Hannah’s Triumphant Prayer
My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2There is no one holy like the Lord.
There is no one besides you!
And there is no rock like our God.
3Do not boast so proudly,
or let arrogant words come out of your mouth,
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and actions are weighed by him.
4The bows of the warriors are broken,
but the feeble are clothed with strength.
5Those who are full hire themselves out for food,
but those who are starving hunger no more.
The woman who is childless gives birth to seven,
but the woman with many sons pines away.
6The Lord brings death and gives life;
he sends some down to Sheol, and he raises others up.
7The Lord brings poverty and gives wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the trash heap.
He seats them with noblemen
and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
he has set the world on them.
9He guards the steps of his faithful ones,
but the wicked perish in darkness,
for a person does not prevail by his own strength.
10Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered;
he will thunder in the heavens against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give power to his king;
he will lift up the horn of his anointed.
11Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy served the Lord in the presence of the priest Eli.
Eli’s Family Judged
12Eli’s sons were wicked men; they did not respect the Lord 13or the priests’ share of the sacrifices from the people. When anyone offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged meat fork while the meat was boiling 14and plunge it into the container, kettle, cauldron, or cooking pot. The priest would claim for himself whatever the meat fork brought up. This is the way they treated all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh. 15Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast, because he won’t accept boiled meat from you — only raw.” 16If that person said to him, “The fat must be burned first; then you can take whatever you want for yourself,” the servant would reply, “No, I insist that you hand it over right now. If you don’t, I’ll take it by force!” 17So the servants’ sin was very severe in the presence of the Lord, because the men treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.
18Samuel served in the Lord’s presence—this mere boy was dressed in the linen ephod. 19Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: “May the Lord give you children by this woman in place of the one she has given to the Lord.” Then they would go home.
21The Lord paid attention to Hannah’s need, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
22Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, “Why are you doing these things? I have heard about your evil actions from all these people. 24No, my sons, the news I hear the Lord’s people spreading is not good. 25If one person sins against another, God can intercede for him, but if a person sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to their father, since the Lord intended to kill them. 26By contrast, the boy Samuel grew in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
27A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Didn’t I reveal myself to your forefather’s family when they were in Egypt and belonged to Pharaoh’s palace? 28Out of all the tribes of Israel, I chose your house to be my priests, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your forefather’s family all the Israelite food offerings. 29Why, then, do all of you despise my sacrifices and offerings that I require at the place of worship? You have honored your sons more than me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the offerings of my people Israel.’
30“Therefore, this is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I did say that your family and your forefather’s family would walk before me forever. But now,’ this is the Lord’s declaration, ‘no longer! For those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disgraced. 31Look, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your forefather’s family, so that none in your family will reach old age. 32You will see distress in the place of worship, in spite of all that is good in Israel, and no one in your family will ever again reach old age. 33Any man from your family I do not cut off from my altar will bring grief and sadness to you. All your descendants will die violently. 34This will be the sign that will come to you concerning your two sons Hophni and Phinehas: both of them will die on the same day.
35“‘Then I will raise up a faithful priest for myself. He will do whatever is in my heart and mind. I will establish a lasting dynasty for him, and he will walk before my anointed one for all time. 36Anyone who is left in your family will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread. He will say: Please appoint me to some priestly office so I can have a piece of bread to eat.’”