What does 1 Samuel 1:16 mean?
ESV: Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
NIV: Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.'
NASB: Do not consider your bond-servant a useless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.'
CSB: Don't think of me as a wicked woman; I've been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment."
NLT: Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.'
KJV: Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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