Analogy: Why Didn’t God Kill Eli Immediately?

by Adam M.

Hale is a city stationed in the middle of the Pangeanic Ocean. Over three thousand miles from any other civilization. It is the year 2034. Hale was essentially a monarchy. There was person that was chosen as a child to lead the city once the previous leader had passed. This person acted as both the decision maker of the city and the adviser of the people.

Every morning starting at 7:00 people would line up and take advice on how to live their lives.”King” Rathius of Hale and his sons would stay there for about five hours just advising the people of Hale. They would consult each person in private rooms. The sons started to get greedy, and started to charge a considerable amount of money for each “advising”.

Rathius found the truth about what his sons were doing. A secret agency called the SOA that was above the King also found out about the horrible things the princes were doing. The SOA decided this had to stop. They sent an officer to privately talk with Rathius about telling his sons to stop. Rathius decided not to, because he didn’t feel they were doing any harm. A month passed and his sons had not changed their ways. The SOA did not like this. They sent an agent to “take care” of the king. In the night an assassin went to the king and his sons and said “You have dishonored your city. You must pay for what you have done. No one in your bloodline will take the throne and you will be killed.” The assassin then killed the king and his sons. He left no trace. The morning came and the people lined up to talk to the king and his sons, but they were dead. After 4 hours the whole city went into panic.

The king had never missed a morning ever. Thousands of people were running around trying to find the king. The city did not know what to do. This is precisely what would have happened if God had just murdered Eli and his sons. The whole temple would have gone into a panic. Thousands of people would have come to the temple to sacrifice their animals, but the people in the temple would not know what to do with the people coming to sacrifice their animals. I think that God knew that, so he didn’t kill Eli on the spot. 

Fiction: Hannah and Penninah

by Madeline H.

There is a woman named Hannah, who is married to a man named Elkanah. Elkanah is also married to another woman named Peninnah. Hannah is not able to have children, but Peninnah can, and has had 10 children. Elkanah’s wives tend to fight quite often because of this, especially Hannah.

    “Hannah, why do you care so much about having children? Just face it, I can have kids, and you can’t, I’m sorry if you’re so jealous,” Penninah says one evening.

    “Well, why shouldn’t I be jealous? You know that having children means everything to me, and every chance you get you brag about yours!” Hannah replies.

    “Well I can’t help it Hannah, I love having kids. And you’re my family, I like to share things with you,” Penninah says.

    “Yeah, well sometimes I don’t, and I would appreciate it if you would take that into consideration,” Hannah.

    “Sorry, but if you don’t like having kids around you all the time, maybe being a mom just isn’t your thing. So, maybe it’s good that you can’t have kids,” Penninah says and laughs.

    “Shut up Penninah!” Hannah.

    “You shut up!” Penninah.

    “Hey hey hey! What’s going on here?!” Elkanah interjects.

    “Hannah is being very immature,” Penninah says and walks out.

    “Elkanah, I hate how I can’t have kids, and she always brags about hers to me. I’m so tired of it!” Hannah says to Elkanah.

    “Why sweetie? You don’t need to be able to have children. You have a wonderful husband, me, and Penninah has kids, yes, but she wants you to love them, and take care of them. And who knows? Maybe G-d someday will bless you with the ability to have a child, and you will be very happy!” Elkanah says to Hannah.

        “Thank you Elkanah, but I will never get over my jealousy as long as I live, it doesn’t matter if I will be able to have children or not,” Hannah says and walks out of their living room, which is where they were talking.

         A little while later Hannah was chatting with Eli inside the temple, eating some dinner. When they finished talking Eli excused himself. While Eli had been gone Hannah went inside the actual temple, and prayed to G-d, asking for a child.

        “G-d, please do help me. I am not able to bare children, but my husband’s other wife Penninah can, and has had 10 children. For all I know, she may want to have more. She’s always talking about them with me, we barely talk about anything else. I don’t know what to do. I mean, I love them dearly, because they kind of are my family, but I want a child of my own. Please, can you help me?” Hannah requests to G-d.

