The Masoretic version of the book of Samuel is notoriously difficult from a textcritical perspective. Scholars have long suspected that this situation reflects a particularly corrupt scribal tradition. Comparison with ancient textual witnesses, especially the Greek and the relevant Hebrew manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls (particularly 4Q51), has generally served to reinforce this view. Several global explanations for differences between the various textual witnesses to Samuel have been proposed. These general approaches, highlighting either accidental or tendentious changes, can illuminate the development of difficult passages. However, many problem passages are given to more than one possible solution. For this reason and others, difficult sections in the text must be dealt with individually, on a case-by-case basis. The present article offers a detailed treatment of attempts to uncover the primary reading of an oft-discussed crux in 1 Sam 1:23, ultimately explaining and arguing for the superiority of the Masoretic testimony while accounting for the interpretive and ideological factors that may have led to the alternative renditions.