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"Hannah And Mary"
Parallel Lives of the Old and New Testaments
Part 11 of 12
Clarence E. Macartney
The mothers of the Bible constitute a glorious
company. This long roll commences with Eve, the mother
of all living, includes Sarah, Rebecca, Rizpah, who
watched day and night, keeping the birds and the
beasts away from the bodies of her sons who had been
hanged by David; the Shunammite woman, whose son
Elisha restored to life; Jochebed, the mother of
Moses; Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist; and
comes to a climax with Mary, the mother of our Lord.
Not the least in this goodly order of devout and pious
mothers is Hannah, the mother of Samuel.
Many of these mothers had to pass through the trial of
long waiting for a child. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and
Rebecca, the Shunammite woman, Zacharias and
Elisabeth, and Elkanah and Hannah were all, for a
time, without a child. So often does this occur in the
history of redemption, that whenever we read that a
certain man and woman had no child, we are prepared to
expect the opening of a great chapter in God's
goodness and grace.
It was so in the history of Israel, in the degenerate
days of Eli. Elkanah, living on Mt. Ephraim, had two
wives, Penninah and Hannah. Elkanah was evidently
prosperous, well-to-do, and his house abounded with
comforts. Yet his home was not a happy one, for the
wife whom he loved was childless. The chronicler tells
us that Elkanah gave to Penninah and to all her sons
and daughters portions, but to Hannah he gave a worthy
portion, for he loved Hannah. Disappointment was bad
enough for Hannah; but under peculiar circumstances it
was doubly trying, for her rival Penninah, the mother
of children, taunted the unhappy woman with her
barrenness. It must have been a sad home in which to
live. It must have been hard, too, for Elkanah, with
the wife he loved sad-eyed and weeping, and the other
wife taunting her and mocki ...
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