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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on 1 Samuel

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1.1–18 :

Hannah's request.

3 :

Elkanah's annual pilgrimage to the temple of Yahweh or house of the LORD (v. 7 ) in Shiloh shows him to be a righteous man. LORD of hosts or “armies” (Hebrew “sebaoth”) describes the LORD's leadership in wars both divine and on behalf of Israel.

5–8 :

The value of a woman's ability to bear children in ancient Israel lies behind Hannah's depression. Her barrenness is comparable to that of Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel in Genesis and of Samson's mother in Judg 13 .

11 :

Nazirites were “devoted” to the LORD for some special purpose and were prohibited from drinking alcohol or eating grapes, cutting their hair or beards, and approaching a dead body (Num 6.1–21 ). Intoxicants refers to a form of beer.

13 :

Eli thought she was drunk either because his eyesight was poor ( 3.2 ) or because he had lost the capacity to discern the sacred from the secular, and therefore could not tell that Hannah was praying.

1.19–28 :

Samuel's birth. The gift of a son to Hannah shows God's favor toward the disadvantaged and indicates that Samuel is chosen for a special purpose.

19 :

Elkanah knew his wife: An idiom for sexual relations.

20 :

Samuel's name ostensibly means “God has heard,” so the reader expects Hannah to say that she named her son Samuel because “God heard” her prayer. Her statement that she asked him of the LORD is a pun on the name of Saul instead.

28 :

Given is another pun on Saul's name. This is exactly the same as Saul's name in Hebrew (“sha'ul”). It might even be translated, “He is Saul to the LORD.” These puns may indicate that this story was originally about Saul's birth rather than Samuel's, or they may simply be the author's way of alluding to Saul as Israel's first king.

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