Poole on 1 Samuel 1:6: Polygamy's Evil Fruit

Verse 6:[1] And her adversary also (Job 24:21) provoked her (Heb. angered her[2]) sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.


[She was afflicting and vexing exceedingly, וְכִֽעֲסַ֤תָּה צָֽרָתָהּ֙ גַּם־כַּ֔עַס] And she was provoking her, even with provocation (Junius, Piscator). That גַּם/even carries emphasis; that is to say, she did not simply provoke her; but she did this by provoking and exasperating her (Drusius). She was angering her, even with anger (Pagnine, Montanus), or, unto anger (Syriac); by angering she angered her; or, she agitated her with her provocation (Munster). But she was provoking her continually to anger (Vatablus). The כַּעַס/vexation [for thus it is to be read, not פּעם/beat/ blow/occasion, as it is thrice erroneously written in this place in the Critics[3]] either is infinitive, כַּעַס in the place of כָּעַס, to be vexed, like פַּקֵד,[4] and a Patach (ַ) is in the place of the Tzere (ֵ) on account of the guttural; and then it is to be translated, by angering she angered; or rather it is a noun (as it is generally believed) in the place of the infinitive; like לְיִרְאָה, for fear, or to fear,[5] and לְמִשְׂרָה, for dominion, or to exercise dominion.[6] This approves itself to me with great force (Drusius).



[Her opponent (thus the Syriac, Munster, Junius and Tremellius); her rival (Arabic), צָרָתָהּ[7]] Her oppressor (Montanus); one pressing, etc. (Piscator); her inciter (Jonathan); the one harassing her (Tigurinus); her tormentor (Munster); her enemy (Pagnine, Hebrews in Vatablus, similarly Munster); ἀντίζηλος/rival (Septuagint). When there are two wives for one husband, they are called צָרוֹת, because they are hostile to one another (Hebrews in Drusius and in Vatablus). They are called rivals, Leviticus 18:18.[8] Because of the mutual jealousy between them (Malvenda out of Junius). Rarely does a house happen to be tranquil to those that have multiple wives. And so δίδυμα λέκτρα, a double marriage bed, Euripides[9] in Andromache calls ἔριν οἴκῶν, δυσμενεῖς τὲ λύπας (the cause of contention, and of the most grievous sorrow, in houses) (Grotius). Neither sovereign powers nor wedding torches know how to bear an associate: Seneca’s[10] Agamemnon 2:2 (Gataker[11]).


Her adversary, or, her troubler, or vexer, or enemy; for so her envy or jealousy made her, though so nearly related. Compare Genesis 29:30; Leviticus 18:18.



[Insomuch that she upbraided her, בַּעֲב֖וּר הַרְּעִמָ֑הּ] So that she might cause her to fret (Montanus); so that she might provoke her (Munster, Junius); so that she might afflict her with sorrow (Vatablus, similarly Rabbi Salomon in Drusius); so that she might consume herself (Rabbi Salomon in Drusius); so that she might be provoked. Thus הִרְעִים, to cause to thunder, is a ἀλλοπαθὲς/non-reflexive verb, of which sort there are many in that conjugation.[12] The בַּעֲבוּר prefixed to verbs signifies ἵνα, so that (Drusius). So that she might provoke her to jealousy (Jonathan). As far as she might be afflicted with weariness (Syriac). Willing by this to afflict her (Arabic). Because she provoked her to anger (Pagnine). Because she, namely, Peninnah, was thundering (Piscator, thus Mendoza, Malvenda), that is, was impetuously reproaching. A hyperbolic metaphor. Verbatim: because of to thunder her[13] (Piscator). She was beating her, and was astonishing her with thunder, as it were. Thus a Trajedian, For blessedness thunders at me in my wickedness.[14] The ר in הַרְּעִמָ֑הּ has a Dagesh (ּ) contrary to custom, perhaps to indicate the greatness of the annoyance and weariness, which Peninnah was causing in Hannah (Malvenda). I translate it, so that she might cause her to murmur, or to complain, because God had shut up her womb. Thus among the Syrians רועמא is μομφή/quarrel, Colossians 3:13.[15] And in the place of the Hebrew נָלוֹן, to murmur, the Chaldean everywhere has אִתְרְעַם, to murmur (Dieu[16]). For רָעַם signifies to murmur and to emit a noise, not only such as belongs to thundering clouds, but also such as belongs to the sea stirred by a tempest, Psalm 96:11[17] (Dieu, Drusius).


To make her fret, against her husband, or against God, or within herself.

[1] Hebrew: וְכִֽעֲסַ֤תָּה צָֽרָתָהּ֙ גַּם־כַּ֔עַס בַּעֲב֖וּר הַרְּעִמָ֑הּ כִּֽי־סָגַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה בְּעַ֥ד רַחְמָֽהּ׃


[2] Hebrew: וְכִעֲסַתָּה.


[3] A reference to the Critici Sacri.


[4] A Piel infinitive.


[5] יָרֵא signifies to fear; יִרְאָה, fear.


[6] שָׂרַר signifies to rule; משְׂרָה, dominion. The Dative and the Infinitive are both able to communicate purpose.


[7] צָרַר signifies to show hostility toward, or to vex.


[8] Leviticus 18:18: “Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex (לִצְרֹר) her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.”


[9] Euripides (c. 480-406) was a Greek playwright, one of the great tragedians.


[10] Lucius Annæus Seneca, or Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-65 AD), was a Roman philosopher and dramatist.


[11] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was an English churchman, theologian, and critic, of great reputation in his own day. On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. His abilities as a critic are on display in his commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentation, found in the English Annotations.


[12] That is, the Hiphil.


[13] A woodenly literalistic rendering.


[14] Seneca the Younger in Medea.


[15] Colossians 3:13: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel (μομφήν; am[wr, in the Syriac) against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”


[16] Louis de Dieu (1590-1642) was a Dutch Reformed minister, linguist, and orientalist. He brought his considerable learning to bear upon the interpretation of the Scripture.


[17] Psalm 96:11: “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar (יִרְעַם), and the fulness thereof.”

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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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