Hannah Prays for a Son and Vows to Give Him to the Lord. Eli the Priest Blesses Her. Samuel Is Born. Hannah Loans Him to the Lord. Eli Blesses Elkanah and Hannah, and They Have More Children.
1 Samuel 1:8–11, 17–20, 24–28; 2:20–21
8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.
11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. . . .
17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.
20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord. . . .
24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young.
25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.
27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there. . . .
20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
Arta M. Hale wrote:
“Hannah of the Bible had a righteous desire that she felt was not granted.
“Elkanah, an upright man of Israel, had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. While Peninnah had children, Hannah had none. The desire of Hannah’s heart was to have a son, yet year after year it did not happen, and she became so grief-stricken that she wept and could not eat. Elkanah, who loved Hannah, said to her, ‘. . . why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?’ (1 Samuel 1:8).
“Every year Hannah accompanied Elkanah to Shiloh to offer sacrifices to the Lord. One year as she went into the temple, Hannah’s heart and mind were consumed by her longing for a son. In bitterness of soul she prayed unto the Lord and spoke a vow, saying, ‘O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed . . . give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life . . .’ (1 Samuel 1:11).
“Eli, the temple priest, told Hannah, ‘Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition . . .’ (1 Samuel 1:17). Hannah was no longer sad. Soon she did conceive, and in due course her son Samuel was born.
“Hannah must have made a special effort to teach Samuel to take care of himself and to love the Lord, because he was still a young child when she left him with Eli at the temple. There he served the Lord diligently and became a prophet in Israel.
“Hannah was blessed with three more sons and two daughters. What a beautiful illustration of the abundance of the Lord’s blessings to the faithful! She freely gave one child to the Lord and in return He gave her five more.
“The Lord had glorious blessings in store for Hannah, as she was to be the mother of a great prophet. But before Hannah could receive that blessing, her desire for a son had to become so intense that she would be willing to give him up to the Lord. Sometimes we are like Hannah; the Lord has to prepare us before He can grant our righteous desires.”
(“Lessons in Womanhood: Insights for Latter-day Saint Women from the Lives of Vashti, Miriam, Ruth, Hannah, Jezebel, and Esther,” Ensign, Oct. 1973, 72–73.)