Good evening and welcome everyone to eBiblefellowship’s study in the book of 1st Samuel. This is our second Bible study in 1st Samuel. I will begin by reading verse 1 and the following verses. In 1 Samuel 1:1-8, we read:
Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 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. And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto JEHOVAH of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of JEHOVAH, were there. 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 JEHOVAH had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because JEHOVAH had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of JEHOVAH, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
I will stop reading there.
We saw last time that Elkanah (whose name means “purchased of God” or “bought of God”) was a Levite who lived in Mount Ephraim and that that was significant because the Levites were really purchased of God themselves, as God makes a point of emphasizing in several places in the Bible that the tribe of Levi belonged to Him. God said, “… the Levites shall be mine”. That is because He redeemed them when He delivered Israel out of Egypt.
In place of the firstborn of Israel, the Levites would belong to God. Elkanah himself was a Levite and his name was a constant reminder, of that fact that his people belonged to God and he himself belonged to God and actually, this is an excellent name for any Christian to have because the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
They belong to God. When God has redeemed the individual and when He has applied that salvation that Christ purchased for that person “before the foundation of the world” and when God applied the work of Christ through the hearing of the Gospel, at some point during that individual’s life and made that person “born again,” then that person was bought and that person no longer belongs to themself.
Actually, we never did, because we were “created” “in the image of God” and we are created as creatures made in God’s image to serve Him and actually, what sin is—the whole idea behind the rebelliousness of man—is to revolt against that simple truth, that we are not our own. But, we are responsible and obligated to serve God, the Creator. And yet, we have gone our own way. We have gone astray from that. In our sinfulness and our transgression, we have turned to our own way.
Salvation is being brought back to that right relationship with God, where now, once again, God has returned us, to a proper relationship to Him and we are bought of Him and He owns us. Therefore, when He gives us His commandments in the Bible and He tells us that this is what you are to do, this is how you are to live, you are to be obedient in all points, you should (if you are married), love your wife, if you have children, raise them well, you should not lie or “steal” or “commit adultery” or “murder” and so on. Again and again and again, God is telling us what to do and how to live. This, of course, is what people naturally do not like. They want to do their own thing.
But, the believer, now, since he has been given “a new heart and a new spirit” which is “broken and” “contrite” and that means that it is in submission to the will of God and it wants to do the will of God. The child of God recognizes that, “all I am is a dirty, rotten sinner who was under the wrath of God and subject to destruction, deservingly so, and God has rescued me and delivered me from a horrible end from a complete annihilation and He has graciously and mercifully and kindly paid the penalty for all of my sin and not because I deserved it or earned it in any way. It was all done out of His goodness and love and according to His good pleasure. Wow, what tremendous love He has bestowed upon me. Not only has He forgiven me my sins and delivered me from the penalty of death, but He has also given me incredible eternal blessings, eternal riches in Christ forevermore.” So incredible, so magnificent, that they are unimaginable, unspeakable gifts that really cannot be comprehended by the finite mind because they are infinite in their riches.
And so, God has given all this to the believers; and so, we serve Him, but “not grudgingly” and not because we really have to and even though we do not want to. It is true that in our flesh we do not want to. But in that “new heart” and new soul, there is an ongoing desire to want to do the will of God.
We are much like the “Hebrew servant” who enjoys living with “his master” and when it comes to the point where we could be set “free” (God gives a record of that in Exodus); and yet, he decides (determines), no, he wants to stay with “his master”. He enjoys the blessings of being with “his master”. So “his ear” is put up against “the door” and “an aul” is bored through it, to indicate this.
And so too, we willingly (because God has given us a willing heart) want to serve God. We are His. We belong to Him. We are not our own any more. If we would only think more along those lines, we would save ourselves a lot of grief, to think, “well, what can I do for God today?”, “what can I do for my Master?”. Even if we still had that similar language, it would be helpful. But we speak of employers today and not “masters” and “servants” relationships. And yet, the Bible speaks of God as “Master” and we as “servant” or slave. Whatever the “Master” wills, whatever the LORD wants, the child of God is ready to do.
Elkanah is a man who is a Levite and from what we can find, he was a faithful man, even though he had two wives and it tells us in 1 Samuel 1:2, that that was the case:
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.
Now we know that the Bible tells us that, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” and God has really established the marriage relationship to be between one man and one woman and from the beginning that is how it was. There was Adam and Eve. God did not give Adam multiple wives. He gave to him Eve and they became “one flesh” and that is the normal situation. That is the Biblical marriage relationship.
But, just like today, in regards to marriage, there is much sin. There is divorce. There is remarriage. There is even today, some who think they can have two or three or more wives; and so, we find in the Bible, instances of men who had more than one wife and sometimes, these were even faithful men.
Now I do not know how God worked that out with someone like Jacob who had two wives and two concubines (really four wives). Or, someone like Abraham who had Sarah (his wife), and then Sarah gave to Abraham her handmaid Hagar. But she became his wife too and these were men who also, were sinners.
We do sin and God for His own purposes, removed His hand of restraint in the lives of these men in these types of relationships, in order to teach us some spiritual things. It does not excuse their sin. It does not permit it and it certainly does not mean God approved it in any way. But He did allow it.
