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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Shmuel I - I Samuel - Chapter 1

Shmuel I - I Samuel - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. And there was one man from Ramathaim Zophim, from Mt. Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.   א. וַיְהִי אִישׁ אֶחָד מִן הָרָמָתַיִם צוֹפִים מֵהַר אֶפְרָיִם וּשְׁמוֹ אֶלְקָנָה בֶּן יְרֹחָם בֶּן אֱלִיהוּא בֶּן תֹּחוּ בֶן צוּף אֶפְרָתִי:
And there was one man: It all follows the order, i.e., Moses gave over the Torah to Joshua, and Joshua to the Elders, and each judge to his successor, until it reached Eli, by whom it was given over to Samuel, as we learned in the Mishnah (Avoth 1:1): and the Elders gave it over to the Prophets.  
from Ramathaim Zophim: There were two hills, each visible to the other. (Meg. 14a) Jonathan, however, renders ‘Zophim’ of the disciples of the Prophets.  
Elkanah: Elkanah was a Levite of the sons of Ebiasaf the son of Korah. Thus his ancestry is recorded in Chron. (I, 6:7 12).  
an Ephraimite: Jonathan renders: on the mountain of the House of Ephraim. Midrash Aggadah (M.S. 1:16): Ephrathi, a palace dweller, a nobleman, an important person, like (the Talmudic word ‘aperion’, used in B.M. 119a): Let us extend ‘aperion’ to Rabbi Simon. An expression of favor.  
2. And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah and the name of the second was Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.   ב. וְלוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֵׁם אַחַת חַנָּה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית פְּנִנָּה וַיְהִי לִפְנִנָּה יְלָדִים וּלְחַנָּה אֵין יְלָדִים:
3. And that man was wont to go up from his city from appointed time to appointed time, to prostrate himself and to slaughter (peace offerings) to the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh, and there the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinhas, were serving the Lord.   ג. וְעָלָה הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מֵעִירוֹ מִיָּמִים | יָמִימָה לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת וְלִזְבֹּחַ לַיהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בְּשִׁלֹה וְשָׁם שְׁנֵי בְנֵי עֵלִי חָפְנִי וּפִנְחָס כֹּהֲנִים לַיהֹוָה:
And that man was wont to go up: This is the present tense. He would go up from one appointed season to another appointed season, to Shiloh. Midrash Aggadah (M.S. 1: 1,5, 7): The route he followed this year he did not follow the next year, in order to publicize (his pilgrimage) to the Israelites that they should do likewise.  
4. And when it was the day, and Elkanah slaughtered (peace offerings), and he would give to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters portions.   ד. וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיִּזְבַּח אֶלְקָנָה וְנָתַן לִפְנִנָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ וּלְכָל בָּנֶיהָ וּבְנוֹתֶיהָ מָנוֹת:
And when it was the day: And it was the festive day.[after Jonathan].  
5. And to Hannah he would give one choice portion, for he loved Hannah, and the Lord had shut up her womb.   ה. וּלְחַנָּה יִתֵּן מָנָה אַחַת אַפָּיִם כִּי אֶת חַנָּה אָהֵב וַיהֹוָה סָגַר רַחְמָהּ:
מנה אחת אפים: one choice portion: a portion which is fit to be accepted with a friendly countenance.  
6. And her rival would frequently anger her, in order to make her complain, for the Lord had shut up her womb.   ו. וְכִעֲסַתָּה צָרָתָהּ גַּם כַּעַס בַּעֲבוּר הַרְעִמָהּ כִּי סָגַר יְהֹוָה בְּעַד רַחְמָהּ:
And her rival: Her husband’s other wife, Peninnah.  
frequently anger her:: Anger after anger, always. Therefore, it is written: ‘also anger.’ She would say to her, “Did you buy your older son a cloak today, or your younger son a shirt?”  
in order to make her complain:: (Literally, to make her storm.) Our rabbis explain, “in order to make her storm” that she pray. And Peninnah had good intentions.  
her womb:: Lit., opposite her womb, and so is every expression of the word בעד.  