        While Hannah was talking to G-d, Eli walks into the temple and sees Hannah facing the ark. He doesn’t know what she is doing, and can’t hear her either. He walks over to her, but Hannah seems to be in such a deep trance that she doesn’t notice him until he taps her on the shoulder.

        “Hannah? Hannah? What are you doing Hannah?” Eli asks her, and she finally turns around to face him.

        “Uh, none of your business Eli. I was having a private conversation with someone that you don’t need to know about,” she replies.

        “Hannah, you are a drunken women, and you better get sober before G-d sees what you did,” Eli says.

        “What are you talking about Eli? I was simply requesting something to G-d, and you call me a drunken women? You should get your ears checked, because I was only having a personal conversation with G-d,” Hannah says.

         “Well, people today do not simply have a conversation with G-d. G-d talks to them, and until that happens to you, you don’t pray in this temple, because it is not what people do. Now please leave, I need to be alone now.” Eli says to Hannah.

         “The only thing you need is a nap, you cranky old man,” Hannah says to him. She begins to leave when Eli says something to her.

          “G-d will never give you the ability to bare children with that attitude, miss,” when Eli says that Hannah immediately stops in her tracks and turns around again to face Eli.

          “How did you know that I asked G-d for a child?” Hannah says, sounding very confused.

          “I may not be as hard of hearing as you think,” he says. “Maybe treat your friends and family with more respect, and G-d just might grant your wish. Be patient, my dear,” Eli says.

           “…thank you Eli. I apologize,” Hannah says, then leaves without another world.

    A while later Hannah finds out some amazing news, and immediately goes to tell Elkanah and Penninah the great news.

    “Oh my gosh, you will never believe what amazing news I have!” Hannah exclaims. Penninah and Elkanah were sitting in their living room playing with Penninah’s kids when Hannah walked in.

    “What?!” they both exclaim.

    “I’m pregnant! G-d has blessed me with a child!” Hannah says happily.

    “That’s amazing sweetie!” Elkanah says and goes to hug his wife. Penninah stays where she is on the couch because she has two of her kids sitting on her lap. She also didn’t feel like celebrating. “Penninah, why aren’t you up celebrating? You know how long Hannah has waited for this.”

    “Why should I be celebrating?” Penninah says to Elkanah.

    “What kind of a thing is that to say Penninah? If this is because of this jealousy thing you two have going on, it’s time to let it go. I think Hannah has, so you need to, too,” Elkanah says to Penninah says. She just sits and stares at them without saying anything.

    “I’ll go play with the kids somewhere else, since you two clearly have things to discuss,” Penninah says.

     “If that’s how it’s going to be, then so be it. Good bye,” Elkanah says. Hannah doesn’t say anything. She just stands in Elkanah’s arms and watches while Penninah passes by them with her kids. Right then, Hannah realizes something.

     “You know something Elkanah? I don’t even know anymore why I was always so jealous of Penninah, when she has 10 kids!” Hannah exclaims.

     “See? Now you’re coming to your senses Hannah!” Elkanah says to her.

     “I mean, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for her to take care of them all the time, and only have the assistance of us, but mostly just you,” Hannah says.

     “Well, you know, now that you’re making more sense, maybe you should start helping her out more. You two don’t have a very good relationship, and she does ask you to hang out with her kids more often. So, how about it honey?” Elkanah says.

     “…fine. If anything, it will help me with becoming a mother myself,” Hannah says.

     “True. Now, lets go talk some more about what we should do. You know, to prepare and everything,” Elkanah says. They immediately sit down and start talking baby plans.

     After about nine months Hannah gives birth to her son Samuel. Before Samuel’s birth, Hannah swore Samuel to G-d, thinking that He would grant her a child. Since He did, Samuel cannot live with Hannah, but he has to live with Eli and his sons inside the temple. Elkanah wasn’t very pleased with how things worked out, but that was the way it had to be. Since no one really knew how Hannah was able to bare a child, knowing that she said she was unable, Hannah had to explain herself at some point. When Samuel was one week old, Elkanah and Hannah were sitting together inside Elkanah’s study, with Penninah sitting in the corner playing with one of her children. Then, Penninah asked Hannah a question.

