I have been studying the Book of Samuel now for sometime and found myself again being drawn to the first book and the first chapter and the person of Peninnah. There is much mentioned about Hannah and indeed rightly so but to miss out the purpose and relationship with Peninnah is to evade the true hidden purpose of God's handiwork.
When I did a little research into Peninnah there was very little mentioned so I am trusting God to bring something fresh through this study.
I found out that the meaning of the name Peninnah is 'jewel'. In some cases it also pertains to the actual jewel of 'ruby', 'coral' and 'pearl'. Fine gems indeed!
As I was musing over this precarious relationship which wrought out the purposes of God the thought came to me that where the high purposes of God is thereto is the enemy and indeed Peninnah was Hannah's adversary in so very many ways.
But I wanted to take a completely new look. Perhaps see Peninnah's point of view. I do not want to take away the importance of Hannah but Peninnah is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures and that in itself is very important. It reminds me of the words Jesus speaks about Mary Magdalene that her offering of the most precious ointment before his trip to Jerusalem was to be written down in remembrance of her for all time. Can not the same be said of Penninah?
She is considered the 'baddie' and Hannah considered the 'goodie'. I am not going to dispute this at all but want to ask you to consider the position of Penninah in the workings of Gods divine plan.
Peninnah was Elkanah's second wife it is thought due to the barrenness of Hannah and having children was very important indeed and even today it still considered so.
On research there are a couple of notes on the fact that Elkanah took another wife. One states that it was the custom in those days to take other wives. This reminds me very much that God makes mention many times not to take on the customs of the surrounding nations so perhaps this is one area where His people went astray; taking on other wives. For indeed the scriptures pertain to one wife and one husband and the flesh becoming one. So does the fault lay here with Elkanah to cause such a division in the house? For it is without a doubt that this house was full of contentions and divisions. This in itself is not abnormal even today. Jesus spoke that a house divided against itself will not stand and that the enemies would come from our own household.
But here we see the wonder of God in this situation as Peninnah is used by God, just as Saul was given by God himself an evil spirit and only David by his playing of music could take it away. So it is that God uses Peninnah in this provokation to wrought faith, persistance and right timing of His will in bringing about the birth of Samuel an obedient servant and priest to annoint the coming of King David.
Although I can fully appreciate the scorn upon the life of Hannah I felt persistently drawn to Peninnah to see perhaps another side of her rather than just the cruel heartless woman. That may be so. Take a look at the scenario again and perhaps some light or even tender heartedness will come through about her.
Peninnah was the second wife taken on as a replacement to bear children so there is perhaps most naturally jealousy from the start. Yes although Peninnah conceived many children, both sons and daughters which must have pleased Elkanah immensely yet Peninnah knew in her heart that her husband loved Hannah and this was seen when Hannah was given a worthy portion.
1 Samuel 1 v 5
'But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah....'
I can see Gods wisdom and love in providing a sacred union of just one man and one woman. A person needs to feel loved by her husband as well as to receive children. The LORD did open the womb of Peninnah and this in itself is a blessing.
I believe it was perhaps not the intention that Elkanah take two wives but it happened and God works with whatever mistakes we make and brings good out of every situation. Since all of our lives are known beforehand by God even those who for a time are an adversary. Take Judas for example chosen by Jesus himself, loved by him yet betrayed him.
To all intents and purposes Peninnah and Hannah didn't know each other at all until they were forced to live together. Rivals are quite natural part of human life even among Gods people! For against the backdrop of any evil of which God himself orchestrates it is for the ultimate Glory of God. In this respect Hannah and Peninnah were brought together by God so therefore known by God and all their works.
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Hello your article was well written. However, I noticed you made reference linking Samuel and David in the same lineage. There is no such linkage please. Samuel's father is from the tribe of Ephraim while David was from the tribe of Judah through Ruth and Boaz. I hope you will make the correction. Keep on writing. Cheers!