1 Samuel 1:2: Elkanah's Polygamy

Verse 2:[1] 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.



[He had two wives] After the custom of that age. Peninnah appears to have been taken to wife, not out of lust, but for offspring; because Hannah was barren; just as Abraham took Hagar, etc.[2] (Lapide, Sanchez). It was bigamy, yet it is not reprehended, with God formerly overlooking such (Drusius).


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.

[1] Hebrew: וְלוֹ֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י נָשִׁ֔ים שֵׁ֤ם אַחַת֙ חַנָּ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית פְּנִנָּ֑ה וַיְהִ֤י לִפְנִנָּה֙ יְלָדִ֔ים וּלְחַנָּ֖ה אֵ֥ין יְלָדִֽים׃


[2] See Genesis 16; 21.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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