Hannah knew the pain of living with a mean girl.
The constant niggling comments, made when no one else was around. The jibes so subtle her husband, Elkanah never noticed.
Hannah never had any relief from the tormenting because Peninnah was the other wife of Elkanah.
In ancient biblical society, it was acceptable for a man to take another woman if his wife couldn’t have children. Hannah failed miserably to get pregnant. Peninnah excelled in giving birth. You’d have thought that would be the end of the problem, but it was only the beginning.
You see, Elkanah loved Hannah. He showed favor to Hannah over Peninnah. And Penninah noticed how their man treated Hannah tenderly and not her.
Elkanah should be in love with her, She produced an heir for him. Yet, she was only used.
So what do mean girls do when they realize they can’t win? They make sure they triumph in an area where they are strong—for Peninnah: children. She was far superior when it came to giving her husband an heir. Oh, and how she made the most of it. She reduced Hannah to tears, on more than one occasion, and made her so miserable she couldn’t eat. You know that feeling when you are so upset you have no interest in food?
The extra serving of food Elkanah gave Hannah when they celebrated at the temple was wasted. How Peninnah must have gloated. She was an expert at tormenting Hannah, and it went unchecked year after year.
Peninnah could have brought her problems to God. She could have told the God who is Love how unloved she felt. Instead, she chose to bring out her heartache on Hannah.
Women can be so mean.
Then suddenly, Hannah had had enough.
Hannah stood up. She meant business!
She had to do something about what was going on.
Often, we are in similar situations. We think the only way to stop the bullying is to take things into our own hands.
I always thought the only way to stand up to bullies was to confront them. That’s how I’ve taught my children when they’ve come home, or called me on the phone to tell me about the person or “friend” who is making them miserable. I’ve wanted to give them good advice.
Hannah, however, teaches us another way. It’s a way we should react ourselves and teach our children.
Hannah’s business was not with Peninnah; it was with God. Hannah went and prayed.
Standing in the presence of God stops us being pushed around.
Hannah didn’t go and confront Peninnah to get this provoking to stop once and for all, she didn’t try to get Elkanah to understand; she went straight to God.
How often are you tempted to take things into our own hands instead of bringing them to God?