy; but wherever there was more than one wife, we find the

peace of the family greatly disturbed by it.

The name of the one was Hannah] Channah, which signifies

fixed or settled, and the other Peninnah, which

signifies a jewel or pearl.

Verse 3. Went up out of his city yearly to worship] As the ark

was at Shiloh, there was the temple of God, and thither all the

males were bound by the law to go once a year, on each of the

great national festivals: viz., the passover, pentecost, and feast

of tabernacles.

The Lord of hosts] Yehovah tsebaoth, Jehovah of

armies. As all the heavenly bodies were called the hosts of

heaven, tseba hashshamayim, Jehovah being called Lord

of this host showed that he was their Maker and Governor; and

consequently He, not they, was the proper object of religious

worship. The sun, moon, planets, and stars, were the highest

objects of religious worship to the heathens in general. The

Jewish religion, teaching the knowledge of a Being who was the

Lord of all these, showed at once its superiority to all that

heathenism could boast. This is the first place where Lord of

hosts is mentioned in the Bible; and this is so much in the style

of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, &c., that it gives some weight

to the supposition that this book was written by a person who

lived in or after the times of these prophets. See the preface.

Verse 4. He gave-portions] The sacrifices which were made were

probably peace-offerings, of which the blood was poured out at the

foot of the altar; the fat was burnt on the fire; the breast and

right shoulder were the portion of the priest, and the rest

belonged to him who made the offering; on it he and his family

feasted, each receiving his portion; and to these feasts God

commands them to invite the Levite, the poor, the widow, and the

orphan, De 16:11.

Verse 5. Unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion] The Hebrew here

is very obscure, yitten manah achath appayim; he

gave her one portion of two faces; which the Syriac renders, he

gave her one DOUBLE PART; and the Chaldee, he gave her one CHOSEN

part; the Arabic is nearly the same; the Vulgate Annae autem

dedit unam partem tristis, but to Anna he being sorrowful gave one

part. As the shew-bread that was presented to the Lord was called

lechem panim, the bread of faces, because it was placed

before the face or appearances of the Lord; probably this was

called manah appayim, because it was the portion that

belonged to, or was placed before, the person who had offered the

sacrifice. On this ground it might be said that Elkanah gave

Hannah his own portion or a part of that which was placed before

himself. Whatever it was, it was intended as a proof of his especial

love to her; for, it is added, he loved Hannah.

Verse 6. And her adversary] That is, Peninnah.

Provoked her sore] Was constantly striving to irritate and vex

her, to make her fret-to make her discontented with her lot,

because the Lord had denied her children.

Verse 7. And as he did so year by year] As the whole family went

up to Shiloh to the annual festivals, Peninnah had both sons and

daughters to accompany her, 1Sa 1:4, but Hannah had none; and

Peninnah took this opportunity particularly to twit Hannah with

her barrenness, by making an ostentatious exhibition of her


Therefore she wept] She was greatly distressed, because it was a

great reproach to a woman among the Jews to be barren; because,

say some, every one hoped that the Messiah should spring from her


Verse 8. Am not I better to thee than ten sons?] TEN, a certain

for an uncertain number. Is not my especial affection to thee

better than all the comfort thou couldst gain, even from a

numerous family?

Verse 9. Eli-sat upon a seat] al hakkisse, upon the

throne, i.e., of judgment; for he was then judge of Israel.

By a post of the temple of the Lord.] I think this is the first

place where heychal Yehovah, "temple of Jehovah," is

mentioned. This gives room for a strong suspicion that the books

of Samuel were not compiled till the first temple was built, or

after the days of Solomon. After this the word temple is

frequent in the books of Kings, Chronicles, and in the prophets.

Perhaps those Psalms in which this word occurs were, like many

others in the Psalms, not of David's composition; some of them

were evidently made long after his time.

Verse 11. I will give him unto the Lord] Samuel, as a descendant

of the house of Levi, was the Lord's property from twenty-five

years of age till fifty; but the vow here implies that he should

be consecrated to the Lord from his infancy to his death, and that

he should not only act as a Levite, but as a Nazarite, on whose

head no razor should pass.

Verse 13. Spake in her heart; only her lips moved] She prayed;

her whole heart was engaged: and though she spake not with an

audible voice, yet her lips formed themselves according to the

pronunciation of the words which her heart uttered.

Verse 15. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink] Neither

wine nor inebriating drink has been poured out unto me; but I have

poured out my soul unto the Lord. There is a great deal of

delicacy and point in this vindication.

