Samuel's name

Christine Bass christinebass at
Fri Feb 23 14:49:45 EST 2001

Yes, this is worth pursuing------

For twenty years I have told my son his name means
"asked of God"----so I have a vested interest in this

Please continue...


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Stabnow" <dstabno at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 2:13 PM
Subject: Samuel's name

> 1 Samuel 1:20 records Hannah's explanation of Samuel's name. Some
> commentaries say that this was really the naming ceremony for Saul, and it
> was modified and incorporated into the Samuel story. Others say that the
> name really comes from "heard by God," or _$M( )L_. The problem with the
> latter is the loss of the (ayin.
> (KB says "Shumu (the exalted one) is God"; or a nomen regens, "the name of
> El.")
> I propose that vv. 17 and 27 explain Hannah's pun. In both cases the verb
> _$)L_ is followed by the preposition _M(M_ with the _W_ suffix: "requested
> from Him." In v. 20 _MY'_ precedes _$)L_. Hannah continues to make puns:
> vv. 27-28 are filled with puns on "requested" and "loaned/dedicated," two
> meanings of _$)L_. It seems apparent that _$)L_ is important to her.
> The passive of _$)L_ in v. 28 is identical to Saul's name, which is
> evidence for this being Saul's dedication.
> That aside, if this is about Samuel, his name might be derived from _$)L
> M(M )L_, which was shortened by taking the first letter of _$)L_ and the
> first letter of _M(M_ and attaching it to _)L_.
> I see at least three problems: 1) Are there any other names that are
> shortened this way? 2) Where did the u-vowel come from? 3) In none of the
> three cases that the text talks about requesting Samuel from God (vv. 17,
> 20, 27) is _M-_ connected with _)L_.
> Is this worth pursuing?
> Dave Stabnow
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