     “Hey Hannah, how were you able to finally bare a child?” Penninah says. “I thought that G-d had shut up your womb.”

     “Penninah!” Hannah exclaims.

      “Hannah dear, please don’t get upset. It’s not good for you. I was going to ask you the same thing that Penninah just said, so you can be mad at me, too,” Elkanah said.

     “Well, as long as no one else is here to hear it, then I guess I can confess.” Hannah says. “Although I would prefer it if Penninah was not in the room when I say this.”

     “Fine. A day where I don’t have to listen to Hannah yelling at me is a good day for me,” Penninah says and leaves, but not before saying something else. “And remember Hannah, G-d is listening, He hears everything you say, he sees everything you do. You had better watch yourself.”

     “Sure, whatever,” Hannah says to her as she’s guiding her child out the door.

     Elkanah and Hannah were finally alone in the living room. They sat for a few minutes in slience, then Hannah finally finds the right words to say to him.

     “Elkanah, I wanted to tell you this without Penninah in the room because I knew she would make fun of me if she heard this. Please just don’t read too much into this Elkanah,” she says and lays down on the couch.

     “Honey honey, why would I be mad? Whatever you did it can’t be very bad,” Elkanah says.

     “I don’t know, I guess it’s just because I am ashamed that I cannot bare a child on my own, without asking it of G-d,” Hannah says. Elkanah doesn’t say anything, but he knows what she’s talking about.

     “So, what you’re saying is that you asked Samuel of G-d, and that’s why you were able to concieve and bare a child?” Elkanah says.

     “…yes Elkanah,” she says.

     “And you’re ashamed of it?” Elkanah continues.

     “Yes,” Hannah says.

     “Why should you be ashamed Hannah? There’s nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to even be worried about or anything. You asked something of G-d, and he granted your wish, obviously it just means thhat you did something right,” Elkanah says to Hannah.

     “I don’t know. I think I’m just jealous that Penninah can just have kids, but I have to do so much as ask G-d for one! I am so pathetic,” Hannah says and gets tears in her eyes.

     “I swear Hannah, this jealousy thing is doing you no good. There is no reason to be jealous of her. You have one amazing child, while Penninah has 10 to look after. I certainly don’t envy her,” Elkanah.

     “Yeah, but the one kid I did have can’t even live with me. He has to spend all of his days with Eli and his sons in the temple, prostrating himself before G-d until he dies. But, the fact that I was able to bare a child as great as Samuel is a blessing. I guess I should be more greatful than I am,” Hannah.

     “There you go, now keep in that state of mind, then you should be fine. Just don’t worry so much about what people like Penninah think of you. Because, in my opinion, their opinions don’t matter,” Elkanah.

     “Thank you Elkanah. You think it would be okay to visit him?” Hannah.

     “Maybe not just yet. You did promise him to G-d, and because of that you have to let him go. You can visit him, but you aren’t his home now, it’s in the temple with Eli and his misbehaving sons. He needs to get used to his surroundings, and once he knows his way around it will probably be alright to go see him. Okay sweetie?” Elkanah.

     “Okay okay, you’re probably right. Can we go relax somewhere else? I feel like Penninah is evesdropping on us as we’re speaking,” Hannah says. They then both walk out of the room and to their bedroom. They relax on the bed, then fall asleep. When they wake up it’s morning.

     When Samuel turned one year old Hannah finally decided to go to visit him, thinking he has had enough time to get used to his surroundings, and being inside the temple. When Hannah goes to visit, she sees Eli keeping careful watch over him, which she is relieved to see. There was another reason that she had come to the temple that day, and it had to do with Eli’s sons. she was not pleased with their actions, and wanted to take it up personally with their father Eli. When Eli finally notices Hannah’s presence he is happy to see her.

     “Hannah, how are you my dear? I haven’t seen you in so long, where have you been?” Eli says, looking a bit puzzled but happy at the same time.

     “Well, my husband said that I shouldn’t come here to visit Samuel until he has gotten acustomed to his surroundings. I thought that his first birthday would have been long enough so here I am,” Hannah replies.

