It was that time of the year. The time of the year when the Israelites journeyed to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice unto the LORD. The families would come to express their divine honor to God.
Elkanah, and his entourage, were just one of the families who traveled to Shiloh each year.
Now, Elkanah had two wives. Peninnah and Hannah. I guess, back in the day, some men had more than one wife. I just cannot imagine knowingly sharing my man with another woman. But that’s me. Moving on!
I need for you to get this picture. To me, it was like every year the Elkanah family went on vacation to Shiloh. A very special vacation I might add. This was a time of celebrating and thanking God for all that HE had done for them and all that HE would do. They would feast on the best and their hearts, and bellies for that matter, would be full. I imagine people you might only see once a year are there. You have an opportunity to fellowship. Hearts filled with praise. A happy time for all.
Now, Peninnah had kids by Elkanah. Peninnah seemed, to me, to have an attitude, too. Each year she would rub in Hannah’s face the fact that Hannah had no kids by their shared husband. Imagine the words she would whisper to Hannah. Hurtful. Digs. Maybe things like, “Sure he says he loves you more but what man doesn’t want kids? He is just trying to make you feel good. If these kids didn’t mean anything to him then why does he keep coming back for more. Seems to me I must have something you don’t have.” You get the picture?
Each year as Elkanah and his family would feast on the best, Elkanah would give portions of the offering to Peninnah and her kids. He would then give a more generous offering to Hannah as an expression of his love. You can tell hubby is clueless because he somehow thought that the generosity made it all okay. The hubby clearly didn’t understand Hannah’s pain because he made statements like, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?” Now, I don’t know about you but this would not be considered a statement of consolation for me, if I were in Hannah’s shoes. And Hannah says nothing. Smart move girl. Smart move.
See, Hannah was barren. Her womb that is. For years she was not able to conceive. The bad part about it was, as I mentioned, her husband had another wife, and the other woman, so to speak, was able. Oh, and as you can see, she (the other woman) seemed to be a spiteful little witch. Sorry. Lost it for a moment. So, what I meant to say was, her adversary provoked Hannah to remind her of her barrenness. ☺️
Think about it. Even if the other wife wasn’t egging her on, Hannah still had to look and listen to the kids. Imagine when they called Elkanah. Daddy! Papa! Or whatever they chose to call him. Each time she heard them address him it had to hurt. It had to remind her of her condition.
So, yearly, the family, that is the husband, Hannah, and the other woman, and her children went up to Shiloh to worship, and to sacrifice unto the LORD. Yearly, Hannah was miserable. For Hannah had a void. Hannah felt unfulfilled.
But look at Hannah’s attitude. Look at her character. Her adversary provokes her year after year after year and Hannah doesn’t fuss her out. Think of how it must be triggering so much inside of Hannah and not only does she not take it out on the other woman, but she doesn’t even express her discontent with her seed sharing sap of a man. I meant her husband. Elkanah. Think of how painful this situation was. Without a doubt.
Through it all Hannah doesn’t even let her adversary provoke her to anything other than godly behavior. Hats off to ya Hannah! Hats off to ya!
Instead, when Hannah had enough she went off and cried to the LORD. She takes her anger, hurt, despair, frustration, all of it to the LORD.
Whew! In closing, all I can say is let’s pray.
Grow me to be like Hannah. Oh God, I want to be a woman who will cry out to YOU in the midst of my despair. In the midst of my barrenness, anger, frustration, grief, or season of discontent. In the midst of what seems to be so unfair. Remind me to run to YOU and in so doing confidently know that I am safe there bearing my soul. Mold my character, which in turn will be reflective in my attitude, so that the world will see that I am different because of YOU.
In Jesus Name,
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
Don’t let your adversary provoke you to anything other than godly behavior. Liz Tate