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1 Samuel 1:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name [was] Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name [was] Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And there was a certain man, of Ramathaim-zuphi, of the hill country of Ephraim,—whose name, was Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And there is a certain man of Ramathaim-Zophim, of the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name [is] Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, and Ephrathite,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— There was a man of Ramathaimsophim, of Mount Ephraim, and his name was Elcana, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliu, the son of Thohu, the son of Suph, an Ephraimite:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Now there was a certaine man of Ramathaim Zophim, of mount Ephraim, & his name was Elkanah, the sonne of Ieroham, the sonne of Elihu, the sonne of Tohu, the sonne of Zuph, an Ephrathite;
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— There was a man of Armathaim Sipha, of mount Ephraim, and his name [was] Elkanah{gr.Helkana}, a son of Jerahmeel{gr.Jeremeel} the son of Elias the son of Thoke, in Nasib Ephraim.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Now there was a certain man of Ramathayim Tzofim, of mount Efrayim, and his name [was] Elqanah, the son of Yerocham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tochu, the son of Tzuf, an Efrathi:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Now there was x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
a certain 259
{0259} Prime
A numeral from H0258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first.
man 376
{0376} Prime
Contracted for H0582 (or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant); a man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
of x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Rmayim Xfm רָמָתַיִם־צוֹפִים, 7436
{7436} Prime
רָמָתַיִם צוֹפִים
Ramathayim Tsowphiym
{raw-maw-thah'-yim tso-feem'}
From the dual of H7413 and the plural of the active participle of H6822; double height of watchers; Ramathajim Tsophim, a place in Palestine.
of mount 2022
{2022} Prime
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Efrayim אֶפרַיִם, 669
{0669} Prime
Dual of a masculine form of H0672; double fruit; Ephrajim, a son of Joseph; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory.
and his name 8034
{8034} Prime
A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character.
[was] Elkn אֶלקָנָה, 511
{0511} Prime
From H0410 and H7069; God has obtained; Elkanah, the name of seven Israelites.
the son 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Yrm יְרֹחָם, 3395
{3395} Prime
From H7355; compassionate; Jerocham, the name of seven or eight Israelites.
the son 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of lh אֱלִיהוּא, 453
{0453} Prime
From H0410 and H1931; God of him; Elihu, the name of one of Job's friends, and of three Israelites.
the son 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of T תֹּחוּ, 8459
{8459} Prime
From an unused root meaning to depress; abasement; Tochu, an Israelite.
the son 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Xf צוּף, 6689
{6689} Prime
From H6688; honey comb; Tsuph or Tsophai or Tsiph, the name of an Israelite and a place in Palestine.
an Efr אֶפרָתִי: 673
{0673} Prime
Patrial from H0672; an Ephrathite or an Ephraimite.
(6733) Complement
Feminine of H6731; a flower.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Samuel 1:1-2

_ _ 1 Samuel 1:1-8. Of Elkanah and his two wives.

_ _ a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim — The first word being in the dual number, signifies the double city — the old and new town of Ramah (1 Samuel 1:19). There were five cities of this name, all on high ground. This city had the addition of Zophim attached to it, because it was founded by Zuph, “an Ephrathite,” that is a native of Ephratha. Beth-lehem, and the expression “of Ramathaim-zophim” must, therefore, be understood as Ramah in the land of Zuph in the hill country of Ephratha. Others, considering “mount Ephraim” as pointing to the locality in Joseph’s territory, regard “Zophim” not as a proper but a common noun, signifying watchtowers, or watchmen, with reference either to the height of its situation, or its being the residence of prophets who were watchmen (Ezekiel 3:17). Though a native of Ephratha or Beth-lehem-judah (Ruth 1:2), Elkanah was a Levite (1 Chronicles 6:33, 1 Chronicles 6:34). Though of this order, and a good man, he practiced polygamy. This was contrary to the original law, but it seems to have been prevalent among the Hebrews in those days, when there was no king in Israel, and every man did what seemed right in his own eyes [Judges 21:25].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Samuel 1:1-8