     “Well it is good to see you dear.” Eli says and smiles at her. “You seem distressed Hannah, is there anything else that you came here to talk to me about?”

     “Actually, yes Eli. I don’t mean to be intruding, but Samuel is my son, and I only want to do what’s best for him.” As Hannah is speaking Eli seems to look more confused than he was. “You see, I have heard some rumors going around town about your two sons, and they aren’t very good ones.”

     “Why, whatever can it be?” Eli looks lost at this point, although Hannah doesn’t understand why.

     “It seems your sons have not been doing good deeds inside the temple. I heard from my friend Moshe that your sons, while offering a sacrifice to G-d, have been taking some of the food for themselves,” Hannah says, sounding quite serious.

     “Well, I couldn’t imagine why they would be doing that. You know that when you give a sacrifice, such as food, you stick the meat into the cooking pot, and whatever stays on the fork when you lift it out the priests are allowed to eat. I see to be a rather unfair judgement on your part, seeing that you have never seen my sons give a scarifice. Furthermore, I don’t think my sons know a man named Moshe,” Eli says.

     “Well Eli, Moshe isn’t the only person I have heard it from. By the way, I have witnessed them doing this while giving a sacrifice Eli. I came by the temple a few months back, thinking that I can go visit Samuel, but when I entered the temple to find him, I decided to wait until later. While leaving I passed by an enclosed area, and your sons Hophni and Phinehas were standing together. I then realized that that is the place where you usually make sacrifices. I saw them put the meat in the pot, then just take whatever they wanted and ate it, the whole nine yards. Whether or not you want to believe me is another story, but I don’t want my son hanging around those kinds of people. It’s disrepectful to G-d,” Hannah finally finishes speaking. The silence doesn’t last long, though.

     “Well Hannah, you do remember that you promised your son to G-d, which means he is and will always be under my care. You may not like how things turned out, but it is how it is. And what my sons do is my business, and I plan on taking care of it,” Eli.

     “Thank you Eli,” Hannah.

     “Now, please just go to visit Samuel and afterwards head home. He needs to focus on his own work,” Hannah leaves right after Eli finishes speaking. Eli returns to his seat and watches Hannah cradle Samuel is her arms. He feels sorry for Hannah, yes, but Samuel is in his keeping, and that’s how it is.

     When Hannah finishes her visit with her son, she returns home. Elkanah is waiting for her in their bedroom when she arrives back. He knew why Hannah went to see Eli and Samuel, and wanted to know how everything went down. He was nervous about how Eli would react to Hannah’s accusations. Hannah seats herself beside her husband, and at first they sit in silence. They then begin to speak.

     “How did it go?” Elkanah asks her.

     “Alright, I guess. I told him what I saw, and why I don’t think Samuel should be around his sons, but he didn’t seem to believe me,” Hannah says.

     “Well, that has to do with the fact that Hophni and Phinehas are his sons. Also, he’s tied to the temple and serving the Lord indefinitely, there’s not much we can do now,” Ellkanah says.

     “Does Penninah know any of this?” Hannah asks.

     “Well, she did come into my room and ask me about it while you were gone, and I decided to tell her. Now, before you start yelling, she deserved to know, and it was unfair that you were keeping it from her,” Elkanah says. Hannah stays silent, knowing he was right.

     “Well, at least it won’t be too awkward when I’m alone in a room with her.” Hannah says. “What did she say when you told her?”

     “Nothing that would upset you. She said she knew of your situation, and she said she probably would have done the same thing. She even said that you’re better off then she is,” Elkanah says.

     “What did she mean by that?” Hannah.

     “She meant that she has 10 kids, and you have 1 amazing child. I’ve told you before that she’s jealous of you, yet you still don’t seem to believe me,” Elkanah.

     “Okay, I’ve been to hard on her, I think we all have realized that. Maybe I should try talking to her sometime,” Hannah.

     “Sounds like a plan. She is downstairs playing with her kids, so you can go now,” Elkanah.

     “I need to rest first. Fighting over my son with an elderly man tired me out,” Hannah lays down on the bed, then Elkanah leaves and sits downstairs with Penninah.

