What does 1 Samuel 1:12 mean?
ESV: As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
NIV: As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
NASB: Now it came about, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth.
CSB: While she continued praying in the Lord's presence, Eli watched her mouth.
NLT: As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her.
KJV: And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
Verse Commentary:
Hannah has been described as deeply distressed and weeping bitterly (1 Samuel 1:10). She is so distraught because she is barren and her husband's second wife purposely provokes her (1 Samuel 1:6–8). She is praying fervently to the Lord and taking a vow before Him in the temple, offering to give any son He would grant to her back to Him in service for the rest of the boy's life (1 Samuel 1:11).

When Hannah arrived, Eli, the priest, had been sitting on a special chair by the doorpost (1 Samuel 1:9). Israelite priests were all descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses (Exodus 28:1–5, 40–43; Numbers 3:3). At this time, what we think of as the temple had not yet been built (1 Kings 6). The center of worship, namely the tabernacle and its contents (Exodus 25—31; 35–40), was in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). Given the descriptions of Eli (1 Samuel 2:11, 27-36), he seems to be the high priest. As such, he is responsible for the other priests and entrusted to represent the people before God through things like the yearly sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. Now Eli notices Hannah praying and watches her. He sees her lips moving, probably very quickly and intently, but no sound is coming out (1 Samuel 1:13). This doesn't look right to him (1 Samuel 1:14).
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.
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