Do not let the enemy Peninnah You!
1 Samuel 1:1-6 (NIV) Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. 4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.
Peninnah was fruitful yet she would provoke Hannah and make her miserable. Every year as they went to the Tabernacle in Shiloh, Peninnah would remind Hannah of her barrenness. BUT regardless of Hannah’s inability to conceive Elkanah loved her and gave her a double portion (which in the custom of their day a double-portion was given to distinguished guests).
It is amazing that when you are told you can’t have children, how many people around you fall pregnant! The TV, your local church, shopping mall, everywhere you go you see pregnant women, and babies. This can become a real thorn in the flesh to torment you. Not the people themselves but the enemy throws evil suggestions or we can become our own worst enemies when we only focus on the natural circumstances. So I encourage you to not let anything or anyone to become like a Peninnah to you!
(Precious Stone or Stumbling stone?)
Peninnah’s name means pearl or Precious stone.
Jesus was also called a precious stone or a cornerstone that the builders rejected. The Jews and the teachers of the law rejected Him.
1 Pet 2:4-9 (NIV) As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Hannah’s barrenness did not make her husband despise or reject her because He loved her and gave her a double portion. This antagonised Peninnah! Hannah (whose name means Grace) was given a double portion. She was loved and favoured.
Peninnah already had children (her inheritance) but she despised grace (Hannah). She was a rival to grace! The precious stone (Peninnah) was a stumbling stone to God’s grace and favour (Hannah)!
The Law is dependant on man’s self effort, and merit. This is works based righteousness because it hinges on your performance; on your ability to keep the law. But Grace is a free provision based only on Jesus performance; on His ability and on what He has freely purchased for you!
Jesus came to reveal that righteousness ONLY comes by faith, (by believing in Jesus finished work) and not by good works, or on your performance or ability to keep the law.
To those under the law Jesus (the precious stone) became a stumbling stone and the law keepers could not receive God’s free gift of righteousness. In fact they opposed God’s Grace.
Tyndale Bible Dictionary says: PENINNAH was one of Elkanah’s two wives, the other and more favored being Hannah (see 1 Sm 1:2–6). Peninnah’s fortune in bearing children was the source of much domestic friction for the childless Hannah, especially at the time of the annual sacrifice at Shiloh. Rabbinic tradition explains Peninnah’s taunts as attempts to provoke Hannah into pregnancy, but the biblical record portrays the women as rivals.
Both Peninnah (precious stone) and Hannah (grace) represent God’s goodness, the Old and New Covenants (law and grace)! Peninnah was supposed to provoke Hannah in a good way, to look to God’s grace BUT instead she ended up being her rival! This happened to the Jews. The Law was only a tutor to lead them (provoke them) into grace (free provision of righteousness by faith not by works) BUT instead Jesus (Grace) became a stumbling stone.
Note Abraham also had 2 wives; Sarah and Hagar. One represented the law and the other grace (the slave, or bond woman and the free woman). They also both represent the 2 Covenants; one a slave, bound by works under the Old Covenant of law and the other a free woman where provision is freely given by God’s grace.
Precious Stone Scriptures
Isaiah 28:16-17 (NKJV) Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “ Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. 17 Also I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place.
1 Cor 3:11-13 (Amp) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 12But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.
Stumbling Stone Scriptures
Isaiah 8:13-14 (Amp) The Lord of hosts–regard Him as holy and honor His holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety], and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him]. 14And He shall be a sanctuary [a sacred and indestructible asylum to those who reverently fear and trust in Him]; but He shall be a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Rom 9:30-33 (Amp) … That Gentiles who did not follow after righteousness [who did not seek salvation by right relationship to God] have attained it by faith [a righteousness imputed by God, based on and produced by faith], 31Whereas Israel, though ever in pursuit of a law [for the securing] of righteousness (right standing with God), actually did not succeed in fulfilling the Law. 32For what reason? Because [they pursued it] not through faith, relying [instead] on the merit of their works [they did not depend on faith but on what they could do]. They have stumbled over the Stumbling Stone.33As it is written, Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall; but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.