     Later in the evening, when Hannah had woken from her nap, she goes to the living room, hoping to find Elkanah there. While she doesn’t find Elkanah, she does see someone else.

     “Hello Penninah,” Hannah says.

     “Hello to you Hannah. You wanted to talk to me?” Penninah says.

     “Yes, actually I do. Listen, I know that for a long time you and I haven’t gotten along, and that is mostly my fault. I do want to apologize for being so cruel to you, and so neglectful to your children,” Hannah wants to continue but Penninah interrupts her.

     “Hannah, you don’t need to apologize, it’s me who should be saying sorry. I was the one who was always teasing you about not being able to have a child, so your attitude towards me is because of me, not you. But, since you did mention it, I would like it if you looked after my kids once in a while, as long as you weren’t busy,” Penninah.

     “I would be happy to,” Hannah and Penninah smile at each other, and hug. They then get up to go sit with Penninah’s children. They play and play until it’s their bedtime, and Hannah helps tuck them into bed.

Why Does Hannah Starve Herself in Chapter 1 of the Book of Samuel?

By Jessica

Jessica_drawing

The question I posed was: why did Hannah starve herself in chapter 1 of the Book of Samuel? My thesis is that she wanted to repent for her sins. One of the sins she could have committed was that she was jealous of Penninah for having ten sons and not being grateful for what she had: a loving husband.

In the picture above Hanna is beating her hand over her heart. Beating your hand over your heart is one way to symbolically show that you are repenting for your sins. We do this on Yom Kippur because it is a day of forgiveness. This is a form of praying and later on in Samuel she prays again for child. Also, before she can ask God for a child, she needed to fix her mistakes.

Why Did Hannah Not Eat?

By Sophie

sophie_photos

The question I asked is, “Why did Hannah not eat in chapter one?” My thesis is that Hannah did not eat to make God feel bad, hoping that it would make God give her a child.

I took all of the photographs above, and each represents a part of my answer.

  • The women praying is Hannah praying for a child. 
  • The clouds are a representation of God.
  • The baby’s hands and feet represent what Hannah desires.
  • Images of Israel show where this takes place and God’s presence.
  • The women walking into the sun show Hannah is in God’s light/presence.
  • The olives show that Hannah would not eat.
  • The notes in the wall show Hannah takes time for God to understand that she wants a child.

Why Did Hannah Pray Silently?

By Gabi

The first chapter in the book of Samuel is about a woman named Hannah who is married to a man named Elkanah who also has another wife, Peninnah.  In it, Hannah desperately wants a child and prays for one often.  But she is unable to have any and, because of this, is tormented a lot by Peninnah who has many children.  Elkanah loves Hannah more than Peninnah, though, and about halfway through the chapter, when Hannah is crying and not eating because she is so upset that she can’t have children, he tries to comfort her and asks her if he isn’t better or more important to her than children.  Hannah then acted as if she was feeling better, and she ate.  Then the whole family went to the Temple where they make sacrifices and pray, and Hannah prayed for a child.  She prayed silently, though, and since at the time of this story no had ever prayed silently the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk and told her to stop drinking and leave.  She replied that she wasn’t drunk and was praying silently.  He understood and told her that he would ask Gd to hear her prayer.  At the end of the chapter Hannah’s prayer was heard and she had a son, Samuel.  My question is: Why did Hannah pray silently?  She prayed silently for two reasons: one is that it was so important to her that she thought if she prayed differently Gd would answer her prayer, and the second is that she didn’t want to offend Elkanah.

Hannah prayed silently because having a child was so important to her that she felt like she had to pray in a more personal way.  My support for this is Samuel 1:13 and 1:16.  In 1:13 the text says that Hannah was “speaking in her heart”, which shows how special the prayer was to her.  In Samuel 1:16 Hannah says that because of how important her prayer was, and how worried she was, she had to pray silently.  Again, this shows how because of how much Hannah wanted Gd to answer her prayer she felt that it had to be said silently.

