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Hannah, wife of Elkanah, was the mother of the prophet Samuel.[1] She lived in the town of Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim. Samuel was her firstborn son. She would go on to have three more sons and two daughters.

Having prayed to God while worshipping at the tabernacle, she received an assurance that she would have children. When her son was born, she named him "Samuel" (received from God), and dedicated him to service to the tabernacle. Since his father was a Levite, by law he was supposed to serve God, but indications are that in the days of the judges, even observant Levites chose other fields. Hannah assured that her son would be true to his heritage.


Hannah, whose name means "Grace," was born in the later days of a dark period in the history of the tribes of Israel. Born around 1120 BC, she may have been a contemporary to Samson, the Danite who ruled as judge for 20 years.[2]

Most likely of the tribe of Ephraim (but maybe a Levite), she became the wife of Elkanah, son of Jeroham, a Levite living in the priestly city of Ramah, in the district of the Zophim. Because Hannah was barren, Elkanah took a second wife, named Peninnah, who had provided him with children.[3]

On a pilgrimage to the Temple in Shiloh, she made a vow to God that if He granted her a son, she would dedicate him to the LORD for life. Eli, the priest, saw Hannah's lips moving in silent prayer, and thought she was drunk. But Hannah convinced Eli she was praying to the LORD, and Eli blessed her and asked God to grant her petition.[1]

When the LORD answered her prayers, Hannah kept her promise. After having raised Samuel past his toddler years, she presented him to Eli. Each year thereafter Hannah visited Samuel, gave him a robe and offered a sacrifice at the temple.[4] She took this opportunity to praise the LORD with a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for which would include a prophecy of a coming king[5]—a significant insight for the wife of a priest in a time when judges ruled the land.

Seeing her faithfulness, the Lord blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters.[6] Her son would grow to be the greatest judge to ever rule in Israel. Years later, Samuel would return to her home and use it as his headquarters from which to visit all the tribes.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1 Samuel 1:9-20
  2. Judges 17:31 (Link)
  3. 1 Sam 1:1-2 (Link)
  4. 1 Sam 1:25-28 (Link)
  5. 1 Sam 2:1-10 (Link)
  6. 1 Samuel 2:21 (Link)
  7. 1 Sam 7:15-17 (Link)