What does 1 Samuel 1:21 mean?
ESV: The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow.
NIV: When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow,
NASB: Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow.
CSB: When Elkanah and all his household went up to make the annual sacrifice and his vow offering to the Lord,
NLT: The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow.
KJV: And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
Hannah had made a vow to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:11). If He would grant her a son, she would give the boy back to the Lord for his entire life. The implication is that the boy would be dedicated to serve in the temple of the Lord, following the pattern of Leviticus 27:1–8.
The Lord granted Hannah's request. Her vow became her husband's vow, as well (Numbers 30:10–15). It is possible Elkanah made an additional vow, too. After Samuel was born, Elkanah planned the annual trip to Shiloh to sacrifice to the Lord. He was also going to make good on his vow. This implies one of two things. He may have planned to give Samuel to the priest, Eli, at the temple then. The other option is he was planning a separate sacrifice to the Lord which he had vowed, likely in relation to Hannah having a son.
First Samuel 1:21–28 tells of how Hannah and her husband Elkanah kept their vow to give a son back to the Lord if she could conceive and give birth to one. Hannah suggests they wait to take the child to Shiloh and give him to the priest until Samuel is weaned. Once he is, they take a large offering to the temple. Hannah tells Eli the priest that this is the boy she was praying for on the night they met. The Lord granted her request. She gives the boy over to the Lord for as long as he lives.
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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