The second reason why Hannah prayed silently is that she didn’t want to hurt or offend Elkanah.  After Hannah stopped eating and drinking because of how sad she was that she didn’t have children Elkanah asks her, in Samuel 1:8, why she is so sad, and isn’t he “better to her than ten sons?”  I interpreted what Elkanah said as him trying to cheer her up.  This along with Samuel 1:5, which is about how Elkanah loved Hannah more than his other wife, Peninnah, shows that Hannah must have known Elkanah loved her a lot and wanted her to feel better even though she didn’t have a child.  So she didn’t want to hurt him by having him know that she was still praying for a child and that he hadn’t made her feel better.

Hannah prayed silently for those two reasons:  She thought her request was so important and special that she wanted to pray in a more personal way, and she didn’t want to hurt Elkanah.  My evidence from the text really supports this because I have two verses from Samuel for each of my answers.  The section in Samuel that is about Hannah praying silently is important because it has such important lessons in it.  One lesson is when Eli thought Hannah was drunk because her lips were moving but she wasn’t praying aloud.  This teaches you that appearances can be deceiving and not to judge a book by its cover.

Why Did Hannah Pray Verbally?

By Abigail

Abi_painting

The question I considered from the Book of Samuel, chapter 1, is: why did Hannah pray out of her mouth instead of sacrificing? I think that she was too weak and needed to talk to God. In the text it says she poured out her soul to God, and I interpreted that as meaning that she had to tell God what was happening to her, why she was starving herself, and why she was sad. She could not just pray to him/her, she had to talk to him/her.

Another reason is that Hannah was really weak. She had been starving herself, so she did not have a lot of energy. I do not think she could make a sacrifice, and she had to communicate with God.
In my painting I am showing how I interpreted the question, “Why did Hannah start praying to God with her mouth instead of sacrificing?” In the top left-hand corner I painted some lips to show all of the viewers how Hannah was praying. I also show Hannah reaching up towards God to show that Hannah had to rely on God, and she had to get to him somehow. I also show how weak Hannah was by showing some bones through her dress.

Why Does Hannah Finally Decide to Eat?

By Noah

In the first chapter of the Book of Samuel, we are told that Elkanah has two wives, Hannah and Penninah. Penninah has ten children with Elkanah, while Hannah is barren. Therefore, she is not able to have a child and she believes that a woman has no worth if she is not able to bear a child. Thinking this, she starves herself in order to either commit suicide, or protest to God to “open her womb,” as it says in Samuel 1:11-13. There are mixed commentaries for her motives, and we are not really sure what the reason is. Eventually Hannah decides to eat. Again, we are not sure why, but there are multiple views. She could have come to her senses, and realized that children do not prove a woman’s worth, Elkanah could have persuaded her to eat, or she could have just simply been starving. However, I think that Elkanah convinced Hannah to eat. There are two ways he could have possibly convinced her.

In Samuel 1:8 Elkanah asks Hannah, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?” He asks this while Hannah is fasting. The clues after that clearly show that Hannah was convince to eat by this question, because soon after, Hannah decides to eat again. Elkanah causes Hannah to realize that there is more to life than just having children. There are people like Elkanah who love her, and he is a huge reason to live because he could not live without her.

Also, Hannah realizes that just because she cannot have children, it does not make her inferior to other women. She wants Elkanah to love and appreciate her more than Penninah. Hannah is really jealous of Penninah and aspires to do everything the same as her to impress Elkanah. This is why Elkanah pitied her and convinced her to eat so she would not starve.

Overall, the main reason Hannah finally ate is because she was easily persuaded by Elkanah. She notices that Elkanah really loves and appreciates her, just as much, or more than Penninah. It actually says “And when it was the day, and Elkanah slaughtered (peace offerings), and he would give to Penninah his wife and to all her ten sons and daughters portions. And to Hannah he would give one choice portion, for he loved Hannah, and the Lord had shut up her womb” (Samuel 1:4-5). This clearly proves that Elkanah loves Hannah more than Penninah even though Hannah was barren. If she killed or starved herself, Elkanah would be crushed and he would miss the old Hannah. Elkanah does an excellent job of making sure that Hannah knows that she has worth and that he loves her just as much, or even greater than Penninah.

