1 Samuel 1:2
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And he had two wives.—The primeval Divine ordination, we know, gave its sanction alone to monogamy. The first who seems to have violated God’s original ordinance appears to have been Lamech, of the family of Cain (Genesis 4:19). The practice apparently had become general throughout the East when the Mosaic Law was formulated. In this Divine code it is noticeable that while polygamy is accepted as a custom everywhere prevailing, it is never approved. The laws of Moses—as in the case of another universally accepted practice, slavery—simply seek to restrict and limit it by wise and humane regulations. The inspired writer in this narrative of the home life of Elkanah of “Ramah of the Watchersquietly shows up the curse which almost invariably attended this miserable violation of the relations of the home life to which in the old Eden days the eternal law had given its sanction and blessing. The Old Testament Book contains many of these gently-worded but fire-tipped rebukes of sin and frailty—sins condoned and even approved by the voice of mankind.

Peninnah.—Hannah signifies grace or favour, and has ever been a favourite name among the women of the East. It was the name of the Punic Queen Dido’s sister, Anna. The traditional mother of the Virgin Mary was named Anna. (See Luke 2:36.) Peninnah is translated by some scholars “coral;” according to others it signifies “pearl.” We have adopted the same name under the modem “Margaret.”

1 Samuel 1:2. He had two wives — As many had in those days, though it was a transgression of the original institution of marriage. Hannah seems to have been his first wife; and as she proved barren, he was induced, it is probable, through his earnest desire of children, to take another, as Abraham had done, by Sarah’s consent.

1:1-8 Elkanah kept up his attendance at God's altar, notwithstanding the unhappy differences in his family. If the devotions of a family prevail not to put an end to its divisions, yet let not the divisions put a stop to the devotions. To abate our just love to any relation for the sake of any infirmity which they cannot help, and which is their affliction, is to make God's providence quarrel with his precept, and very unkindly to add affliction to the afflicted. It is evidence of a base disposition, to delight in grieving those who are of a sorrowful spirit, and in putting those out of humour who are apt to fret and be uneasy. We ought to bear one another's burdens, not add to them. Hannah could not bear the provocation. Those who are of a fretful spirit, and are apt to lay provocations too much to heart, are enemies to themselves, and strip themselves of many comforts both of life and godliness. We ought to notice comforts, to keep us from grieving for crosses. We should look at that which is for us, as well as what is against us.He had two wives - Compare Genesis 4:19. This was permitted by the law Deuteronomy 21:15, and sanctioned by the practice of Jacob Genesis 29, Ashur 1 Chronicles 4:5, Shaharaim 1 Chronicles 8:8, David 1 Samuel 25:43, Joash 2 Chronicles 24:3, and others.

Hannah - i. e. "Beauty or charm," is the same as "Anna" Luke 2:36.

Peninnah - i. e. "a Pearl," is the same name in signification as "Marqaret."

The frequent recurrence of the mention of barrenness in those women who were afterward famous through their progeny (as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel) coupled with the prophetic language of Hannah's song in 1 Samuel 2, justifies us in seeking a mystical sense. Besides the apparent purpose of marking the children so born as raised up for special purposes by divine Providence, the weakness and comparative barrenness of the Church of God, to be followed at the set time by her glorious triumph and immense increase, is probably intended to be foreshadowed.

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL, OTHERWISE CALLED THE FIRST BOOK OF THE KINGS. Commentary by Robert Jamieson

CHAPTER 1

1Sa 1:1-8. Of Elkanah and His Two Wives.

1, 2. a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim—The first word being in the dual number, signifies the double city—the old and new town of Ramah (1Sa 1:19). There were five cities of this name, all on high ground. This city had the addition of Zophim attached to it, because it was founded by Zuph, "an Ephrathite," that is a native of Ephratha. Beth-lehem, and the expression "of Ramathaim-zophim" must, therefore, be understood as Ramah in the land of Zuph in the hill country of Ephratha. Others, considering "mount Ephraim" as pointing to the locality in Joseph's territory, regard "Zophim" not as a proper but a common noun, signifying watchtowers, or watchmen, with reference either to the height of its situation, or its being the residence of prophets who were watchmen (Eze 3:17). Though a native of Ephratha or Beth-lehem-judah (Ru 1:2), Elkanah was a Levite (1Ch 6:33, 34). Though of this order, and a good man, he practised polygamy. This was contrary to the original law, but it seems to have been prevalent among the Hebrews in those days, when there was no king in Israel, and every man did what seemed right in his own eyes [Jud 21:25].

He had two wives; as divers other good men had in those ages. And it is probable that he took a second wife, to wit, Peninnah, because Hannah, who being first named seems to have been his first wife, was barren.