_ _ We have here an account of the state of the family into which Samuel the prophet was born. His father's name was Elkanah, a Levite, and of the family of the Kohathites (the most honourable house of that tribe) as appears, 1 Chronicles 6:33, 1 Chronicles 6:34. His ancestor Zuph was an Ephrathite, that is, of Bethlehem-Judah, which was called Ephrathah, Ruth, Ruth 1:2. There this family of the Levites was first seated, but one branch of it, in process of time, removed to Mount Ephraim, from which Elkanah descended. Micah's Levite came from Bethlehem to Mount Ephraim, Judges 17:8. Perhaps notice is taken of their being originally Ephrathites to show their alliance to David. This Elkanah lived at Ramah, or Ramathaim, which signifies the double Ramah, the higher and lower town, the same with Arimathea of which Joseph was, here called Ramathaim-zophim. Zophim signifies watchmen; probably they had one of the schools of the prophets there, for prophets are called watchmen: the Chaldee paraphrase calls Elkanah a disciple of the prophets. But it seems to me that it was in Samuel that prophecy revived, before his time there being, for a great while, no open vision, 1 Samuel 3:1. Nor is there any mention of a prophet of the Lord from Moses to Samuel, except Judges 6:8. So that we have no reason to think that there was any nursery or college of prophets here till Samuel himself founded one, Judges 19:19, Judges 19:20. This is the account of Samuel's parentage, and the place of his nativity. Let us now take notice of the state of the family.

_ _ I. It was a devout family. All the families of Israel should be so, but Levites' families in a particular manner. Ministers should be patterns of family religion. Elkanah went up at the solemn feasts to the tabernacle at Shiloh, to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts. I think this is the first time in scripture that God is called the Lord of hostsJehovah Sabaoth, a name by which he was afterwards very much called and known. Probably Samuel the prophet was the first that used this title of God, for the comfort of Israel, when in his time their hosts were few and feeble and those of their enemies many and mighty; then it would be a support to them to think that the God they served was Lord of hosts, of all the hosts both of heaven and earth; of them he has a sovereign command, and makes what use he pleases of them. Elkanah was a country Levite, and, for aught that appears, had not any place or office which required his attendance at the tabernacle, but he went up as a common Israelite, with his own sacrifices, to encourage his neighbours and set them a good example. When he sacrificed he worshipped, joining prayers and thanksgivings with his sacrifices. In this course of religion he was constant, for he went up yearly. And that which made it the more commendable in him was, 1. That there was a general decay and neglect of religion in the nations. Some among them worshipped other gods, and the generality were remiss in the service of the God of Israel, and yet Elkanah kept his integrity; whatever others did, his resolution was that he and his house should serve the Lord. 2. That Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were the men that were now chiefly employed in the service of the house of God; and they were men that conducted themselves very ill in their place, as we shall find afterwards; yet Elkanah went up to sacrifice. God had then tied his people to one place and one altar, and forbidden them, under any pretence whatsoever, to worship elsewhere, and therefore, in pure obedience to that command, he attended at Shiloh. If the priests did not do their duty, he would do his. Thanks be to God, we, under the gospel, are not tied to any one place or family; but the pastors and teachers whom the exalted Redeemer has given to his church are those only whose ministration tends to the perfecting of the saints and the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 4:12. None have dominion over our faith; but our obligation is to those that are the helpers of our holiness and joy, not to any that by their scandalous immoralities, like Hophni and Phinehas, make the sacrifices of the Lord to be abhorred, though still the validity and efficacy of the sacraments depend not on the purity of him that administers them.

_ _ II. Yet it was a divided family, and the divisions of it carried with them both guilt and grief. Where there is piety, it is a pity but there should be unity. The joint-devotions of a family should put an end to divisions in it.

_ _ 1. The original cause of this division was Elkanah's marrying two wives, which was a transgression of the original institution of marriage, to which our Saviour reduces it. Matthew 19:5, Matthew 19:8, From the beginning it was not so. It made mischief in Abraham's family, and Jacob's, and here in Elkanah's. How much better does the law of God provide for our comfort and ease in this world than we should, if we were left to ourselves! It is probable that Elkanah married Hannah first, and, because he had not children by her so soon as he hoped, he married Peninnah, who bore him children indeed, but was in other things a vexation to him. Thus are men often beaten with rods of their own making.

