Old Testament

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The story of 1 Samuel has a very interesting beginning. It speaks about a man named Elkanah and his two wives Hannah and Penninah. Penninah had children but Hannah did not have any because the Lord had closed her womb. Now being their two wives, one is always favored more than the other and Elkanah favored Hannah even though she had not bore him any children. This is quite the opposite from the story of Abraham.

In the story of Abraham, when Sarah, his wife did not bore him any children, he went to her slavegirl for a child. Now Abraham loved his wife, but more than anything he wanted a son and Hagar the slavegirl gave him one. In my opinion, for this I would think that Abraham might favor Hagar slightly more at the moment because of his new son.

Although the stories are very opposite, I think that Abraham and Hannah both have something in common.

They both are not exactly happy with what they have. We hear of this everyday. No matter what we have in life we are always looking for just a little bit more. In Abraham's case, he wanted a son and would not stop at sleeping with the slavegirl to get one. In Hannah's case, she wanted a child as well but did not go to such drastic measures. Instead she prayed to the Lord but said she'd give him up to him.

Alter comments that it is the woman's duty to bore children. He said, "All the annunciation stories must be understood in light of the prevalent ancient Near Eastern view that a woman's one great avenue to fulfillment in life was through the bearing of sons." (Alter, p.4). In response to this, along with the fact that she is willing to just give her son up after she wanted one so bad leads me to believe that maybe Hannah doesn't want a son of her own to love. But like Alter says, just to fulfill her duty as a woman. Another reason may be because of all the tormenting she deals with. Does she maybe want a child to prove something to Penninah? This also reminds me of Abraham because after he gets a son of his own from Sarah, God tests him and asks him to sacrifice his child. If he wanted a child so much and went to such great measures to have them, why would he even think of sacrificing his child? Is it again because of the fulfillment of a son following your footsteps? All of the stories read so far have given some kind of lesson to me. It's like these stories are the start of what our society is made up of today. We all want things in life and we always do everything possible to get those things that we want. But half the time, we don't even think about what's really behind those things that we want. Does the yearning for what we want come from our heart? Or do we just think it's from our heart when really it's just to prove something to someone else or to ourselves even? We can all look at our own lives and probably fit or have fit into this situation and in most cases we probably weren't being true to ourselves.

Works Cited 1- Alter, Robert. The David Story. New York: W. W. Norton & Compan

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