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1 Samuel 1:4-20 - Hannah prayed and Eli made fun of her; but Yahweh answered

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On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though Yahweh had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because Yahweh had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of Yahweh, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before Yahweh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to Yahweh, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “Yahweh of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death give him to Yahweh all the days of his life. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”

As she continued praying before Yahweh, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, adonai, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before Yahweh. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; welohe of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before Yahweh; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and Yahweh remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of Yahweh.”


This is the Track 1 Old Testament selection to be read aloud in churches following the Track 1 course in Year B, on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 28], according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If read, then it will be followed by an additional reading from First Samuel, which is the song of Hannah, including the verse: “My heart exults in Yahweh; my horn is exalted in Yahweh.” That set will precede the Epistle reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus … let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where it is written: “As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

I wrote about this reading selection the last time it came up in the lectionary cycle (2018) and I posted those views on my website at that time. A copy of that commentary can be read by clicking on this link. I welcome all to read what I wrote then, as everything presented is still valid as instructional today. I will state that in 2018 I was more trusting of the text read aloud in Episcopal churches, than I am now. I see a need to correct the translations so the truth can be known. In that endeavor, one will note how eleven times in this reading the proper name Yahweh was translated as (thus to be read aloud) “the Lord.” This reduces the value of the name Yahweh and should not be done. Additionally, verse eleven has been presented as the true Word, when it is a paraphrase. In that paraphrase the proper name of Yahweh is eliminated altogether, while adding the word “nazarite,” along with words that imply Hanna promised no consuming of alcohol. I have stricken out the false text and replaced it with a true translation into English. Finally, the words “adonai” and “elohim” have been obliterated in translation; so, I have restored the Hebrew text.

I will address these changes first. Then, I will add new insight into this reading selection, before showing how it fits into a theme established by the other reading selections for this Sunday. By reading my 2018 commentary and comparing it to todays, a better view of Scripture should be gained.

In my 2018 observations, I did not place focus on the names that appear in these selected verses. The names are always important to understand, as they add depth to the story. My primary reference for name meaning from the Holy Bible is Abarim Publications. The first name is “Elkanah” [or “El-kanah”], which means, “God Of Jealousy, God Of Zeal.” Strong’s translates this as meaning “God has created” or “God has taken possession.” Elkanah is the husband of Peninnah and Hannah. The name “Peninnah” means “Curler, Coral, Pearl.” The name “Hannah” means “Graciousness.” Then there is the name of Eli, who was the high priest of Shiloh; and, his name means “My God, (Yah is) High.” The name of the child that would be born is Samuel, whose name means “Name Of God.” The names of the places mentioned: Shiloh and Ramah, respectively mean: “Tranquility Town” and “Lofty Place.” In these name, I want to place focus on the three men, all of whom contain “el” in their names, which ordinarily translates into English as “God,” in some form.

According to the Wikipedia article entitle “Elkanah” the following is stated [under the heading: Lineage], “According to the Priestly Code/Deuteronomic Code only Aaronic priests/Levites (depending on the underling tradition) were permitted to perform these actions, and simply being a nazarite or prophet was insufficient.” This means that Elkanah was a Levite and a priest, able to make sacrifices in the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Eli was the high priest at that Tabernacle; and, Samuel would be left by Hannah with Eli to be trained to be a priest of that Tabernacle. As such, the inclusion of “el” in their names is not coincidence or happenstance. All three men must be considered to be “elohim” of Yahweh, which means His priestly servants, with all being Levitical obligations of their parents to be submitted into service to Yahweh. thus, they were given those names with divine purpose.

As for Elkanah, when “God” is retranslated to say “an el of Yahweh,” or “one of Yahweh’s elohim,” this makes the name say he took this service to Yahweh with fervor. The Strong’s translation that says his name means “God has taken possession” clearly becomes a statement of his soul having married with the Spirit of Yahweh, so that Spirit is the possessing factor that leads Elkanah’s life. He was without a doubt a most holy man. This would be why each year he traveled to Shiloh with his family and sacrificial animals, to offer blood to Yahweh as a sin offering. One could see this as a Passover observance, so the angel of death would not take their souls away from Yahweh. One can presume that Elkanah was the firstborn son of his parents. The Wikipedia article says the Talmud lists Elkanah as a prophet, making him be on the same list with Moses.

When this is realized here, the name from the last two Sunday’s readings from Ruth say that Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, was a priest of the Tabernacle, as a first born male son, who left Judah because he could be a high priest wherever he went, not wishing to serve wayward peoples as one who would offer sacrifices to redeem their sins. His name would then say he was one of Yahweh’s elohim, to whom his whole body and soul was a nation unto Yahweh, with Yahweh his King. Additionally, it shows the first born son of Adam was named “Ab-el,”* a name that means an el born to serve the Father (Yahweh, not Adam). Thus, Abel offered animal sacrifices (blood to Yahweh), which pleases Yahweh and Cain was not allowed to do the same.

In the name Eli, we can also see the root in Elijah, showing that both men were designated by their parents to serve Yahweh. The name “Elijah” means “My God Is He” or “God Is Yahu” (where “Yahu” is “Jehu,” meaning “Yah Is He”) thus, “Elijah” means “I am possessed by Yahweh as one of His elohim.” The same is implied in the name Eli, as “I am a possessed elohim (of Yahweh).” This means Eli was a true high priest, as he was not just holding down a day job (like so many priests in Christian churches today), so when he heard what Hannah said about her prayer, he was not just sprinkling some holy water on her and handing her a wafer to eat when he said, “Go in peace; welohe of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” Those words were Yahweh speaking through His servant Eli.