_ _ 2. That which followed upon this error was that the two wives could not agree. They had different blessings: Peninnah, like Leah, was fruitful and had many children, which should have made her easy and thankful, though she was but a second wife, and was less beloved; Hannah, like Rachel, was childless indeed, but she was very dear to her husband, and he took all occasions to let both her and others know that she was so, and many a worthy portion he gave her (1 Samuel 1:5), and this should have made her easy and thankful. But they were of different tempers: Peninnah could not bear the blessing of fruitfulness, but she grew haughty and insolent; Hannah could not bear the affliction of barrenness, but she grew melancholy and discontented: and Elkanah had a difficult part to act between them.

_ _ (1.) Elkanah kept up his attendance at God's altar notwithstanding this unhappy difference in his family, and took his wives and children with him, that, if they could not agree in other things, they might agree to worship God together. If the devotions of a family prevail not to put an end to its divisions, yet let not the divisions put a stop to the devotions.

_ _ (2.) He did all he could to encourage Hannah, and to keep up her spirits under her affliction, 1 Samuel 1:4, 1 Samuel 1:5. At the feast he offered peace-offerings, to supplicate for peace in his family; and when he and his family were to eat their share of the sacrifice, in token of their communion with God and his altar, though he carved to Peninnah and her children competent portions, yet to Hannah he gave a worthy portion, the choicest piece that came to the table, the piece (whatever it was) that used to be given on such occasions to those that were most valued; this he did in token of his love to her, and to give all possible assurances of it. Observe, [1.] Elkanah loved his wife never the less for her being barren. Christ loves his church, notwithstanding her infirmities, her barrenness; and so ought men to love their wives, Ephesians 5:25. To abate our just love to any relation for the sake of any infirmity which they cannot help, and which is not their sin but their affliction, is to make God's providence quarrel with his precept, and very unkindly to add affliction to the afflicted. [2.] He studied to show his love so much the more because she was afflicted, insulted, and low-spirited. It is wisdom and duty to support the weakest, and to hold up those that are run down. [3.] He showed his great love to her by the share he gave her of his peace-offerings. Thus we should testify our affection to our friends and relations, by abounding in prayer for them. The better we love them the more room let us give them in our prayers.

_ _ (3.) Peninnah was extremely peevish and provoking. [1.] She upbraided Hannah with her affliction, despised her because she was barren, and gave her taunting language, as one whom Heaven did not favour. [2.] She envied the interest she had in the love of Elkanah, and the more kind he was to her the more was she exasperated against her, which was all over base and barbarous. [3.] She did this most when they went up to the house of the Lord, perhaps because then they were more together than at other times, or because then Elkanah showed his affection most to Hannah. But it was very sinful at such a time to show her malice, when pure hands were to be lifted up at God's altar without wrath and quarrelling. It was likewise very unkind at that time to vex Hannah, not only because then they were in company, and others would take notice of it, but then Hannah was to mind her devotions, and desired to be most calm and composed, and free from disturbance. The great adversary to our purity and peace is then most industrious to ruffle us when we should be most composed. When the sons of God come to present themselves before the Lord Satan will be sure to come among them, Job 1:6. [4.] She continued to do this from year to year, not once or twice, but it was her constant practice; neither deference to her husband nor compassion to Hannah could break her of it. [5.] That which she designed was to make her fret, perhaps in hopes to break her heart, that she might possess her husband's heart solely, or because she took a pleasure in her uneasiness, nor could Hannah gratify her more than by fretting. Note, It is an evidence of a base disposition to delight in grieving those that are melancholy and of a sorrowful spirit, and in putting those out of humour that are apt to fret and be uneasy. We ought to bear one another's burdens, not add to them.

_ _ (4.) Hannah (poor woman) could not hear the provocation: She wept, and did not eat, 1 Samuel 1:7. It made her uneasy to herself and to all her relations. She did not eat of the feast; her trouble took away her appetite, made her unfit for any company, and a jar in the harmony of family-joy. It was of the feast upon the sacrifice that she did not eat, for they were not to eat of the holy things in their mourning, Deuteronomy 26:14; Leviticus 10:19. Yet it was her infirmity so far to give way to the sorrow of the world as to unfit herself for holy joy in God. Those that are of a fretful spirit, and are apt to lay provocations too much to heart, are enemies to themselves, and strip themselves very much of the comforts both of life and godliness. We find that God took notice of this ill effect of discontents and disagreements in the conjugal relation, that the parties aggrieved covered the altar of the Lord with tears, insomuch that he regarded not the offering, Malachi 2:13.

