Peninnah (Also known as Penina) is a Biblical person, mentioned in 1 Samuel 1:2. She is one of the two wives of Elkanah (the other being Hannah, who is also called Chana). Peninnah means pearl. Its Hebrew root word perhaps is contr, meaning precious stone.

"Peninnah" bore children to Elkanah, but she brought grief and disharmony to the household by her insolent mocking of barren Hannah. “And because the LORD had closed her 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.” I Samuel 1:5,6.

Many commentators explain that Peninnah's actions were in fact noble. They explain Peninnah "mocked" the barren Hannah in order to further drive Hannah to pray even harder to God to give her children.

Gifts from Elkanah could not compensate Hannah for her barrenness, but these gifts further incited the jealousy of Peninnah. Peninnah seemed to give no consideration to what the Word of God revealed - “the Lord who closed her [Hannah’s] womb” (I Samuel 1:5). When in answer to her desperate, weeping prayer Hannah’s womb was opened, she bore three sons and two daughters (I Samuel 2:21). The petty Peninnah faded from Scripture. Her name presented her as a treasure, a pearl, but it was in name only.

See also

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