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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(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.



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.
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). "These are the generations of Perez," i.e., the families descended from Perez in their genealogical order (toledoth: see at Genesis 2:4). The genealogy only goes back as far as Perez, because he was the founder of the family of Judah which was named after him (Numbers 26:20), and to which Elimelech and Boaz belonged. Perez, a son of Judah by Tamar (Genesis 38:29), begat Hezrom, who is mentioned in Genesis 46:12 among the sons of Judah who emigrated with Jacob into Egypt, although (as we have shown in our comm. on the passage) he was really born in Egypt. Of this son Ram (called Aram in the Sept. Cod. Al., and from that in Matthew 1:3) nothing further is known, as he is only mentioned again in 1 Chronicles 2:9. His son Amminidab was the father-in-law of Aaron, who had married his daughter (Exodus 6:23), and the father of Nahesson (Nahshon), the tribe-prince of the house of Judah in the time of Moses (Numbers 1:7; Numbers 2:3; Numbers 7:12). According to this there are only four or five generations to the 430 years spent by the Israelites in Egypt, if we include both Perez and Nahesson; evidently not enough for so long a time, so that some of the intermediate links must have been left out even here. But the omission of unimportant members becomes still more apparent in the statement which follows, viz., that Nahshon begat Salmah, and Salmah Boaz, in which only two generations are given for a space of more than 250 years, which intervened between the death of Moses and the time of Gideon. Salmah (שׂלמה or שׂלמא, 1 Chronicles 2:11) is called Salmon in Ruth 4:21; a double form of the name, which is to be explained form the fact that Salmah grew out of Salmon through the elision of the n, and that the terminations an and on are used promiscuously, as we may see from the form שׁריה in Job 41:18 when compared with שׁרין in 1 Kings 22:34, and שׁריון in 1 Samuel 17:5, 1 Samuel 17:38 (see Ewald, 163-4). According to the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:5, Salmon married Rahab; consequently he was a son, or at any rate a grandson, of Nahshon, and therefore all the members between Salmon and Boaz have been passed over. Again, the generations from Boaz to David (Ruth 4:21, Ruth 4:22) may possibly be complete, although in all probability one generation has been passed over even here between Obed and Jesse. It is also worthy of notice that the whole chain from Perez to David consists of ten links, five of which (from Perez to Nahshon) belong to the 430 years of the sojourn in Egypt, and five (from Salmon to David) to the 476 years between the exodus from Egypt and the death of David. This symmetrical division is apparently as intentional as the limitation of the whole genealogy to ten members, for the purpose of stamping upon it through the number ten as the seal of completeness the character of a perfect, concluded, and symmetrical whole.

The genealogy closes with David, an evident proof that the book was intended to give a family picture form the life of the pious ancestors of this great and godly king of Israel. But for us the history which points to David acquires a still higher signification, from the fact that all the members of the genealogy of David whose names occur here are also found in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. "The passage is given by Matthew word for word in the genealogy of Christ, that we may see that this history looks not so much to David as to Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed by all as the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that we may learn with what wonderful compassion the Lord raises up the lowly and despised to the greatest glory and majesty" (Brentius).

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