_ _ (5.) Elkanah said what he could to her to comfort her. She did not upbraid him with his unkindness in marrying another wife as Sarah did, nor did she render to Peninnah railing for railing, but took the trouble wholly to herself, which made her an object of much compassion. Elkanah showed himself extremely grieved at her grief (1 Samuel 1:8): Hannah, why weepest thou? [1.] He is much disquieted to see her thus overwhelmed with sorrow. Those that by marriage are made one flesh ought thus far to be of one spirit too, to share in each other's troubles, so that one cannot be easy while the other is uneasy. [2.] He gives her a loving reproof for it: Why weepest thou? And why is thy heart grieved? As many as God loves he rebukes, and so should we. He puts her upon enquiring into the cause of her grief. Though she had just reason to be troubled, yet let her consider whether she had reason to be troubled to such a degree, especially so much as to be taken off by it from eating of the holy things. Note, Our sorrow upon any account is sinful and inordinate when it diverts us from our duty to God and embitters our comfort in him, when it makes us unthankful for the mercies we enjoy and distrustful of the goodness of God to us in further mercies, when it casts a damp upon our joy in Christ, and hinders us from doing the duty and taking the comfort of our particular relations. [3.] He intimates that nothing should be wanting on his part to balance her grief: “Am not I better to thee than ten sons? Thou knowest thou hast my entire affection, and let that comfort thee.” Note, We ought to take notice of our comforts, to keep us from grieving excessively for our crosses; for our crosses we deserve, but our comforts we have forfeited. If we would keep the balance even, we must look at that which is for us, as well as at that which is against us, else we are unjust to Providence and unkind to ourselves. God hath set the one over-against the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14) and so should we.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Samuel 1:1

Ramathaim — zophim — Called Ramah, 1 Samuel 1:19. Eparathite — That is, one of Bethlehem — judah, by his birth and habitation, though by his original a Levite.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Samuel 1:1

Now there was a certain man of (a) Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name [was] Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

The Argument — As God had ordained in (Deuteronomy 17:14), that when the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, he would appoint a king for them: so here in the first book of Samuel the state of the people under their first king Saul is declared. Not content with the order that God had temporarily appointed for the government of his Church, they demanded a king, so that they might be as other nations. As well they thought they would be better off, not because they could serve God better by it, but because they would be under the safeguard of him who represented Jesus Christ the true deliverer. Therefore God gave them a tyrant and a hypocrite to rule over them, so that they might learn that a king is not sufficient to defend them, unless God by his power preserves and keeps them. Therefore he punishes the ingratitude of his people, and sends them continual wars both at home and abroad. Also, because Saul, whom God had given to the honour of a king out of nothing, did not acknowledge God's mercy to him, but rather disobeyed the word of God and was not zealous of his glory, he was removed from his estate by God, and David the true figure of Messiah was placed in his stead. His patience, modesty, constancy, persecution by open enemies, feigned friends, and deceitful flatterers, is left to the Church and to every member of it, as a pattern and example of their state and calling.

(a) There were two Ramatus, so that in this city in mount Ephraim were Zophim, that is, the learned men and prophets.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
This ancient town, now called Ramla, is, according to Phocas, about thirty-six miles west of Jerusalem, and, according to modern travellers, about nine miles from Joppa and a league from Lydda, between which it is situated. It is built on a rising ground, on a rich plain, and contains about two thousand families.
1 Samuel 1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
, Arimathea


Judges 17:1 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name [was] Micah.
Judges 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when [there was] no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.


1 Chronicles 6:25-27 And the sons of Elkanah; Amasai, and Ahimoth. ... Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
1 Chronicles 6:34 The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,


1 Samuel 9:5 [And] when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that [was] with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave [caring] for the asses, and take thought for us.


1 Samuel 17:12 Now David [was] the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name [was] Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men [for] an old man in the days of Saul.
Judges 12:5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was [so], that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, [Art] thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
Ruth 1:2 And the name of the man [was] Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
1 Kings 11:26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name [was] Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up [his] hand against the king.
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Jg 12:5; 17:1; 19:1. Ru 1:2. 1S 1:19; 9:5; 17:12. 1K 11:26. 1Ch 6:25, 34. Mt 27:57.

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