“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.”1 Samuel 1:4-7 ESV
I was going to make this blog about Hannah and her godly traits. But, as I was journaling and inwardly rolling my eyes because of Penninah. I was reminded of grace.
I read these stories in the Bible, and I bring myself into context. I would be Hannah, and I imagine Penninah to be some popular girl in school; who I secretly admired, but yet openly was rejected by. So, I found myself inwardly doing what Hannah wouldn’t do at that table, every year. Then, the Holy Spirit tapped me on my shoulder and whispered ‘grace’.
Penninah was an unloved woman, it (v.5) doesn’t read that Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah; it reads ‘he loved her’. So, we can assume that though he had two wives, his love was devout and not divided.
I’m sure that much like Leah (Gen 29:32), Penninah assumed that having multiple sons and daughters would make Elkanah divide his devotion. But, to no avail. The Holy Spirit had to remind me that there are two hurting women at that table. Hannah had her husband’s love but wanted a child. Penninah had the children but wanted the love of her husband.
And, while Penninah was no angel, and did what was unpleasing in the sight of the Lord; she too was a woman troubled in spirit. Penninah should have followed Hannah and poured her soul out to the Lord. Instead, she looked forward to inflicting her hurt on another woman.
Prayer: Lord, may we be people who show grace towards the hurting who in return hurt us. May we as your vessels empty ourselves at your feet. Lord, we thank you that you are a God who hears unheard prayers. We thank you that we can always come to you, and in the solace of your Presence will you change our countenance. I thank you for loving the accused and the accuser.I pray that as you are making us into the image of your own Son, we will love like He does. I pray that we wouldn’t hold on to old wounds but allow you to heal them. For we know there is still balm in Gilead. I say this prayer in Jesus name. Amen