"When I begin, I will also make an end" I Sam
In the account of Hannah and her adversary, the name "Peninnah"
means "pearl." A pearl results when a grain of sand
causes agitation within a mollusk. The pearl is formed as
a result of the discomfort caused by this grain of sand.
Hannah was barren, which was a reproach in that day. Peninnah
had children and each year as they went to the temple to offer
their sacrifice, she would provoke Hannah, causing her to
It appeared that Peninnah was favored due to her children.
But Hannah, although barren, was greatly beloved. As she wept,
her husband would express his love for her, but human comfort
could not satisfy the cry that was within her heart.
In order for the prophetic voice that the Lord desired to
be birthed, it was necessary that there be within Hannah a
state of brokenness. Although she only saw her present personal
situation, there was a greater need that pertained to the
Lord's people and purposes.
Eli, the High Priest, knew that his heritage would be displaced
because the Lord had sent a prophet to pronounce judgment
upon his household. Yet when Hannah brought Samuel into the
temple, Eli received and nurtured him. If his heart had been
hardened, as was Saul's, he would have risen up, as Saul had
when he tried to kill David. But Eli did not do this, rather
he valued the things of God and held in high regard the word
of the Lord.
But the vision of Eli had grown dim. There was no present
"word" from the Lord and he knew that his sons were
doing evil. Although Eli loved the Lord, he had become fat,
that is, he had allowed compromise in his life and ministry.
Thus, there was a specific need at the time in which Hannah
lived. She may have been content to remain barren were it
not for an adversary in her life who provoked her, causing
her to cry out to the Lord. In this state of brokenness she
brought forth a manchild who became the prophetic voice that
was necessary to meet the need of that time.
This child was given, not only to lift the reproach from
her, but for a higher purpose. He was to be fully consecrated
and given to the Lord. The pressure upon Hannah brought the
brokenness of spirit within her being, so she would cry out
to the Lord and make this necessary commitment.
In our barrenness, those who have a deep cry within cannot
be satisfied with any consolation, such as Hannah's husband
offered. There are always those who do not understand the
depth of the cry within us. When this cry begins to surface,
there are those who will pat us on the back and say, "cheer
But this cry is not to be satisfied with the comfort of another.
As in that day, there is a need today for those who, as Hannah,
will never become satisfied with the gifts and provisions
which are given to make them comfortable.
The Word tells us that Hannah continued in prayer before
the Lord until the Lord spoke. Eli saw her lips moving but
did not understand why. There had come within Hannah the willingness
to fully consecrate to the Lord the manchild she desperately
desired. This released the Lord to speak a word through Eli,
that a child would be given to her. Hannah wept no more and
soon, Samuel was conceived.
Now, her tears became a song,
"My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, my horn is exalted
in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over my enemies;
because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none
holy as the Lord, for there is none beside Thee;
neither is there any rock like our God" I Sam 2:1-2.
I had considered this song to be Hannah rejoicing over her
adversary because now she had a child and was no longer barren.
But this song of rejoicing goes much deeper than that. It
did not come forth after the birth of Samuel, but only after
he had been weaned and fully consecrated to the Lord.
The exultation in Hannah's heart was not over this woman
who had provoked her, nor mere triumph because her state of
barrenness had been broken, but she triumphed in being able
to deliver this child to the Lord, as she had petitioned.
Hannah had not only birthed Samuel, but had fulfilled her
vow before the Lord. This was a great victory within her own
life. She had a son in the Temple. Others did not know, but
she knew that the Lord had given this child to her and she
had fulfilled her vow by giving him back to the Lord.
The Lord is looking for "Hannahs" in this day and
hour. There is coming forth the Kingdom rule of God in and
through a people who are to rule with a rod of iron (Rev 2:26-27).
But this prophetic voice must first be birthed in a state
of submission and brokenness. It comes from a cry deep within
a heart that can be satisfied with nothing less than a present
word from the Lord.
The cry that results from this state of brokenness will yield
fully to the Lord, so that which is given will be used solely
for the purposes of the Lord. The fact that none of the words
of Samuel fell to the ground speaks of an authority that had
been birthed within him.
The name "Peninnah" means "pearl." This
tells us that Hannah's trouble had been pre-arranged by the
Lord to be her servant, the very thing necessary to bring
forth the purpose of God in her life. The adversary that troubled
Hannah was actually serving her. The agitation caused by Peninnah
produced the pearl that became Samuel, the Prophet.
If this woman had not provoked her, Hannah might have been
content in her relationship with her husband and the gifts
he gave her. She needed this pressure in order to come into
that which the Lord desired for her.
It is very important during our times of trouble that we
are careful in how we respond, or react. When we are under
pressure, we usually try to rearrange our circumstances, or
make adjustments so we will feel a little better. But the
Lord is seeking to do something that is closer to us than
we may realize.
As we are willing to break before the Lord and change, He
will be able to bring forth that which He intends.