7. And so he would do year by year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, so she would anger her, and she wept and would not eat.   ז. וְכֵן יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה מִדֵּי עֲלֹתָהּ בְּבֵית יְהֹוָה כֵּן תַּכְעִסֶנָּה וַתִּבְכֶּה וְלֹא תֹאכַל:
And so he would do:: I. e., Elkanah.  
year by year:: He would give her a choice portion to demonstrate to her that he loved her and her rival would anger her more and more according to the affection which her husband demonstrated to her.  
8. And Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"   ח. וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ אֶלְקָנָה אִישָׁהּ חַנָּה לָמֶה תִבְכִּי וְלָמֶה לֹא תֹאכְלִי וְלָמֶה יֵרַע לְבָבֵךְ הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי טוֹב לָךְ מֵעֲשָׂרָה בָּנִים:
better to you:: Don’t I love you more dearly…  
..than (I love) ten sons:: that Peninnah has borne to me?  
after eating: (אכלה). The הא is not dotted and the אלף is voweled with a short קמץ, and it is like אחרי אכול, meaning after eating in Shiloh and after drinking, and this expression is properly used both for masculine and feminine.  
9. And Hannah arose after eating and after drinking, and Eli the priest was sitting on the chair beside the doorpost of the Temple of the Lord.   ט. וַתָּקָם חַנָּה אַחֲרֵי אָכְלָה בְשִׁלֹה וְאַחֲרֵי שָׁתֹה וְעֵלִי הַכֹּהֵן ישֵׁב עַל הַכִּסֵּא עַל מְזוּזַת הֵיכַל יְהֹוָה:
after eating: ‘After eating’ is a gerund. It is constructed like לאכלה (Lev. 25:6) to eat, an expression equivalent to לאכול an infinitive.  
and Eli the priest was sitting on the chair:: The defective spelling denotes that on that day, he was seated on a huge chair, for he was appointed judge over Israel.  
beside the doorpost:: lit. on the doorpost.  
10. And she was bitter in spirit, and she prayed to the Lord, and wept.   י. וְהִיא מָרַת נָפֶשׁ וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל עַל יְהֹוָה וּבָכֹה תִבְכֶּה:
11. And she vowed a vow, and said: to Lord of Hosts, if You will look upon the affliction of Your bondswoman, and You will remember me, and You will not forget Your bondswoman and You will give Your bondswoman a man-child, and I shall give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.   יא. וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר וַתֹּאמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם רָאֹה תִרְאֶה| בָּעֳנִי אֲמָתֶךָ וּזְכַרְתַּנִי וְלֹא תִשְׁכַּח אֶת אֲמָתֶךָ וְנָתַתָּה לַאֲמָתְךָ זֶרַע אֲנָשִׁים וּנְתַתִּיו לַיהֹוָה כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּיו וּמוֹרָה לֹא יַעֲלֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֹ:
O Lord of Hosts:: Why was this Name designated here? (The answer is as follows:) She said before Him: O Lord of the universe, You created two hosts in Your world. The heavenly beings do not multiply, neither do they die, while the earthly beings both multiply and die. If I am of the earthly beings let me multiply, and if I am of the heavenly beings let me not die. I found this explanation in the Aggadah of Rabbi Jose the Galilean. Our sages in tractate Ber. (31b), however, expounded what they expounded: Until then there was no person who called the Holy One, blessed be He, “Hosts.” (Why then, did Hannah call Him by this Name?) But, so said she before Him: “O Lord of the universe, from all the hosts which You created in Your world, do You find it difficult to grant me one son?”  
if You will look:: (Lit., if seeing You will see.) In tractate Ber., our sages expounded what they expounded.  
Your bondswoman:: which is stated three times in this verse, corresponds to the three precepts which a woman is commanded to observe.  
