1 Samuel 1:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 1:20, NIV: So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I asked the LORD for him.'

1 Samuel 1:20, ESV: And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.”

1 Samuel 1:20, KJV: 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.

1 Samuel 1:20, NASB: It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, 'Because I have asked for him of the LORD.'

1 Samuel 1:20, NLT: and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, 'I asked the LORD for him.'

1 Samuel 1:20, CSB: After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because she said, "I requested him from the Lord."

What does 1 Samuel 1:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The earliest part of Samuel's story is really his mother Hannah's story, which comes with a joyful ending. The deepest desire of Hannah's heart, to be a mother, comes true. She and her husband are able to conceive. She gives birth to a son. She asked the Lord for this son and she will be faithful to return him to the Lord, as she had promised (1 Samuel 1:11). Her son will go on to know the Lord and be one of the most important leaders of Israel.

We also see in this story that the Lord remembered Hannah (1 Samuel 1:19). God does not lose anything from his awareness: He never "forgets" anything, in the most literal sense. The word for "remembered" in the Hebrew is active. The Lord chose to act on Hannah's behalf. God's answer to Hannah's prayer is direct evidence that God is paying attention, that He cares for His people, and that He answers prayer. Those who have put their faith in Christ can "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). We know that God will hear our prayers (John 14:13–14; Hebrews 10:19–23; 1 John 5:13–15), and we are called to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

This background on Samuel's birth indicates to the reader that he will be a key figure in the narrative. We are given the birth stories of many key figures in the Bible, and often those children are born to previously infertile parents. This includes figures such as Isaac (Genesis 21:1–7), Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21), Samson (Judges 13), and John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–25). Moses escaped death at infancy (Exodus 2:1–10). Jesus, of course, was born to a virgin (Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–39; 2:1–7). God told the prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). In Psalm 139 David proclaimed, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13-14). No human life is accidental.

Hannah calls the boy Samuel, and she says this is because she has asked for him from the Lord. Most scholars say the best actual meaning for the name Samuel in Hebrew is "name of God." However, the Hebrew name for Samuel sounds like a phrase meaning "asked of God" or possibly "heard of God." The Lord heard what Hannah asked for, and He gave her a son who would proclaim His name to His people.