1 Samuel 1:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Samuel 1:2, NIV: He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

1 Samuel 1:2, ESV: He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1 Samuel 1:2, KJV: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1 Samuel 1:2, NASB: And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1 Samuel 1:2, NLT: Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.

1 Samuel 1:2, CSB: He had two wives, the first named Hannah and the second Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.

What does 1 Samuel 1:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:1), who becomes the father of Samuel, had two wives. Polygamy was not rare in Israel at this time, especially when the first wife was barren. Continuing the family line was one of the highest cultural values of the day; producing an heir was all-important for a man. Those who struggled with infertility, yet could afford to support a larger family, often took a second wife to keep trying for children.

That's why Abraham's wife Sarah finally urged Abraham to take her Egyptian servant Hagar (Genesis 16:1–3). Rachel, also childless, did the same with Jacob and her servant Bilhah (Genesis 30:3–4). This was a move followed by Jacob's other wife, Leah, with her servant Zilpah (Genesis 30:9–10).

For those reasons (1 Samuel 1:5–6), it's likely Elkanah's first wife was Hannah. He was able to have children with his second wife Peninnah, but he still loved Hannah dearly and treated her with special favor (1 Samuel 1:5).