1 Samuel 1:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 1:16, NIV: Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.'

1 Samuel 1:16, ESV: Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”

1 Samuel 1:16, KJV: Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

1 Samuel 1:16, NASB: Do not consider your bond-servant a useless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.'

1 Samuel 1:16, NLT: Don't think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.'

1 Samuel 1:16, CSB: Don't think of me as a wicked woman; I've been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment."

What does 1 Samuel 1:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hannah is asking Eli the priest of the temple to understand that she is not drunk. After seeing this distraught woman mumbling to herself in the temple, he had decided she was drunk on the wine of the feast day and reprimanded her. Hannah has assured him she hasn't touched a drop of alcohol that day (1 Samuel 1:12–15).

Instead, Hannah has said she has been pouring her soul out to the Lord. She asks the priest not to think of her as worthless. She says she has been speaking to God out of her "great anxiety and vexation." The CSB says "from the depth of my anguish and resentment." The KJV terms it "the abundance of my complaint and grief." The NIV gives, "out of my great anguish and grief." In short, Hannah is deeply distressed and has brought her musings, frustrations, and worries to God in prayer.

Hannah's grief comes from the fact that she is childless and her husband's second wife, who does have children, purposely provokes her (1 Samuel 1:6). Hannah does not explain this to Eli, but she has been making a desperate vow to the Lord to dedicate any son He might give to her back to the Lord for lifelong service (1 Samuel 1:11).

What stands out in Hannah's description of her conversation with the Lord is both her humility and her assertiveness before Yahweh, both her openness and her stark honesty. Hannah and her husband understood that it was the Lord who had "closed her womb" (1 Samuel 1:5). She was vexed, meaning angry, but she was not disrespectful or dismissive of God. She made a bold request direct from herself to the Lord, trusting Him to act according to His will and believing that He might hear and answer her. She did not attempt to hold back her feelings from the Lord, but she did not declare herself independent of Him, either.

Hannah's prayer in grief and anxiety is a model for everyone to call on God out of a faithful heart.