On Hannah Being Broken

sarahdonefork

sarahb-and-w-pot

 

Above are photographs of things which are broken or have become useless. I believe that when Hannah refused to eat in chapter 1 of the Book of Samuel, she was trying to commit suicide after falling into a depression over not having children. This makes sense because in her time period a woman’s self-worth came from giving her husband children.

Love Through Pity

By Kate

In the Book of Samuel, the story of Elkanah, Peninah and Hannah many different things occur.   During this time period it was acceptable to have more than one wife.  Peninah, one of Elkanah’s wives, had 10 children.  Hannah, Elkanah’s other wife, had none.  From the text we see how much Elkanah truly loves Hannah although she doesn’t have any children.  What I want to focus in on is the relationship between Elkanah and Hannah, and the reason why he pities her and how he shows his love for her through pity.

One of the most obvious reasons he pitied her is the fact that Hannah couldn’t conceive and Peninah could.  With the situation of Elkanah having two wives, there had to be some underlying competition between the two of them; who could cook better, clean, care for Elkanah more.  It was easy for Hannah to become jealous of Peninah, she could give Elkanah something that Hannah couldn’t: the ability to have children.  Having children back then was something that was extremely important, it meant that the family name would live on for generations to come.  So it was understandable for Hannah to be upset or jealous of Peninah.

The inability for Hannah to conceive caused her to take things to the extreme.  She didn’t eat she didn’t drink.  She not only felt pressure to have children but she also wanted to provide a child for not only Elkanah but for herself as well.  She tried everything she could but when nothing worked Elkanah couldn’t help but pity her even more.    

In the story we saw how much Elkanah loved Hannah.  Although she was barren, he still loved her just as much if not more than he did Peninah.  He tried convincing her that he is better to her than 10 sons and that his love for her meant more than children.  We are told that Elkanah always brought Hannah the best portions from the sacrifice, showing his affection for her.  Some may see this as more evidence of his pity for her; his way of trying to make up for Hannah being barren.  Elkanah would only pity Hannah if he loved and cared for, her which he does.  

We can conclude from the text that there are many different reasons Elkanah pities Hannah.  Her inability to conceive, her jealousy of Peninah, risking her life.  But we can also conclude that it’s out of love and that although Hannah couldn’t give Elkanah something Peninah could, Elkanah loved Hannah unconditionally.  

On Hannah’s Childlessness

By Ilana

In chapter 1 of Samuel, we learn that Elkanah has two wives, Hannah and Penninah. Hannah is unable to have kids while Penninah has many. Hannah is constantly upset and feels worthless. She will do anything to get a child and always asks God for one. She needs a child to feel self worth, otherwise she feels worthless. God hears her, but won’t he give her a child when she first asks! Why? He won’t give her a child at first because of her behavior and actions, because he might’ve just not wanted to give her one, or to teach her a lesson.

One of the reasons God didn’t give her a child is because she was not eating. In Samuel 1:7 it says, “…she wept and would not eat.” This is as an attempt at suicide. Hannah feels that her life is worthless unless she has a baby. Perhaps God didn’t want her to have a baby because He couldn’t trust her with another life and she needed to work on hers first. This shows one of the actions that may have prevented her from receiving a child sooner.

Another reason God didn’t give her a child is because she was too desperate. Samuel 1:15 shows how she feels when she doesn’t have a baby. Hannah was just requesting to have a child, but maybe God wanted her to show Him that she was capable of having a child. God may have thought she wasn’t responsible enough to have a child. This is another reason that Hannah may have not gotten a child.

Another reason that God may have not given her a child was because he might have just not wanted to. I noticed that only after Hannah made the vow did He give her a child. The vow stated that she would give Him the child once he was of age. God may have only given her a child so He could have him later. God could have also wanted to teach her a lesson: just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you have to have a child. Today, not all women feel the need to have children. This lesson took a while to develop throughout time.

God didn’t give her a child sooner because of her behavior and actions, because he might’ve just not wanted to give her a child, or to teach her a lesson. Throughout the chapter Hannah shows some irresponsible traits that God may have taken into consideration while determining whether or not to have a child. From this chapter we learn to not be too desperate, and if you truly want something, you must show that you deserve it because actions speak louder than words.

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