Summary: A good sermon about Hannah’s burden concerning her inability to have children
Nana, Nana, Nana
The Bible says there was a certain man of Mount Ephraim whose man was Elkanah (El-kaw-nah).
Elkanah was unfortunate enough to have two wives, one named Hannah, and the other named Peninnah (Pen-in-nah),
It was not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife in those days, especially if his first wife could not bear children. It was not lawful, but was permitted under these circumstances.
Well, the story goes that Hannah could not have children. And it is very probable that El-kaw-nah took Pen-in-nah to be his second wife so he could have children born unto him.
But it appears that El-kaw-nah had a special love toward Hannah.
As a matter of fact, verse five says El-kaw-nah loved Hannah, but nothing is said about any love toward Pen-in-nah.
I think there is positive proof in verse 5 that he loved Hannah much more than Pen-in-nah.
Let’s read verses 3, 4, and 5.
3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
El-kaw-nah would go as required by the law to make sacrifices unto God.
Although El-kaw-nah was a Levite, He was not allowed to make his own sacrifice, the reference is made here that the priest were there, to make his sacrifice for him.
Verse 4. He gave-portions] The sacrifices which were made were probably peace-offerings, of which the blood was poured out at the foot of the altar; the fat was burnt on the fire;
the breast and right shoulder was the portion of the priest, and the rest belonged to him who made the offering; on it he and his family feasted, each receiving his portion.
Now, verse 4 says he gave Pen-in-nah and her children their portions, but verse 5 says he gave Hannah a worthy portion!
Or, he gave her a bigger portion, because he loved her!
So needless to say, this made Pen-in-nah jealous.
Hey, she was able to bear El-kaw-nah children, yet he loved Hannah more than her.
So Pen-in-nah’s jealousy began to rage within her.
She began to provoke Hannah every chance she got.
She became Hannah’s thorn in her side.
Everywhere Hannah would go, Ole Pen-in-nah would show up with her snide remarks.
I would think she would catch Hannah off by herself and she would walk up to her and say, “Nana, Nana, Nana, you can’t have children………But I can!”
“Nana, Nana, Nana, you’re not a real woman, but I am, Nana, Nana, Nana!”
“You couldn’t give El-kaw-nah any children, so he took me and look at all these kids I have given him, Nana, Nana, Nana!”
Notice verse 7,
And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
This stuff went on for years! Year by year El-kaw-nah would take his family on the trip to the temple to make their sacrifices, and Pen-in-naw would drag those kids with her for everybody to see, especially Hannah!
This would bring poor ole Hannah to tears. On this trip to Shiloh El-kaw-nah noticed that Hannah was weeping, and knowing what she was weeping about, says,
Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
Or, don’t worry about not having children, am I not better to you than even ten sons would be to you?
But Hannah knew that children were a heritage from the Lord, and she knew that to have children was a blessing from God, and she was being robbed of that blessing!
Not only did she want children as a blessing but she wanted to be a blessing to her husband by giving him children, and not being able to bear children was grievous to her.
So now we find poor little Hannah in the temple weeping as if her heart was broken in pieces.
She was so brokenhearted that when she would try to pray, her lips would move but no sound would come out!
Eli the priest was sitting on a seat next to a post in the temple and saw her weeping, with her mouth moving, but hearing no sound, he thought she had too much to drink.
15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.