L. Now [whereas] Elchana had two wives, the name of the one was Anna and the name of the other Phenenna. And because Phenenna had sons, and Anna had none, Phenenna reproached her, saying:
What profiteth it thee that Elchana thine husband
loveth thee? but thou art a dry tree. I know moreover that he will love me, because he delighteth
to see my sons standing about him like the planting of an oliveyard. 2. And so it was, when she reproached her every day, and Anna was very sore at heart, and she feared God from her youth, it came to pass when the good day of the passover
drew on, and her husband went up to do sacrifice, that Phenenna reviled Anna saying: A woman is not indeed beloved even if her husband love her or her beauty. Let not Anna therefore boast herself of her beauty, but he that boasteth let him boast when he seeth his seed before his face; and when it is not so among women, even the fruit of their womb, then shall love become of no account. For what profit was it unto Rachel that Jacob loved her? except there had been given her the fruit of her womb, surely his love would have been to no purpose? And when Anna heard that, her soul was melted within her and her eyes ran down with tears. 3. And her husband saw
her and said: Wherefore art thou sad, and eatest not, and why is thy heart within thee cast down? Is not thy behaviour 1 better than the ten sons of Phenenna? And Anna hearkened to him and
arose after she had eaten, and came unto Silo to the house of the Lord where Heli the priest abode, whom Phinees the son of Eleazar the priest had presented as it was commanded him. 4. And Anna prayed and said: Hast not thou, O Lord, examined the heart of all generations before thou formedst the world? But what is the womb that is born open, or what one that is shut up dieth, except thou will it? And now let my prayer go up before thee this day, lest I go down hence empty, for thou knowest my heart, how I have walked before thee from the days of my youth. 5. And Anna would not pray aloud as do all men, for she took thought at that time saying: Lest perchance I be not worthy to be heard, and it shall be that Phenenna will envy me yet more and reproach me as she daily saith: Where is thy God in whom thou trustest? And I know that it is not she that hath
many sons that is enriched, neither she that lacketh them is poor, but whoso aboundeth in the will of God, she is enriched. For they that know for what I have prayed, if they perceive that I am not heard in my prayer, will blaspheme. And I shall not only have a witness in mine own soul, for my tears also are handmaidens of my prayers. 6. And as
she prayed, Heli the priest, seeing that she was afflicted in her mind and carried herself like one drunken, said unto her: Go, put away thy wine from thee. And she said: Is my prayer so heard that I am called drunken? Verily I am drunken with sorrow and have drunk the cup of my weeping. 7. And Heli the priest said unto her: Tell me thy reproach. And she said unto him: I am the wife of Elchana, and because God hath surely shut up my womb, therefore I prayed before him that I might not depart out of this world unto him
Without fruit, neither die without leaving mine own image. And Heli the priest said unto her: Go, for I know wherefore thou hast prayed, and. thy prayer is heard. 8. But Heli the priest would not tell her that a prophet was foreordained to be born of her: for he had heard when the Lord spake concerning him. And Anna came unto her house, and was consoled of her sorrow, yet she told no man of that for which she had prayed.
215:1 L. 3. thy behaviour: mores lui.
Next: Chapter LI