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1M1WNot: Prophet Samuel: Son of a Blessed, Polygamous Home

The Prophet Samuel, also known as the last Judge of Israel was a mighty man of God. He led Israel for a number of years and anointed Saul and David, the first two kings of Israel. His birth was a miraculous one, a gift to his barren mother Hannah as an explicit result of her prayers to God. Surely, the so-called “defenders of marriage” might say, Samuel was blessed to have been born into a god-fearing, traditional home headed by One Man and One Woman, “as God intended from the beginning of time?”

Actually, no. 1 Samuel 1:1-5 describes his actual family arrangements:

There was a certain man from Rama-thaim, Elkanah by name, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless. This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were ministering as priests of the LORD. When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice, he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her, though the LORD had made her barren. Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her that the LORD had left her barren.

If the “defenders of marriage” position were true, than Hannah was living in sin. Why then did she find a blessing instead of condemnation at the Temple? Or at least a command to leave her husband and thus sin no more? Because the idea of Marriage has changed during Biblical times.

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