According to the law in the book of Leviticus one was obliged to pay a certain amount for dedicating someone to the Lord

Leviticus 27:1-7 NIV

27 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person, 3 here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekels[a] of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel. 4 A woman of that age is valued at thirty shekels[b] of silver. 5 A boy between the ages of five and twenty is valued at twenty shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten shekels[c] of silver. 6 A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekels[d] of silver. 7 A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen shekels of silver; a woman of that age is valued at ten shekels[e] of silver.

But there seems to be no record of Hannah bringing the required amount for the dedication of Samuel other than those for the sacrifice during the process.

1 Samuel 1:11 NIV

11 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 her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

1 Samuel 1:24 NIV

24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[e] an ephah[f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 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. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Did Hannah pay the dedication amount required by the law?

  • 1
    We are not told and it is pointless to speculate.
    – Dottard
    Jun 24 at 11:11

It seems possible that what Hannah did was a type of "thank offering" after performing her vow to surrender Samuel back to Yahweh.

Numbers 29:39 - ESV “These you shall offer to the LORD at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.”

Psalm 56:12 - ESV I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.

Psalm 116:17-18 17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,

2 Chronicles 29:31 Then Hezekiah said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those who were willing brought burnt offerings.


Every Jew was required to make a yearly payment of a half shekel as "a ransom for his soul;" and the money collected from this was used for the support of the temple.

[Exodus 30:12-16.]

30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

Notice that it didn't matter if one were rich or poor, the amount was the same. Evidently, God saw that this amount was fair for everyone, even the poor.

This, being required of all, was almost certain to have been paid on Hannah's part, not only for Samuel but for herself. The tribute of a bull shows that Samuel's parents were far from poor. Much lesser offerings would have sufficed. In fact, it seems, from this that Hannah was showing special gratitude toward God.

Given the context and information we have, it is almost certain that Hannah would have fulfilled, and perhaps surpassed, any obligations toward God.


I think the NIV in Leviticus is the source of your confusion. Leviticus 27 is not about dedicating a specific person to the Lord, it is about donating money to the temple. The donation was in the form of paying the ransom of a person, the person himself was never actually dedicated to the Lord through this process. Indeed the NIV's translation is misleading, "If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person." This gives the impression that the person himself is being dedicated, however the ESV here I think is more accurate,

Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the LORD involving the valuation of persons

Or as the NJPS has it:

When anyone explicitly vows to the Lord the equivalent for a human being.

So you get the idea, it is just a donation in the form of human ransom, the person is not actually being dedicated. The only possible reference to dedication to the Lord is in 27:28, however the meaning of that verse is hotly debated by commentators so I will not digress.

So the answer to your question is surprisingly simple, Hannah did not pay any money to the temple since it was not required for her to do so, all she did was dedicate Samuel to the Lord so he could serve God all his life.

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