In the use of “welohe,” which is a combined form that adds “and” to “elohim,” Eli said, “and I say “Go in peace” as one of Yahweh’s official hands on the earth, one of His elohim, who Retains Yahweh as His elohim [the meaning of “Israel”]. This was Yahweh telling Hannah her silent prayer was heard; and, after Eli had spoken as a human guard of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, insulting Hannah by using his human brain, Yahweh is now apologizing for him, to you. This change in demeanor needs to be seen as an elohim not always being the best representative of Yahweh as could be; but it shows Yahweh will access His servants in times of need.

In the naming of Samuel, having previously in Year B read about his role with David and Saul, we realize he was a more attentive elohim of Yahweh. The name Samuel also means “Heard Of God,” which is why we read Hannah saying the reason for the name given is “I have asked him of Yahweh.” That specifically names “Yahweh,” while saying “Samuel” means “Heard Dedication to Yahweh, to be one of His elohim.” Samuel was able to hear the voice of Yahweh, unlike Eli. Eli had Yahweh speak through his lips, but his inability to hear Hannah’s prayer, only seeing her lips move, he was unable to hear divine communications. Samuel was able to hear Yahweh’s voice, therefore able to convey Yahweh’s messages, just as was Jesus [a name meaning “Yah[weh] Will Save]. It should be realized that Samuel would be the last judge of the Israelite people, before David. Eli would fail Yahweh because he could not punish his mortal sons (both priests); and, Samuel also had sons who were not able to be divine as was his soul.

In the translation that I have stricken through, as it is not written in the Hebrew text [checking multiple Hebrew references], the words written as “then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head,” they are a paraphrase. What is written is a promise to “give a male son to Yahweh [not written in translation as “the Lord”] for as long as he lives. The aspect of “He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants” is also not written. These are the translators assuming Hanna promised her son to be dedicated to a “nazarite” life, where these traits are stated in Deuteronomy 6. As the Wikipedia article on Elkanah states, relative to being “a nazarite,” that is merely a physical expression of one’s beliefs, not a guarantor of one’s soul in marriage to Yahweh. So, lots of Jewish priests can not trim their beards or heads and abstain from drinking alcohol, while not being able to do blood sacrifices in the Temple. That alone does not make them Yahweh elohim.

In this reading from First Samuel, the element of being able to hear the voice of Yahweh is missing. Eli could speak for Yahweh, through divine possession of his soul by Yahweh. He therefore offered a prophecy that would come true. The reading from Daniel, as the Track 2 Old Testament offering, tells of Yahweh speaking to Daniel in a dream. Coming from Daniel’s twelfth (and last) chapter, Daniel was no longer the young prophet who won the trust of Nebuchadnezzar, as he was old in years. His dream vision with audio matches the prophecy of Joel, who said, “Your old men will dream dreams.” The point is one who is an “el” of Yahweh [“Daniel” means “Judge Of God” or “God Is My Judge”] is a conduit of prophecy, due to the marriage of one’s soul to Yahweh and a commitment in marriage to serve Yahweh wholly.

The prophecy spoken to Daniel by Yahweh is seen as an “End Times” prophecy, such that the theme stated in that reading is related to a them stated in John’s Apocalypse. In the same way, when Paul writes in Hebrews about a “second coming,” people who do not have their souls married to Yahweh see lips moving, but cannot hear the truth. Christians who wait until the End Times for Jesus to return are missing the fact that Jesus has already returned in Apostles and Saints for two thousand years. The prophecy of Daniel is them speaking of their ignorance to hear the truth and let Yahweh speak through those silent lips.

In the Hebrews reading that accompanies this reading from First Samuel, Paul quoted Jeremiah 31:33, where the Hebrew that would have been written by Paul [the letter is named “Hebrews”] would have said in an English translation: “But this covenant that I will make with the house of Israel [“He Who Retains Yahweh as one of His elohim”] after days, those speaking as Yahweh, “I will put my law in their mind and written on their hearts, and they will be My elohim and they will be My people.” The English translation from a Greek reproduction of the Hebrew written by Paul becomes translators trying to read the lips of Paul, thinking whoever wrote this Hebrews epistle must have been drunk on new wine. They totally miss the truth that was told and set before them.

In the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus told his disciples of major changes to come to the Temple of Jerusalem and those who called themselves believers, Christians today read those English translations and think of the End Times, making this Gospel selection be more in-line with the reading from Daniel. They fail to see the misunderstanding of divine text, in the same way Eli did not hear what prayer Hannah was speaking to Yahweh. The lesson to be learned from Eli is he let Hannah speak, after he ridiculed her wrongly. When he heard what she said, Yahweh flowed through his being and gave a blessing to Hannah. Certainly, Eli learned from his mistake. Hopefully modern Christians can do the same.

As a reading to be read aloud on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson is to pray to Yahweh and offer one’s soul up in marriage to Him. Then, one needs to look for the sings and listen to the voice of Yahweh coming to oneself [a “self” equals a “soul”] and hear Yahweh answering prayers. One is not put into the worldly realm to be given special privilege over others. Hannah was mistreated for years because she was barren. She prayed to be fertile, where the symbolism for a reader today is to stop crossing your legs [proverbially], asking Yahweh [“the Lord” to fake Christians] for everything in the Wish Book, while doing nothing to help anyone other than oneself. Until one becomes a Yahweh elohim, one is refusing to hear the voice of Yahweh and have faith in Yahweh. One cannot enter ministry as less than a Yahweh elohim, as only Yahweh can lead one to do His Will and bring others to do the same.


* The name “Abel” is not read in this manner. It is instead translated as “Habel” or “Abel,” as one word, either meaning “Vanity, Breath” or “Stream.” The first two are stated to be the meaning of the son of Adam.

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