Verse 16. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial]

al titten eth amathecha liphney

bath Beliyael; 'Put not thy handmaiden before the faces of a

daughter of Belial." "If I am a drunkard, and strive by the most

execrable hypocrisy (praying in the house of God) to cover my

iniquity, then I am the chief of the daughters of Belial." Or,

"Give not thy handmaid to reproach) before the faces of the

daughters of Belial." Several of these probably attended there for

the purposes of prostitution and gain; for it is said, 1Sa 2:22,

that Eli's sons lay with the women at the door of the tabernacle,

though this may refer to the women who kept the door.

Verse 17. Grant thee thy petition] He was satisfied he had

formed a wrong judgment, and by it had added to the distress of

one already sufficiently distressed.

The fact that Eli supposed her to be drunken, and the other of

the conduct of Eli's sons already mentioned, prove that religion

was at this time at a very low ebb in Shiloh; for it seems drunken

women did come to the place, and lewd women were to be found


Verse 18. Let thine handmaid find grace] Continue to think

favourably of me, and to pray for me.

Verse 20. Called his name Samuel] As she gave this name to her

son because she had asked him of the Lord, the word Shemuel

must be here considerably contracted; if it express this

sentiment, the component parts of it are the following:

shaul meEl, "asked of God.' This name would put both the mother

and the son in continual remembrance of the Divine interposition

at his birth. See on 1Sa 1:28.

Verse 21. The man Elkanah and all his house] He and the whole of

his family, Hannah and her child excepted, who purposed not to go

up to Shiloh till her son was old enough to be employed in the

Divine service.

And his vow] Probably he had also made some vow to the Lord on

the occasion of his wife's prayer and vow; in which, from his love

to her. he could not be less interested than herself.

Verse 23. Until thou have weaned him] On the nature of this

weaning, and the time in which it was usually done, the reader

will be pleased to refer to Clarke's note on "Ge 21:8".

The Lord establish his word.] Or, may the Lord establish his

word-preserve the child, cause him to grow up, and make him a

blessing to Israel.

Verse 24. With three bullocks] The Septuagint, the Syriac, and

the Arabic, read, a bullock of three years old; and this is

probably correct, because we read, 1Sa 1:25, that they slew

eth happar, THE bullock. We hear of no more, and we know that

a bullock or heifer of three years old was ordinarily used, see

Ge 15:9.

One ephah of flour] Seven gallons and a half.

A bottle of wine] nebel yayin, a skin full of wine.

Their bottles for wine and fluids in general were made out of

skins of goats, stripped off without being cut up; the places

whence the legs were extracted sewed up, as also the lower part;

and the top tied. See Clarke on Ge 21:14, and "Mt 9:17".

These three things, the ox, the flour, and the wine, probably

constituted the consecration-offering.

Verse 26. As thy soul liveth] As sure as thou art a living soul,

so surely am I the person who stood by thee here praying.

Verse 28. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord] There is

here a continual reference to her vow, and to the words which she

used in making that vow.

The word Samuel, as we have already seen, is a contraction of

the words Shaul meEl, that is, asked or lent of God;

for his mother said, 1Sa 1:27,

The Lord hath given me my petition, which SHAALTI, I ASKED

of him. In 1Sa 1:28 she says:

hu SHAUL layhouah, he shall be LENT unto the Lord: here we find

the verb is the same; and it is remarked by grammarians that

shaal, he asked, making in the participle pahul shaul,

ASKED, in the conjugation hiphil signifies to lend; therefore,

says his mother, 1Sa 1:28,

HISHILTIHU layhovah, I have LENT him to the Lord. This twofold

meaning of the Hebrew root is not only followed by our

translators, but also by the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Syriac.

And he worshipped the Lord there.] Instead of

vaiyishtachu, HE worshipped, vaiyishtachavu, and THEY

worshipped, is the reading of six of Kennicott's and De Rossi's

MSS., of some copies of the Septuagint, and of the Vulgate,

Syriac, and Arabic.

This and the following chapter are connected in most copies of

the Septuagint and Vulgate thus: And Anna worshipped, and said, My

soul is strengthened in the Lord, &c. It is very likely that the

whole passage, from the beginning of ver. 26 to the end of ver. 10

of the ensuing chapter, 1Sa 1:26-2:10, contains the words of

Hannah alone; and that even the clause, He worshipped the Lord

there, should be, And she worshipped the Lord there, and prayed,

and said, &c. Indeed this latter clause is wanting in the Polyglot

Septuagint, as I have stated above.

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