What does 1 Samuel 1:18 mean?
ESV: And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
NIV: She said, 'May your servant find favor in your eyes.' Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
NASB: She said, 'Let your bond-servant find favor in your sight.' So the woman went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
CSB: "May your servant find favor with you," she replied. Then Hannah went on her way; she ate and no longer looked despondent.
NLT: Oh, thank you, sir!' she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
KJV: And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
Verse Commentary:
Hannah was a changed woman. Before she went into the temple, she had been unwilling to eat, weeping bitterly, and deeply distressed (1 Samuel 1:7–10). She was childless and her husband's second wife, who did have children, intentionally provoked her (1 Samuel 1:6). Hannah bared her soul before the Lord. She also vowed to God that if He gave her a son, she would return that son to His service for his life. While she was praying, the temple priest accused Hannah of being drunk. She explained that she was deeply troubled and had been pouring her heart out to the Lord. Eli, the temple priest, believed her and blessed her. Now, leaving the temple, Hannah is no longer sad and she is ready to enjoy a meal. What changed?

Two things happened. First, the priest of the temple expressed his desire that God would grant her request. Some see it as Eli telling Hannah that God would, indeed, grant her request. That was the best news she could have hoped for. Hannah had previously asked Eli not to view her as "a worthless woman;" here she asks that Eli find favor in her, using the cultural expression "your servant." Whether Eli simply joined in Hannah's petition or prophesied its fruition, Hannah had reason to hope. She had been seen and heard, and her heart's desire had been affirmed.

Something else happened, though. Even without Eli's blessing, Hannah had poured out her soul to the Lord, expressing all her vexation and anxiety to Him. She trusted Him with her request (1 Samuel 1:10–16). Even without receiving an immediate positive answer, the choice to express our feelings and give our requests to the Lord can bring peace (Philippians 4:4–8). Paul exhorted the Philippian believers, "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:5–7). When we entrust ourselves to God, we can experience His peace (1 Peter 5:7).
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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