Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. (1 Samuel 1:6-7)
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “provoke” is to push something to happen or to annoy.
Peninnah insulted, ridiculed, and harassed Hannah because of her inability to conceive a child. She was looking for a fight, but little did she know Hannah would take her fight to the Lord.
What can we learn about Peninnah? She is mentioned only for a brief time (actually, four verses), but the impression we get is a bitter, spiteful, and cruel person. Peninnah knew she was brought into the home as the second wife-the other woman with the sole purpose of conceiving children. She felt threatened by Elkanah’s affection toward Hannah and taunted her at every opportunity.
Peninnah was hurt, and what do hurt people do? They hurt people.
She knew she would always be second best and she let her emotions consume her. Jealousy, anger, resentment, and self-pity ran through her veins. Her actions were not going to make Elkanah love her, but she hounded Hannah anyway. Why? Why do you suppose she did this? Why do we do, say, or think the things we do? Could it be to make ourselves feel better and our need to make others feel bad? Have you found yourself in the same situation?
The Bible says in John 10:10:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…
We know the “thief” to be Satan himself, and he uses obstacles, tribulations, and trials to distract us from God. Has something happened in your life that has you asking, Is God even real? Is it family problems? A job? Or a broken relationship? What has caused you to “get up and pray?”
What is your Peninnah? Hannah’s Peninnah was another woman. She came in the form of bitterness, insecurity, and annoyance. My Peninnah is believing the lies that Satan whispers in my ears that spread to doubt and fear. His lies cause me to doubt what I know to be true about my Heavenly Father. And that leads to fear, and I begin to second-guess myself. I let others make decisions for me. That way the blame is taken off me if the situation goes bad.
How do you overcome your Peninnah? Instead of accepting the things that “Peninnah” throws at us, we need to focus on putting Jesus first and foremost in our life.
We need to learn how to get up and pray!
Tonya Masoner is a part-time legal assistant and full-time school custodian. She enjoys thrift shopping, pizza Sundays, and binge watching Netflix. She loves telling people-“God’s got a sense of humor… I don’t even drink coffee.” Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.