1 Samuel 1:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 1:11, NIV: And she made a vow, saying, 'LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."

1 Samuel 1:11, ESV: And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

1 Samuel 1:11, KJV: 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.

1 Samuel 1:11, NASB: And she made a vow and said, 'LORD of armies, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your bond-servant and remember me, and not forget Your bond-servant, but will give Your bond-servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.'

1 Samuel 1:11, NLT: And she made this vow: 'O LORD of Heaven's Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut. '

1 Samuel 1:11, CSB: Making a vow, she pleaded, "Lord of Armies, if you will take notice of your servant's affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut."

What does 1 Samuel 1:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hannah has come to the temple in Shiloh to make a request of the Lord. We're not told whether this is the first time she has prayed about this during the annual family gathering in Shiloh. Perhaps she did so every year. Either way, her emotions about her infertility are not diminished. She is deeply distressed and had been weeping bitterly (1 Samuel 1:1–10).

Now Hannah makes a vow to God in hopes of receiving a "yes" for her request for a child. Making vows to a deity was common in many cultures during this era, including Israel. The Lord allowed His people to make vows to Him but required them to be strictly kept (Numbers 30). The mother of King Lemuel apparently made a vow to the Lord for him to be born (Proverbs 31:2).

The grief-stricken woman makes her vow to "the LORD of hosts," a name for God which may have been associated with the temple at Shiloh. First, she makes her request, then describes what she will give to the Lord if He grants it. Her request is simple: See my suffering. Don't lose sight of it. Think of me and take it away. Give me a son!

If the Lord gives her a son, Hannah promises to give him right back, as a lifelong payment. She adds that he will never have his hair cut. Most commentators agree that Hannah's vow refers to that of the Nazirite (Numbers 6:1–21). Taking a Nazirite vow would separate someone, devoting them to God, by following a set of special restrictions. Among the restrictions was that they not cut their hair. Samson, the judge of Israel, was dedicated to the Lord under the conditions of a Nazirite (Judges 13:2–5), which he eventually failed to keep.

Hannah may also have been thinking of Leviticus 27:1–8. This allowed a person as young as a month old to be vowed to God. This most likely meant being dedicated to lifelong service in the temple. Many commentators believe this is what Jephthah did to fulfill his foolish vow in the book of Judges (Judges 11:30–40). Hannah's husband was a Levite, meaning his son would be among the few allowed to become priests in the temple.

Usually, these kinds of vows described in the law of Moses came with an expiration date. Or they included a provision for redeeming someone out of the vow and the service that went with it. Hannah, though, vowed that her son would be dedicated to the Lord all the days of his life.