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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Motherhood: Do you know anyone named Peninnah?

I didn't think so.

Most of you probably have no clue as to who Penninah was. Who was she? She was one of Elkanah's two wives. The other one was Hannah. Hannah was the mother of Samuel. Now perhaps most of you make a connection.

I just did a Google search on the phrase "Hannah Brown," and another one on "Penninah Brown." I didn't use "Hannah Smith," because there was an author and evangelist with that name (see here and here.) I didn't use "Hannah Jones" because I know a person with that name. There are about 96,000 web pages that have "Hannah Brown" in them, and exactly five with "Penninah Brown," and apparently all five of these are found in pages that specialize in searching genealogies and ancestry. In other words, if you Google "Penninah Brown" you won't come up with any information on a living person. Why not? Because Penninah is harder to spell? Maybe that's a little of the reason, but the main reason is more fundamental.

Hannah was known as a God-fearing, praying, mother. Period. Her main contribution was to give birth to Samuel. She turned Samuel over to Eli, the high priest, at an early age, perhaps before he was six years old, so she didn't have a lot of time to influence the boy. Hannah loved her son. but she loved God more, and she had promised to turn him over to the priests, and she kept that promise. She was a God-fearing, praying mother. Undoubtedly she loved her son, but she loved him enough to keep her promise to God.

God doesn't demand such promises, at least not in the same sense, of twentieth-century mothers. It isn't clear that God demanded such a promise of Hannah, but He did accept it of her. God does want all mothers to love their children, but to love God more, and, as far as possible, to turn the lives of those children over to Him.

I honor my own wife, my mother, who recently turned 99, my older daughter, and my late mother-in-law, plus other maternal ancestors of mine now deceased, most of whom I never knew. If they hadn't loved God, I would not be doing this now. Perhaps I would be dead.

Thanks for reading. Happy Mother's Day!


Keetha said...

Though I am not at all surprised that you didn't find ANY living Penninahs, I DID know who she was before I kept reading. I remember her spiteful and mean treatment of Hannah.

Keetha said...

Yes, readers are wonderful - - - even "fairly faithful" ones. BUT I just want you to know, that whether I comment or not, I come to your blog to check out EVERY single post you make. Just so you know!!!

Happy "Mentor's Day" whenever that may be.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Keetha! Happy Mother's Day, what's left of it.

FancyHorse said...

I needed the reminder, but once you said, I remembered immediately.

The Bible is full of faithful, devoted mothers. Today we had a sermon on Jochabed, and touched a little on Eunice.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, FancyHorse. Those are two good Bible mothers.