Ramathaim-zophim - Called Ramah, verse 19. Eparathite - That is, one of Bethlehem-judah, by his birth and habitation, though by his original a Levite.
Two wives - As many had in those ages, tho' it was a transgression of the original institution of marriage. And it is probable that he took his second wife, namely, Peninnah, because Hannah was barren.
Yearly - At the three solemn feasts, when he, together with all other males were obliged to go to worship God in the place appointed; and at other times, when he as a Levite, was to go thither in his course. To sacrifice - Not in his own person, which the Levites could not do, but by the priests. Were there - Or, were the priests of the Lord there, under their father Eli, who is generally conceived to have been the high-priest, but being very old and infirm, his sons ministered in his stead. This is the first time in scripture, that God is called the Lord of hosts or Armies. Probably Samuel was the first who used this title of God, for the comfort of Israel, at the time when their armies were few and feeble, and those of their enemies many and mighty.
Portions - Out of the sacrifice of his peace-offerings, the greatest part whereof fell to the offerer, and was eaten by him, and his friends or guests, before the Lord. And out of this he gave them all portions, as the master of the feast used to do to the guests.
Shut up her womb - Yet Elkanah did not withdraw his love from her. To abate out just love to any relation, for the sake of any infirmity which they cannot help, is to add affliction to the afflicted.
Her adversary - Peninnah: so her envy or jealousy made her though so nearly related.
When she went-This circumstance is noted as the occasion of the contention, because at such times they were forced to more society with one another, by the way, and in their lodgings; whereas at home they had distinct apartments, where they might be asunder; and then her husband's extraordinary love and kindness was shewed to Hannah, whereby Peninnah was the more exasperated; then also Hannah prayed earnestly for a child, which hitherto she had done in vain; and this possibly she reproached her with. Did not eat - Being overwhelmed with grief, and therefore unfit to eat of the sacred food. Which they were not to eat in their mourning.
Ten sons - Oughtest thou not to value my hearty love to thee, more than the having of as many sons as Penninah hath? She would willingly change conditions with thee.
A seat - Or, throne; for it is manifest it was raised higher than ordinary, chap. 4:18. Here he might sit, either as the judge; or rather as high-priest, to hear and answer such as came to him for advice, and to inspect and direct the worship of God. Temple - That is, of the tabernacle, which is frequently so called.
Bitterness - That is, oppressed with grief. Prayed unto the Lord - They had newly offered their peace-offerings, to obtain the favour of God, and in token of their communion with him, they had feasted upon the sacrifice: and now it was proper to put up her prayer, in virtue of the sacrifice. For the peace-offerings typified Christ's mediation, as well as the sin-offerings: since by this not only atonement is made for sin, but an answer to our prayers obtained.
Give him - That is, consecrate him to God's service in his temple. No razor - That is, he shall be a perpetual Nazarite.
Continued - Heb. multiplied to pray. By which it appears that she said much more than is here expressed. And the like you are to judge of the prayers and sermons of other holy persons recorded in scripture, which gives us only the sum and substance of them. This consideration may help us much to understand some passages of the bible.
Drunken - Because of the multitude of her words, and those motions of her face and body, which the vehemency of her passion, and the fervency in prayer occasioned.
Count not, &c. - Thus when we are unjustly censured, we should endeavour not only to clear ourselves, but to satisfy our brethren, by giving them a just and true account of that which they misapprehended.
Find grace - That favourable opinion and gracious prayer which thou hast expressed on my behalf, be pleased to continue towards me. Sad - Her heart being cheared by the priest's comfortable words, and especially by God's spirit setting them home upon her, and assuring her that both his and her prayers should be heard, it quickly appeared in her countenance.
Remembered - Manifested his remembrance of her by the effect.
Samuel - That is, Asked of God.
His house - Hannah only and her child excepted. His vow - By which it appears, though it was not expressed before, that he heard and consented to her vow, and that he added a vow of his own, if God answered his prayers.
Weaned - Not only from the breast, but also from the mother's knee and care, and from childish food; 'till the child be something grown up, and fit to do some service in the tabernacle: for it seems that as soon as he was brought up he worshipped God, verse 28, and presently after ministered to Eli, chap. 2:11.
His word - His matter or thing; the business concerning the child, what thou hast vowed concerning him, that be may grow up, and be accepted and employed by God in his Service.
Three bullocks - One for a burnt-offering, the second for a sin-offering, and the third for a peace offering; all these sorts being expedient for this work and time. Flour - For the meal-offerings belonging to the principal sacrifices, which to each bullock were three tenth-deals, or three tenth parts of an ephah, and so nine parts of the ephah were spent, and the tenth part was given to the priest. Wine - For drink-offerings.
A bullock - The three bullocks mentioned verse 24, the singular number being put for the plural, which is frequent.
Soul liveth - As surely as thou livest. Which asseveration seems necessary, because this was some years after it.
Lent him - But not with a purpose to require him again. Whatever we give to God, may upon this account be said to be lent to him, that tho' we may not recall it, yet he will certainly repay it, to our unspeakable advantage. He worshipped - Not Eli, but young Samuel, who is spoken of in this and the foregoing verse, and who was capable of worshipping God in some sort, at least with external adoration.