A man child:: (Lit., seed of men, meaning) righteous men, as it is written (Kings I:2:32): “Upon two righteous men.” אנשים also means important men, as it is written (Deut. 1:13): wise and known men.  
and I shall give him to the Lord:: that he be fit to be given to the Lord.  
and no razor shall come upon his head:: (translation follows K, however,) Jonathan renders: and the fear of man will not be upon him.  
12. And it was, as she prayed long before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth.   יב. וְהָיָה כִּי הִרְבְּתָה לְהִתְפַּלֵּל לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה וְעֵלִי שֹׁמֵר אֶת פִּיהָ:
watched her mouth:: He waited for her to stop. Jonathan renders thus: and Eli waited for her until she stopped.  
watched:: an expression of waiting, as in (Gen. 37:11) “and his father awaited the thing,” and (Job 14:16) “You do not wait for my sin.”  
13. But Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, and her voice was not heard, and Eli thought her to be a drunken woman.   יג. וְחַנָּה הִיא מְדַבֶּרֶת עַל לִבָּהּ רַק שְׂפָתֶיהָ נָּעוֹת וְקוֹלָהּ לֹא יִשָּׁמֵעַ וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ עֵלִי לְשִׁכֹּרָה:
and Eli thought her to be a drunken woman:: for they were not accustomed to praying silently.  
14. And Eli said to her: Until when will you be drunk? Throw off your wine from upon yourself.   יד. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ עֵלִי עַד מָתַי תִּשְׁתַּכָּרִין הָסִירִי אֶת יֵינֵךְ מֵעָלָיִךְ:
15. And Hannah answered and said: No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and neither new wine nor old wine have I drunk, and I poured out my soul before the Lord.   טו. וַתַּעַן חַנָּה וַתֹּאמֶר לֹא אֲדֹנִי אִשָּׁה קְשַׁת רוּחַ אָנֹכִי וְיַיִן וְשֵׁכָר לֹא שָׁתִיתִי וָאֶשְׁפֹּךְ אֶת נַפְשִׁי לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה:
Not my lord:: You are not a lord in this instance. You yourself have revealed that the holy spirit is not resting upon you, otherwise you would know that I am not intoxicated from wine.  
I am a woman of sorrowful spirit:: like Sarah (who was childless) [old editions of Rashi].  
16. Deliver not your bondswoman before the unscrupulous woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and my vexation have I spoken until now.   טז. אַל תִּתֵּן אֶת אֲמָתְךָ לִפְנֵי בַּת בְּלִיָּעַל כִּי מֵרֹב שִׂיחִי וְכַעְסִי דִּבַּרְתִּי עַד הֵנָּה:
Deliver not your bondswoman:: Considering the fact that she spoke harshly to him, she returned to appease him so that he deliver her not, unprotected and disgraced, at the mercy of her rival, the unscrupulous woman.  
for out of the abundance of my complaint:: have I spoken harshly before you.  
my complaint: (lit., my speech.) In some instances, it is an expression of grief of heart. Another explanation is, according to the Targum, as follows: for out of the abundance of my provocation and my vexation, have I prolonged my prayer until now.  
and my vexation:: which my rival vexes me.  
Deliver not:: (Lit. do not give.) An expression of delivery, like, “deliver me not unto the will of my adversaries” (Ps. 27:12).  
17. And Eli answered and said: Go in peace, and the God of Israel will grant your request which you have asked of Him.   יז. וַיַּעַן עֵלִי וַיֹּאמֶר לְכִי לְשָׁלוֹם וֵאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יִתֵּן אֶת שֵׁלָתֵךְ אֲשֶׁר שָׁאַלְתְּ מֵעִמּוֹ:
your request: (שלתך, instead of שאלתך). The ‘alef’ is missing to expound in this word an expression of ‘children,’ as in Deut. 28:57: ובשליתה “and against her young, which came out, etc.”  
will grant your request:: He announced to her that her prayer had been accepted.  
18. And she said: May your bondswoman find favor in your eyes; and the woman went on her way and ate, and her face was not (sad) anymore.   יח. וַתֹּאמֶר תִּמְצָא שִׁפְחָתְךָ חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וַתֵּלֶךְ הָאִשָּׁה לְדַרְכָּהּ וַתֹּאכַל וּפָנֶיהָ לֹא הָיוּ לָהּ עוֹד:
May your bondswoman find favor:: to beg mercy for her.  
and her face was not (sad) anymore:: (Lit., and she no longer had her face, meaning) the face of anger.  
19. And they arose early in the morning, and prostrated themselves before the Lord: and they returned and came to their house, to Ramah, and Elkanah knew Hannah, his wife, and the Lord remembered her.   יט. וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ בַבֹּקֶר וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל בֵּיתָם הָרָמָתָה וַיֵּדַע אֶלְקָנָה אֶת חַנָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ וַיִּזְכְּרֶהָ יְהֹוָה:
and came to their house, and Elkanah knew:: From here is deduced that a traveler is forbidden to have marital relations.  
20. And it was, when the time came about, after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, because (she said); "I asked him of the Lord."   כ. וַיְהִי לִתְקֻפוֹת הַיָּמִים וַתַּהַר חַנָּה וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ שְׁמוּאֵל כִּי מֵיְהֹוָה שְׁאִלְתִּיו:
when the time came about:: (After the seasons and the days.) The minimum of seasons is two and the minimum of days is also two. Hence, she gave birth after six months and two days. From here it is deduced that a woman who gives birth after seven months, can give birth after a fraction of the seventh month of pregnancy.  
Samuel:: El after the name of God, and in reference to the incident, he was so called, for I asked him of the Lord.  
21. And the man, Elkanah and his entire household, went up to slaughter to the Lord, the sacrifice of the days and his vow.   כא. וַיַּעַל הָאִישׁ אֶלְקָנָה וְכָל בֵּיתוֹ לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהֹוָה אֶת זֶבַח הַיָּמִים וְאֶת נִדְרוֹ:
the sacrifice of the days:: of the appointed seasons.  
his vow:: The vows which he made between pilgrimage festivals, he would sacrifice on the following festival.  
22. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband: "Until the child is weaned, then I shall bring him, and he shall appear before the Lord, and abide there forever.   כב. וְחַנָּה לֹא עָלָתָה כִּי אָמְרָה לְאִישָׁהּ עַד יִגָּמֵל הַנַּעַר וַהֲבִאֹתִיו וְנִרְאָה אֶת פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה וְיָשַׁב שָׁם עַד עוֹלָם:
Until the child is weaned:: after twenty two months (other versions, twenty four), for that is the time of nursing a child.  
and abide there forever:: “Forever” in the Levitic sense means fifty years, as it says, (Num. 8:25), “and from the age of fifty years he shall return from the host of the work.” Figuring as follows, we determine that Samuel’s lifetime was fifty-two years. Eli judged Israel for forty years (see 4:18), and on the day of Hannah’s prayer, he was appointed judge (See above v. 9). By subtracting the year in which Hannah conceived Samuel, there remain thirty nine years. Samuel governed Israel from the time of Eli’s death for thirteen years, figuring thus: On the day of Eli’s death, the Ark was abducted, and it remained in the field of the Philistines for seven months (below 6:1). From there, it was brought to Kiriath-jearim, where it remained until David took it out of there after he had reigned seven years in Hebron over Judah, and all Israel had accepted him as their king. And it is written: And is was, from the day that the Ark abode in Kiriath-jearim that the time was long, for it was twenty years, etc. (below 7:2). Subtract from them seven years which David reigned in Hebron. We find that from the time that the Ark was abducted until Saul’s death, were thirteen years and seven months, and Samuel died four months before Saul.  
