Elkanah (Hebrew: אֱלְקָנָה ’Elqānāh "El has purchased") was, according to the Books of Samuel, the husband of Hannah, and the father of her children including her first, Samuel. Elkanah practiced polygamy; his other wife, less favoured but bearing more children, was named Peninnah. The names of Elkanah's other children apart from Samuel are not given. Elkanah plays only a minor role in the narrative, and is mostly a supporting character to Eli, Hannah, and Samuel.
Elkanah was from the Tribe of Levi. Additionally, Elkanah lived in the mountains of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 6:16-30, 33-37); the Tribe of Levi was assigned to dwell in certain cities that were scattered throughout the tribes of Israel (Book of Genesis 49:6-7; Book of Numbers 35:6). So, "Ephraimite" refers to Elkanah's tribal descent, not his tribal ancestry.
Elkanah was the son of Jeroham, who was the son of Elihu, who was the son of Tohu, who was the son of Zuph. Elkanah is described as having originated from Zuph, specifically Ramathaim-Zophim, which was part of the tribal lands of Ephraim; however, the Books of Chronicles state that he was a Levite. He is the great-great-great-grandson of another Elkanah.
The Talmud lists him as a prophet, along with his wife and son.
- 1 Samuel 1:1
- "Elkanah", Jewish Encyclopedia