After weaning Samuel, Hannah and Elkanah go to Shiloh to leave dedicate Samuel in the temple. After Hannah sings the song in chapter 2, it says Elkanah returned home. Passage doesn't say Hannah returned with her husband. Does this mean Hannah stayed back to look after her tiny tot?

1 Samuel 2:11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.

on a side note, this passage touches my heart deeply about how dedicated Hannah is!

2 Answers 2


As the Hebrew Masoretic text stands, at the conclusion of Hannah's prayer, Elkanah returns to Ramah (= Ramathaim, as in 1 Sam 1:1).

In terms of "action", however, 1 Sam 2:11 is the next bit of unfolding narrative subsequent to the conclusion of chapter 1 -- the song/prayer intervening.

In the Greek (Septuagint) text, however, things work out differently after Hannah's Song - it continues this way:

2:11 καὶ κατέλιπον* αὐτὸν ἐκεῖ ἐνώπιον κυρίου καὶ ἀπῆλθον* εἰς Αρμαθαιμ...
kai katelipon* auton ekei enōpion kuriou kai apēlthon* eis Armataim...
and they left him there before the Lord and departed to Armathaim...

* The text above is the LXX as it appears in Rahlfs. It should be further noted that the "B" text (Vaticanus) reads -en for these verbs, not -on, i.e., "she left him ... and she returned...".

Even the 1985 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh makes an adjustment in its translation of the Hebrew text at this point: "Then Elkanah [and Hannah] went home to Ramah...". And the Greek version likewise is preferred by commentators, both older (e.g. S.R. Driver, pp. 22-23) and newer (e.g. P.K. McCarter, p. 78).

As the subsequent narrative makes clear, however, Hannah has returned home, even in the Hebrew tradition (see 1 Sam 2:18-21). The fact her name is omitted in the Hebrew text of 1 Sam 2:11 does not, then, require her presence in Shiloh.

This problem has been treated by: J. Cook, “Hannah and/ or Elkanah on their Way Home (1 Samuel 2,11)? A Witness to the Complexity of the Tradition History of the Samuel Texts,” OTE 3 (1990): 247-262 [no online source I can find]. See also the comments of Donald W. Parry, "Hannah in the Presence of the Lord", in Archaeology of the Books of Samuel: The Entangling of the Textual and Literary History, ed. by P. Hugo and A. Schenker (Brill, 2010), pp. 53-74 (see p. 69). 4QSama "is not attested at this point".


Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.

Followup to the question I posted. I read further today in the same chapter and it does look like Hannah returned home to Ramah. She visited Samuel every year to bring a new robe for her little one.

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