by Charles H. Spurgeon

Hannah: A Woman of a Sorrowful Spirit
Charles H. Spurgeon
1 Samuel 1:15

Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit

The special cause of Hannah's sorrow arose from the institution of polygamy, which, although it was tolerated under the old law, is always exhibited to us in practical action as a most fruitful source of sorrow and sin. In no one recorded instance in Holy Scripture is it set forth as admirable; and in most cases the proofs of its evil effects lie open to the sun. Lamech leads the way, and he is a homicide descended of the murderous house of Cain, and the father of Tubal-cain, or Vulcan, the fashioner of weapons of destruction: never was this institution the harbinger of peace, but the favorer of strife. We ought to be grateful that under the Christian religion that abomination has been wiped away; for even with such husbands as Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon it did not work toward happiness or righteousness.

The husband found the system a heavy burden, grievous to be borne, for he soon found out the truth of the wise man's advice to the Sultan, ''First learn to live with two tigresses, and then expect to live happily with two wives.'' The wife must in nearly every case have felt the wretchedness of sharing a love which ought to be all her own.

What miseries eastern women have suffered in the harem none can tell, or perhaps imagine. In the case before us, Elkanah had trouble enough through wearing the double chain, but still the heaviest burden fell upon his beloved Hannah, the better of his two wives. The worse the woman the better she could get on with the system of many wives, but the good woman, the true woman, was sure to suffer under it. Though dearly loved by her husband, the jealousy of the rival wife embittered Hannah's life, and made her ''a woman of a sorrowful spirit.''

We thank God that no longer is the altar of God covered with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, of those wives of y ...

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