And he had two wives,.... Which, though connived at in those times, was contrary to the original law of marriage; and for which, though a good man, he was chastised, and had a great deal of vexation and trouble, the two wives not agreeing with each other; perhaps not having children by the one so soon as he hoped and wished for, he took another:

the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah; the first name signifies "grace" or "gracious", and she was a woman who had the grace of God, and very probably was also very comely, beautiful, and acceptable, as she was in the sight of her husband; the other signifies a cornered gem, a precious stone or jewel, as the pearl, ruby, amethyst, &c. Very likely Hannah was his first wife, and having no children by her, he took Peninnah, who proved to be a rough diamond: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children; how many Peninnah had is not said, perhaps ten; see 1 Samuel 1:8 and that Hannah had none was not because she was naturally barren, but because the Lord had shut up her womb, or restrained her from bearing children, to put her upon praying for one, and that the birth of Samuel might be the more remarkable: see 1 Samuel 1:5.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. two wives] Polygamy, though at variance with the original institution of marriage (Genesis 2:24), was tolerated by the Mosaic law as an existing custom (Deuteronomy 21:15-17), and the fact that Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David and Solomon were all polygamists, shews that no moral blame attached to the practice in this period. It gradually became less frequent, and no case is on record in the Biblical history after the Captivity, but it was reserved for Christianity to re-establish the primeval ideal.

Hannah] i.e. “Grace.” The same name is borne in the N.T. by “Anna, a prophetess” (Luke 2:36): and according to tradition the wife of Joachim and mother of the Virgin Mary was named Anna. In the Phoenician colony of Carthage, where a language closely akin to Hebrew was spoken, the sister of the queen Dido was named Anna (Verg. Aen. iv. 9).

Peninnah] i.e. “Coral,” or “Pearl.” The name may be compared with our Margaret, which means pearl.

Verse 2. - As a wealthy man, Elkanah had two wives, Hannah - the Anna of Virgil, who very properly gives this name to the sister of the Phoenician Dido, the language of Phoenicia being identical with Hebrew - and Peninnah. The word Hannah signifies gracefulness, while Peulnnah is the red pearl, translated coral in Job 28:18, but ruby in Proverbs 3:15, etc. Its ruddy colour is vouched for in Lamentations 4:7. The Hebrew names for women generally bear witness to the affection and respect felt for them; while those for men are usually religious. Though polygamy was a licence permitted to the Jews, it does not seem to have been generally indulged in, except by the kings. Here, as elsewhere, it was the ruin of family life. In Christianity it was marked for final extinction by the rule that no polygamist should be admitted even to the diaconate, and much less to higher office (1 Timothy 3:2, 12). 1 Samuel 1:2Elkanah had two wives, Hannah (grace or gracefulness) and Peninnah (coral), the latter of whom was blessed with children, whereas the first was childless. He went with his wives year by year (ימימה מיּמים, as in Exodus 13:10; Judges 11:40), according to the instructions of the law (Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16), to the tabernacle at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1), to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts. "Jehovah Zebaoth" is an abbreviation of "Jehovah Elohe Zebaoth," or הצּבאות אלהי יהוה; and the connection of Zebaoth with Jehovah is not to be regarded as the construct state, nor is Zebaoth to be taken as a genitive dependent upon Jehovah. This is not only confirmed by the occurrence of such expressions as "Elohim Zebaoth" (Psalm 59:6; Psalm 80:5, Psalm 80:8,Psalm 80:15, 20; Psalm 84:9) and "Adonai Zebaoth" (Isaiah 10:16), but also by the circumstance that Jehovah, as a proper name, cannot be construed with a genitive. The combination "Jehovah Zebaoth" is rather to be taken as an ellipsis, where the general term Elohe (God of), which is implied in the word Jehovah, is to be supplied in thought (see Hengstenberg, Christol. i. p. 375, English translation); for frequently as this expression occurs, especially in the case of the prophets, Zebaoth is never used alone in the Old Testament as one of the names of God. It is in the Septuagint that the word is first met with occasionally as a proper name (Σαβαώθ), viz., throughout the whole of the first book of Samuel, very frequently in Isaiah, and also in Zechariah 13:2. In other passages, the word is translated either κύριος, or θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων, or παντοκράτωρ; whilst the other Greek versions use the more definite phrase κύριος στρατιῶν instead.