And so, in the life of Elkanah, he had two wives and just like we mentioned Abraham, he is the first man that comes to mind. Abraham married Sarai and then her name was changed to Sarah and then, he married Sarah’s handmaid Hagar, so he had two wives. We read some description of this in Galatians 4:22-27:
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
We do find some similarities between Abraham and his two wives and Elkanah and his two wives. The similarity is between the wives. Sarah was barren for a long time. Hannah, is barren. She has no child. Hagar did have a child. She had a son named Ishmael and we find that it says in Galatians 4:29:
But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
So there began to be contention between Sarah and Hagar and between the children. But especially, after Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, then Sarah was despised in her eyes and a rivalry began where now, Hagar was thinking that she was able to give Abraham something (a son) that Sarah was not able to give, and that is similar to Peninnah. Peninnah had sons and daughters and “Hannah had no children.”
We read that Peninnah was an “adversary” to Hannah and “provoked her sore”. Now, how would she provoke her? What sort of problems were between them? Well, we can imagine that there would be jealously, envy and there would be contention and one of the reasons is that this sort of marriage relationship is not according to the “will of God,” that is the law of God. It was sinful for Elkanah to have two wives and as a result of sin, there will follow other troubles.
One of the problems here was this rivalry and one woman who was blessed with children (as God had given Peninnah children), was probably letting Hannah know and just emphasizing this to her and maybe boasting about it and constantly bringing it up to her regarding her children and all the portions that her children were given to sacrifice at the “yearly” festival in Shiloh and Hannah was grieved by this because she “had no children.” She was barren. “the LORD had shut up her womb.” Well, this is the situation here with Elkanah and his two wives.
Now, let us look at the names of these two women, in verse 2. The one was “Hannah”. “Hannah” is a word that means “favour” or “gracious” or “merciful”. That is what Hannah’s name means and it is an excellent name for anyone to have to remind them of the mercy of God, the grace of God and that salvation is found through favour, through the unmerited gift (grace) of God. Hannah’s name means that.
Now, the other woman’s name (Elkanah’s wife) was Peninnah. Her name means “rubies.” Peninnah is #H6444 in Strong’s and it is from the previous word #H6443 which is translated “rubies.” This word is found in Proverbs 8:11:
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
It is also found in Proverbs 31:10:
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
“far above” “Peninnah” and that verse, really is very descriptive and it explains the situation in 1st Samuel, between Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah is “a virtuous woman”. She is a true child of God and she is of “a contrite heart”. She is a humble woman. We see that later on, when she goes to pray and she calls herself the “handmaid” of the LORD. We will look at that phrase later. But, that is a phrase that is used for some of the most humble women in the Bible and Hannah is a true believer. She has “the hidden man of the heart”.
Now let us just quickly look in 1st Peter 3 and we will see how God speaks of this kind of woman, that Hannah was. He says in 1 Peter 3:3-6:
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart (and that would be a reference to Christ), in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
So Hannah had this adorning of “the Spirit of God” (“the Spirit of Christ”), within her, “the hidden man of the heart,” which produced “a meek and quiet spirit”. She was a true believer. Her name of “gracious” or “favour”, matched her well because God had saved her. She had experienced salvation and Peninnah’s name means “rubies.”
And so we have these two wives of Elkanah and we can also see from what we read in 1st Samuel and the following verses, that Elkanah “loved Hannah”. We find that he, probably had a love to Peninnah too. He gave her and her children “portions”, but “he gave” “Hannah” “a worthy portion”. It would seem that he preferred Hannah, that he had greater love towards Hannah than Peninnah and that is because, as it says in Proverbs 31:10:
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Now, spiritually, Hannah would represent the true believers and Peninnah would represent someone very important to God and God has a relationship with them. But they do not have the same relationship that He has with His Elect people.
And so, the “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 31 is really a spiritual reference to the body of believers (the bride of Christ) and “her price” (the price that Christ paid in order to purchase her as His bride) “is far above rubies.” It is how it must be. “Jacob have I loved,” God says, and He accepted Abel’s “offering” but did not accept Cain’s “offering”.
God makes a distinction between people based on the price that was paid for those that He redeemed, because Christ gave His life and brought them into an intimate relationship and a close relationship where God has expressed his tremendous love towards these Elect people, because Jesus died for them and paid for their sins and has shed his blood, given his life, in order to make them his bride.
And so with the names of Hannah and Peninnah, we can see this kind of relationship between these two wives and it is similar to Abraham with Sarah and Hagar. Sarah, the Bible calls, “the mother of us all”, (the Elect), and Hagar identifies with “mount Sinai” or those who are related to God through His law and mankind is “married to” God through the law of God. Every human being who enters into the world, who is a member of the human race is “married to” the law of God, except for those that are made “dead to the law”, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
All the rest who are not saved (who God has not paid for their sins) remain “married to” the law of God, and it is that law, in that spiritual relationship between mankind and the Bible (the law book), that will condemn each human being because man, in that marriage relationship, is adulterous.
This is why The Epistle of James says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses”. We are all guilty of adultery against the law of God. We have involved ourselves with spiritual fornication and the penalty for adultery is to be stoned to death. We must die. “… the wages of sin” (or for breaking the law of God) “is death; …” and this means that really, God has two wives. When we look at every human being, either we are “married to” God through His grace and mercy, through salvation, as we have “become dead to the law”, in order to “be married to another,” as Romans 7 tells us. We are “married to” Christ, or we are “married to” the law of God.
Those are the two wives that God has. One is the “virtuous woman”. “her price is far above rubies.” The other will sadly - we know that mankind, at the end of this life and at the end of this world - those that are married to the law and never found redemption, they must give account for the breaking of the law and that will be with their lives. They will die for their sins.
We will stop here for today.