The Bible tells us that a long time ago there was a man named Elkanah. He and his wife Hannah had no children, which sadden Hannah greatly.
Year after year Elkanah and Hannah went to worship the Lord Almighty at the house of the Lord at Shiloh. Once, while they were there, Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give me a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life.”
Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house at Shiloh. As Hannah kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not think that I am a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way, and her face was no longer sad.
In the course of time Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel (which means heard by God) saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” She told her husband that when Samuel was old enough, she would take him and present him before the Lord, and Samuel would live there always.
After Samuel was old enough, his father and mother took the boy, young as he was, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh.
Hannah brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give Samuel to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
Then Hannah thanked God, saying: “My heart rejoices in the Lord… There is no one holy like the Lord…”. Then Elkanah and Hannah went home, but the boy Samuel stayed and served the Lord under Eli the priest.
Each year Hannah made Samuel a little robe and took it to him when she went up with Elkanah to worship God. Eli would bless Elkanah and Hannah, saying, “May the Lord give you children to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she had more children–three sons and two daughters.
The boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord, and he continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people. The Lord was with Samuel and spoke to him. All Israel recognized that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord.