Shmuel 1-Chapter 1: Shmuel is born to Channah

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Chapter 1: Shmuel is born to Channah

1. Elkana and his wives:

  • Who was Elkana? There was a certain [Levite[1]] man from the hillside area called Ramasim Tzofim, which was within the mountains of Efraim whose name was Elkana, the son on Yerucham, who was the son of Elihu, who was the son of Tochu, who was the son of Tzuf the Efrite [who was a descendent of Aviasaf the son of Korach[2]].
  • His two wives: Elkana had two wives, one named Channah and the second names Penina. Penina had children, while Channah did not [as she was barren].

2. The annual pilgrimage to Shilo:

  • Elkana traveled from his city to an annual pilgrimage to the city of Shilo, in which he would prostrate to G-d and offer him sacrifices.
  • The high priests of that time: At that time, the two sons of Eily, Chafni and Pinchas, were the priests of G-d.
  • Dividing the sacrificial portions of meat: The day arrived, and Elkana brought the offerings [i.e. Karban Shelamim], and he gave his wife Penina and all her sons and daughters a portion of meat. To his wife Channah, however, he gave a most special portion, as he loved Channah, despite the fact that G-d had closed her womb.
  • Penina torments her co-wife Channah: [Penina], the co-wife of Channah, would annually torment Channah by the pilgrimage to the house of G-d in Shiloh [by asking her questions regarding her “children”[3]]. She would purposely cause her anger to boil, in order so she complain [to G-d of the fact that she is childless, and hopefully be blessed with a child[4]]. Channah would get very upset and cry and not eat.
  • Elkana attempts to comfort his wife: Channah’s husband Elkana would attempt to comfort her by asking her as to why she was crying and not eating, and as to why she is so bitter. He would say to her: Am I not better to you than ten sons [meaning do I not love you more than all the ten sons that Penina birthed for me[5]]?
  • Eily the Kohen: At that time Eily the Kohen [was appointed as the leading judge[6] and he thus] sat on a chair near the entrance of Heichal Hashem.

3. Channah goes to weep and pray before G-d:

  • Channah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh, and went with a bitter soul to pray before G-d. She cried profusely before Him.
  • The vow and promise: Channah made a vow to G-d and said that if Hashem Tzevaos sees the oppression of his maidservant and remembers her to give her a child of men [of Tzadikim[7]], then this boy will be dedicated to G-d for his entire life and a razor will not be placed on his head [i.e. he will be a Nazir to Hashem].
  • Eily intervenes: As Channah was increasing in supplication before G-d, Eily was watching her [waiting for her to finish[8]]. Channah was speaking in her thoughts, to her heart, and although her lips moved her voice could not be heard. Eily thus mistook her for a drunkard. Eily turned to her and said: Until when will you be drunk? Remove your wine from yourself [and become sober].
  • Channah replies to Eily: Channah replied to Eily that he is incorrect in his judgment, as she is not drunk, and has not drunk any wine or alcohol. However, she is a woman of tormented spirit who is pouring out her soul before G-d. She said to Eily: Do not consider your maidservant as the daughter of a renegade man [who gets drunk and makes a scene in the holiest of places], as I have spoken out of anger and frustration.
  • The reply of Eily: Eily replied to Channah that she should go in peace and the G-d of Israel will grant her the request that she asked from him. Channah replied asking Eily [to pray on her behalf[9] and] that she may find favor in his eyes.

4. Channah returns home and conceives, and her son Shmuel is born:

  • Channah went on her way [towards home[10]] and she ate and drank like normal and her face was not saddened any longer. They awakened in the morning and prostrated before G-d and then returned to their home in the area of Rama.
  • Channah conceives: Elkanah was intimate with his wife Channah and Channah became pregnant after G-d remember her.
  • Shmuel is born: After a [diminished] period of pregnancy [i.e. 6 months and two days[11]] Channah gave birth to a son which she named Shmuel, taken from the words “Ki MeiHashem Shialtiv/As I have asked him from G-d.”

5. Bringing Shmuel to the house of G-d in Shilo, to Eily the Kohen:

  • Shmuel remains home until he is weaned: Elkana and his entire household went back up to Shilo to bring offerings to G-d and to fulfill his vow [of offerings that he would annually bring[12], and vow to bring between the festivals]. Channah his wife did not go up with him at this point. She said to her husband, she does not want to go up until the child is weaned, and then she will bring him to see the face of G-d and he will not return forever [for 50 years[13]]. Elkana her husband said to her that she may do what is good in her eyes, and that she may remain until he is weaned, and G-d will fulfill his word. So she remained and nursed her son until he was weaned.
  • The pilgrimage to Shiloh with Shmuel: She brought her son Shmuel up with her to the house of G-d in Shilo after he was weaned. She brought with her three cows, one Eipha of flower [as a Mincha offering], and a jug of wine [for Nesachim] to the House of G-d in Shilo. At this time the child was a young boy [having just been weaned at the age of 24 months[14]]. They slaughtered the cow and brought the child to Eily.
  • Bringing Shmuel to Eily: Channah said: Please my master, by the life of your soul My master [accept the boy as your student[15]], as I am the woman who stood before you to pray before G-d. I prayed for this child and G-d has granted me my wish which I asked from him. And I have also handed him over to G-d, and lent him to G-d [on condition that He’d be returned unharmed[16]].
  • They [Shmuel or Elkanah[17]] prostrated themselves there before G-d .


[1] Rashi 1:1

[2] Rashi 1:1

[3] See Rashi 1:6

[4] See Rashi 1:6

[5] Rashi 1:7

[6] Rashi 1:9

[7] Rashi 1:11

[8] Rashi 1:12

[9] Rashi 1:18

[10] Radak 1:18

[11] Rashi 1:20

[12] See Rashi 1:21 and Radak 1:21

[13] See Rashi 1:22

[14] SeeRadak 1:24

[15] Rashi 1:26

[16] Rashi 1:28

[17] Rashi 1:28

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