1 Samuel 1:20

1 Samuel 1:20

“Hannah gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel, saying,
‘Because I asked Yahweh for him.'”

The canceled TV show Kings (which I discovered this week on Hulu.com) has me revisiting the books of Samuel, especially because, while most names map directly (e.g., the shepherd David to David Shepherd, Jonathan of the tribe of Benjamin to Jack Benjamin, Michal to Michelle, the prophet Samuel to Reverend Samuels), King Saul’s TV equivalent is named Silas.

Well, apparently Silas is a Greek form of Saul by way of Aramaic. Clever TV writers.

But Hannah’s explanation of the name Samuel — “Because I asked Yahweh for him” — confused me. So here’s the fascinating tidbit I learn from Wikipedia:

According to 1 Samuel 1:20, Hannah was the mother of Samuel and named him in memory of her requesting a child from God and God listening. Samuel is translated as Heard of God or possibly as a sentence “God has heard” (from ‘Shama’, heard and ‘El’, God — with “Shama” as the verb and “El” as the subject).

However, some textual scholars think that the passage originally referred to King Saul, whose name means “asked” and was later changed by an anti-monarchial editor, so that Saul would no longer appear to have a divinely appointed birth.

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