This expression, which was not used as a divine name until the age of Samuel, had its roots in Genesis 2:1, although the title itself was unknown in the Mosaic period, and during the times of the judges. It represented Jehovah as ruler over the heavenly hosts (i.e., the angels, according to Genesis 32:2, and the stars, according to Isaiah 40:26), who are called the "armies" of Jehovah in Psalm 103:21; Psalm 148:2; but we are not to understand it as implying that the stars were supposed to be inhabited by angels, as Gesenius (Thes. s. v.) maintains, since there is not the slightest trace of any such notion in the whole of the Old Testament. It is simply applied to Jehovah as the God of the universe, who governs all the powers of heaven, both visible and invisible, as He rules in heaven and on earth. It cannot even be proved that the epithet Lord, or God of Zebaoth, refers chiefly and generally to the sun, moon, and stars, on account of their being so peculiarly adapted, through their visible splendour, to keep alive the consciousness of the omnipotence and glory of God (Hengstenberg on Psalm 24:10). For even though the expression צבאם (their host), in Genesis 2:1, refers to the heavens only, since it is only to the heavens (vid., Isaiah 40:26), and never to the earth, that a "host" is ascribed, and in this particular passage it is probably only the stars that are to be thought of, the creation of which had already been mentioned in Genesis 1:14.; yet we find the idea of an army of angels introduced in the history of Jacob (Genesis 32:2-3), where Jacob calls the angels of God who appeared to him the "camp of God," and also in the blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:2), where the "ten thousands of saints" (Kodesh) are not stars, but angels, or heavenly spirits; whereas the fighting of the stars against Sisera in the song of Deborah probably refers to a natural phenomenon, by which God had thrown the enemy into confusion, and smitten them before the Israelites (see at Judges 5:20). We must also bear in mind, that whilst on the one hand the tribes of Israel, as they came out of Egypt, are called Zebaoth Jehovah, "the hosts of Jehovah" (Exodus 7:4; Exodus 12:41), on the other hand the angel of the Lord, when appearing in front of Jericho in the form of a warrior, made himself known to Joshua as "the prince of the army of Jehovah," i.e., of the angelic hosts. And it is in this appearance of the heavenly leader of the people of God to the earthly leader of the hosts of Israel, as the prince of the angelic hosts, not only promising him the conquest of Jericho, but through the miraculous overthrow of the walls of this strong bulwark of the Canaanitish power, actually giving him at the same time a practical proof that the prince of the angelic hosts was fighting for Israel, that we have the material basis upon which the divine epithet "Jehovah God of hosts" was founded, even though it was not introduced immediately, but only at a later period, when the Lord began to form His people Israel into a kingdom, by which all the kingdoms of the heathen were to be overcome. It is certainly not without significance that this title is given to God for the first time in these books, which contain an account of the founding of the kingdom, and (as Auberlen has observed) that it was by Samuel's mother, the pious Hannah, when dedicating her son to the Lord, and prophesying of the king and anointed of the Lord in her song of praise (1 Samuel 2:10), that this name was employed for the first time, and that God was addressed in prayer as "Jehovah of hosts" (1 Samuel 1:11). Consequently, if this name of God goes hand in hand with the prophetic announcement and the actual establishment of the monarchy in Israel, its origin cannot be attributed to any antagonism to Sabaeism, or to the hostility of pious Israelites to the worship of the stars, which was gaining increasing ground in the age of David, as Hengstenberg (on Psalm 24:10) and Strauss (on Zephaniah 2:9) maintain; to say nothing of the fact, that there is no historical foundation for such an assumption at all. It is a much more natural supposition, that when the invisible sovereignty of Jehovah received a visible manifestation in the establishment of the earthly monarchy, the sovereignty of Jehovah, if it did possess and was to possess any reality at all, necessarily claimed to be recognised in its all-embracing power and glory, and that in the title "God of (the heavenly hosts" the fitting expression was formed for the universal government of the God-king of Israel, - a title which not only serves as a bulwark against any eclipsing of the invisible sovereignty of God by the earthly monarchy in Israel, but overthrew the vain delusion of the heathen, that the God of Israel was simply the national deity of that particular nation.

(Note: This name of God was therefore held up before the people of the Lord even in their war-songs and paeans of victory, but still more by the prophets, as a banner under which Israel was to fight and to conquer the world. Ezekiel is the only prophet who does not use it, simply because he follows the Pentateuch so strictly in his style. And it is not met with in the book of Job, just because the theocratic constitution of the Israelitish nation is never referred to in the problem of that book.)

The remark introduced in 1 Samuel 1:3, "and there were the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests of the Lord," i.e., performing the duties of the priesthood, serves as a preparation for what follows. This reason for the remark sufficiently explains why the sons of Eli only are mentioned here, and not Eli himself, since, although the latter still presided over the sanctuary as high priest, he was too old to perform the duties connected with the offering of sacrifice. The addition made by the lxx, Ἡλὶ καὶ, is an arbitrary interpolation, occasioned by a misapprehension of the reason for mentioning the sons of Eli.

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