The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
Chapter 1
There was a man once called Elcana, that lived at Ramathaim-Sophim, in the hill-country of Ephraim; he was an Ephraimite born, descended from Suph through Jeroham, Eliu and Thohu.
He had two wives, one called Anna, the other Phenenna, and this Phenenna had borne him sons, whereas Anna was childless.
Never a feast-day would he keep in his own city; he must be at Silo, worshipping the Lord of hosts, and offering him sacrifice; there dwelt the Lord’s priests, Ophni and Phinees, the two sons of Heli.
When the time came for Elcana’s sacrifice, Phenenna must have many portions, for a son here, a daughter there,
and he was sad at heart as he gave Anna her single portion, for Anna he loved dearly. Why had the Lord denied her motherhood?
And still she must endure bitter persecution from her rival, that did not scruple to make her childlessness a matter of reproach;
year after year, when they went up to the Lord’s temple for the feast, it was ever the same. In tears she sat, with no heart for eating,
while her husband Elcana tried to comfort her. Anna, he said, what need to weep, what need to deny thyself food? What sorrow weighs on thy heart? Is it not worth the love of ten sons, the love I bear thee?

Once, on such a visit to Silo, when eating and drinking was done, Anna rose up from her place and went to the temple door, where the priest Heli was sitting.
Sad at heart, she prayed to the Lord with many tears,
and made a vow: Lord of hosts, if thou wilt take good heed of this sorrow I bear, if thou wilt keep this handmaid of thine ever in remembrance, and grant her a son, then he shall be my gift to the Lord all his life long, a Nazirite unshorn.
Such was the prayer she went on repeating, there in the Lord’s presence; and Heli saw her lips moving as she did so;
her lips pronounced the secret petition, but with no sound. Heli thought her besotted with wine;
Come, he said, wilt thou always be at thy cups? Give thy stomach a rest from the wine that so bemuses thee.
Nay, my lord, said Anna, thou seest an unhappy woman, unburdening her heart in the Lord’s presence; there was no wine or strong drink here.
Do not think of thy handmaid as a light woman; only sorrow and bitter anguish have wrung speech from me all this while.
Go then, answered Heli, and peace go with thee; may the Lord grant the prayer thou hast made.
I am thy handmaid, she said; thy favour is all I ask. Then she went back, and took food, sad-faced no longer;
and next morning, when they had paid their devotions in the Lord’s presence, they went back home to Ramatha.

And the Lord bethought him of Anna, when next Elcana took her to his bed;
so, in due time, she conceived and bore him a son. The name she gave him was Samuel, in token that he was a gift she had won from the Lord.
When her husband Elcana went to offer the Lord due sacrifice, and pay his vow, taking all his household with him,
Anna stayed at home. She would not go, she told her husband, until the boy was weaned; then she would herself bring him into the Lord’s presence, and leave him there for ever.
Do as thou wilt, Elcana said; wait here till he is weaned, and may the Lord bring his own will to accomplishment.

So she waited at home, and nursed her child till he was weaned.
And now that he needed her no longer, she took him with her to the Lord’s house in Silo, still so young. Three bulls, and a bushel of flour, and a skin of wine, were the offerings she made.
When they brought the boy to Heli, to offer a bull-calf for him,
Anna cried out, Listen, my lord! As thou art a living man, my lord, this is the same woman that stood here in thy presence, praying so eagerly!
And my prayer was for a son, the boy whom thou seest. I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord granted my request;
and now, in my turn, I make a grant of him to the Lord, a grant that shall be long as his life. Then they offered the Lord worship, and Anna made this prayer which follows.