During my sermon on 1 Samuel 1:19-28 I stated that Hannah brought three times the offering required. My understanding is based on the NKJV which represents the Hebrew text of that verse. Some other modern translations follow the Greek translation of the Hebrew text, which states that Hannah brought a three year old bull rather than three bulls – a fact that some people pointed out to me after the sermon! What makes that translation problematic is that the amount of flour she brought (“one ephah”) is just over three times the amount she would bring if she was simply bringing one bull (Numbers 15:9). It seems more likely that Hannah actually brought three bulls and the required flour offering. Here is what the ESV Study Bible has to say about the issue: “Either a three-year-old bull or “three bulls” (ESV footnote). In either case Elkanah apparently was a prosperous man who was able to afford an expensive offering of a bull or bulls and large amounts of grain and wine. Three bulls would correspond to the priestly regulations, which specify that together with each bull sacrificed, three-tenths of an ephah of grain should be offered (Num. 15:9; 28:12, 20, 28). With three bulls, one would expect an offering of nine-tenths of an ephah, just a little less than the one ephah that Hannah offered. The skin (or “jar”) may have held as much as 6 gallons (22 l) of wine.”
Did Hannah really bring three times the offering required?