Understanding Difficult Texts

Understanding Difficult Texts - Elkanah’s wives

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Elkanah’s wives:

Elkanah was the father of the great prophet, Samuel. Elkanah had two wives. The Scripture records:

And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. (1 Samuel 1:2)

The context reveals that Hannah was the first wife, and Peninnah was the second. It is most likely the Elkanah took his second wife, as Hannah was barren, something like Abraham taking Hagar when Sarah was fruitless.

There is always a sure price to pay when an extra member is added in the holy ordinance of marriage. Elkanah loves Hannah more, and gives her more portion of wealth. It reads:

And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. (1 Samuel 1:4, 5)

Strife, jealousy, hatred is the result. What happened between the two wives?

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. (1 Samuel 1:6)

It was not a one-day issue. It looked like a perennial problem:

Year by year…she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. (1 Samuel 1:7)

God finally blesses the first wife of Elkanah—and Samuel is born.

The family peace and love took a beating because of the two wives!

 



 
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