23. And Elkanah her husband said to her: "Do what seems good to you. Stay until you have weaned him, only, may the Lord fulfill His word." And the woman stayed and nursed her son, until she weaned him.   כג. וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ אֶלְקָנָה אִישָׁהּ עֲשִֹי הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינַיִךְ שְׁבִי עַד גָּמְלֵךְ אֹתוֹ אַךְ יָקֵם יְהֹוָה אֶת דְּבָרוֹ וַתֵּשֶׁב הָאִשָּׁה וַתֵּינֶק אֶת בְּנָהּ עַד גָּמְלָהּ אֹתוֹ:
only, may the Lord fulfill His word:: Since you asked of Him seed of righteous men (above v. 11), and Eli announced to you through divine inspiration: (above v. 17) “The God of Israel will grant your request,” may the Lord fulfill His word. This is according to the simple interpretation. The Midrash Agadah, however, explains thus: Rabbi Nehemiah said in the name of Rabbi Samuel, the son of Rabbi Isaac: Every day, a divine voice would resound throughout the world, and say: A righteous man is destined to arise, and his name will be Samuel. Thereupon, every woman who bore a son, would name him Samuel. As soon as they saw his deeds, they would say, “This is not Samuel.” When our Samuel was born, however, and people saw his deeds, they said, “It seems that this one is the expected righteous man.” This is what Elkanah meant when he said, ‘May the Lord fulfill His word,’ that this be the righteous Samuel.  
24. And she brought him with her when she had weaned him, with three bulls, and one ephah of meal, and an earthenware jug of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord, to Shiloh, and the child was young.   כד. וַתַּעֲלֵהוּ עִמָּהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר גְּמָלַתּוּ בְּפָרִים שְׁלשָׁה וְאֵיפָה אַחַת קֶמַח וְנֵבֶל יַיִן וַתְּבִאֵהוּ בֵית יְהֹוָה שִׁלוֹ וְהַנַּעַר נָעַר:
and one ephah of meal: I heard from Rabbi Isaac Halevi, that she brought one ephah of meal, which is equivalent to three seahs, from which to extract three tenths of an ephah of fine flour, which are required for one bull (Num. 15:8), as we learned in the Mishnah (Men. 76b): The showbread was made of twenty-four tenths of an ephah from twenty-four seahs; i.e., 1 tenth part of an ephah of fine flour from a seah of wheat.  
and an earthenware jug of wine:: for a drink offering. והנער נער and the child was young (after Jonathan).  
25. And they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.   כה. וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ אֶת הַפָּר וַיָּבִאוּ אֶת הַנַּעַר אֶל עֵלִי:
and they brought the child to Eli: to see that his prophecy was fulfilled. And our sages, however, expounded what they expounded, that he decided a point of law, that a priest is unnecessary for sacrificial slaughter, as it is stated in Tractate Ber. (31b).  
26. And she said, "Please, my lord! As surely as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here with you, to pray to the Lord.   כו. וַתֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי חֵי נַפְשְׁךָ אֲדֹנִי אֲנִי הָאִשָּׁה הַנִּצֶּבֶת עִמְּכָה בָּזֶה לְהִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל יְהֹוָה:
Please, my lord:: Take care of him that he become your disciple. And according to the Midrash of our sages, not to punish him with death.  
27. For this child did I pray, and the Lord granted me my request, which I asked of Him.   כז. אֶל הַנַּעַר הַזֶּה הִתְפַּלָּלְתִּי וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה לִי אֶת שְׁאֵלָתִי אֲשֶׁר שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵעִמּוֹ:
For this child did I pray:: Do not say, “This one shall die and another one shall be given to you.”  
28. And I also have lent him to the Lord; all the days which he will be alive, he is borrowed by the Lord." And he prostrated himself there to the Lord.   כח. וְגַם אָנֹכִי הִשְׁאִלְתִּיהוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר הָיָה הוּא שָׁאוּל לַיהֹוָה וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ שָׁם לַיהֹוָה:
And I also have lent him to the Lord: like a person who lends a utensil to his master, or lends him his son to serve him.  
he is borrowed: empunte in French, i.e., you have no right to punish him, for the Lord has become a borrower over him, since I have lent him to Him, and He must return him to me.  
And he prostrated himself: Samuel, and some say Elkanah.  
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