1 Samuel 2:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 2:20, NIV: Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, 'May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.' Then they would go home.

1 Samuel 2:20, ESV: Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the LORD.” So then they would return to their home.

1 Samuel 2:20, KJV: 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.

1 Samuel 2:20, NASB: Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, 'May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she requested of the LORD.' And they went to their own home.

1 Samuel 2:20, NLT: Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, 'May the LORD give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the LORD.'

1 Samuel 2:20, CSB: Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: "May the Lord give you children by this woman in place of the one she has given to the Lord." Then they would go home.

What does 1 Samuel 2:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Elkanah's family continued to travel to Shiloh every year. There, they made peace offerings to the Lord and held large family feasts (1 Samuel 1:1–20). After Samuel was born, Hannah would make and bring a new robe for the growing boy every year during that trip (1 Samuel 2:19).

Now we see that every year, Eli the priest would formally and officially bless Elkanah and Hannah. His prayer was that God would give Elkanah more children by Hannah because of the vow she made when asking for a son. Clearly, Eli appreciated Elkanah and Hannah and their sacrifice of Samuel.

The Lord did not need Eli's prayer of blessing to give Hannah her son, Samuel (1 Samuel 1:17), nor the children that came after. Yet God worked through Eli's blessing, anyway. Eli hadn't done much to change the behavior of his sons (1 Samuel 2:11, 17), so it's natural to wonder why God would do that. In fact, God would reject Eli for those very sins (1 Samuel 2:29)? In this case, God seems to have honored the special office He established: the chief representative between Him and His people. Though Eli had not earned God's favor, God maintained His plan to bless His people through the office Eli held.