What does 1 Samuel 1:1 mean?
ESV: There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.
NIV: There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
NASB: Now there was a man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
CSB: There was a man from Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim. His name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
NLT: There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim.
KJV: Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
NKJV: Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
Verse Commentary:
Samuel's father Elkanah was a direct descendant of Levi, placing him and Samuel in the tribe of the Levites (1 Chronicles 6:33–38), which allowed Samuel to serve as a priest in Israel. However, Elkanah's people lived in the hill country of the tribe and region of Ephraim. The identification as an "Ephraimite" or "Ephrathite" refers to where he lived, rather than his lineage.

Depending on the translation, this either specifies Elkanah's hometown, or includes information about his ancestry. This might refer to a town called Ramathaim-zophim. Alternatively, he was a descendant of Zuph from Ramathaim, which was in the "land of Zuph" (1 Samuel 9:5). Scholars differ as to whether Ramathaim is the same town as Ramah, described as the place the family lived at this time (1 Samuel 1:19) and Samuel's hometown (1 Samuel 2:11; 8:4; 25:1; 28:3). There was a town called Ramah in the territory of Benjamin, between Jerusalem and Bethel. Most commentators believe both to be the same town in Ephraim.
Verse Context:
First Samuel 1:1–20 describes how Samuel the prophet came to be born. His mother Hannah was barren and mocked by her husband's other wife, who had many children. During a family feast at Shiloh, Hannah prayed out of her deep despair. She vowed to give her son back to God if He would allow her to conceive. Once Eli, the priest, understood that Hannah was not drunk, he told her the Lord would grant her request. Satisfied, she returned home and soon gave birth to a boy. She named him Samuel.
Chapter Summary:
Elkanah lives in Ephraim with two wives. Hannah is barren, while his other wife has many children. At the annual family sacrifice and feast in Shiloh, Hannah weeps and pours out her grief before the Lord. She vows to give a son to Him for lifelong service if the Lord gives her a boy. After confronting Hannah for drunkenness and then seeing that she was praying from her depth of emotion, Eli the priest blesses Hannah and affirms her prayer. Elkanah and Hannah conceive, and she gives birth to a son that she names Samuel. Once he is weaned, she presents him to Eli at the temple and gives him over to the Lord as long as he lives.
Chapter Context:
First Samuel 1 begins the story of Samuel with the account of his unlikely-seeming birth. Samuel's mother Hannah is barren. During a family trip to temple of the Lord in Shiloh, she weeps bitterly before the Lord and pours out her grief. She vows to give a son back to the Lord if He will allow her to bear one. Eli the priest blesses her and affirms her prayer. Before long, Samuel is conceived and born. Once he is weaned, Hannah brings the boy and a large sacrifice to the temple. She gives Samuel over to the Lord.
Book Summary:
First Samuel introduces the key figures who led Israel after the era of the judges. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally part of a single text, split in certain translations shortly before the birth of Christ. Some of the Bible’s most famous characters are depicted in this book. These including the prophet Samuel, Israel’s first king, Saul, her greatest king, David, and other famous names such as Goliath and Jonathan. By the end of this book, Saul has fallen; the book of 2 Samuel begins with David’s ascension to the throne.
Accessed 5/24/2024 9:02:02 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com