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APPENDIX, No 1,
Referred to vol. i. p. 111.
In which the case of Hannah 1 Sam. i.
is more particularly considered.
myself, so I should be equally anxious not to mislead others, with respect to any scripture quoted, referred to, or explained in the foregoing pages, and so many of which have been employed to prove that polygamy is neither against any law given before the Sinai-covenant, nor against any law then delivered; consequently, is not finful--for fin is not imputed where there is no law-and where there is no law there is no transgression. Rom. v. 13.
As a proof of God's own sentiments on the matter, I have produced the striking instance of Elkanah the Levite, and his two wives, Peninnah and Hannah; and by considering Hannah as taken after, and in the life-time of Peninnab, have drawn arguments, which appear to me conclusive, with regard to the main point, viz. that if polygamy was a transgression
of the original institution of marriage of the seventh commandment-or of any other positive law of God, it is highly unreasonable and absurd to suppose, that God should so fignally bless, and own it as lawful, in so many instances, and particularly in that of Hannah.—But I find it is an usual opinion, and that several commentators rather seem to embrace it, that Peninnah was the second wife, and Hannab the first; I have the more earnestly and more diligently examined the whole parsage, as willing to retract what I have said if it be false, as to abide by it if it be true.
The ground on which the opinion that Hannah was the first wife is built, is a very uncertain one, viz. that “ “ * named first,” i Sam. i. 2. But the
* The Hebrew words-wong-though they may be rendered first and second, yet are so frequently used for one and the other (as in our translation) that nothing conclufive can be gathered from them in this place. See Exod. i. 15. Numb. xi. 26. Ruth i. 4. 2 Sam. iv. 2. The best way of considering the matter, is to advert to the whole of the following context; in which it appears, from many circumstances, that Hannah was the second or after-taken wife.
And indeed there is a very natural and obvious reason why Hannah, though the second-taken wife,
very next sentence furnishes us with just as good a reason for supposing Hannab was the second, for there Peninnab ftands first — And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children :--and the reason still grows stronger for fuppofing Peninnah to be first, ver. 4. for there she is not only mentioned first, but has the cedency of a first wife given her by her husband Elkanab, who served her first of the peace-offerings :-- And when the time was come that Elkanab offered, he gave to Peninnah bis wife, and to all ber sons and daughters, portions; but to Hanna) be
gave a more worthy portion, for he loved Hannah; i. e. fhe was his favourite, as Rachel was Jacob's, Gen. xxix. 30. The custom of placing the eldest first was very antient, as we find, Gen. xliii. 33. And they set. before him, the eldest according to his birth
fhould yet be named first in the beginning of the history--because the subsequent parts of it principally relate to her and her son Samuel.
For a like reason we may suppose Shem to be mentioned first of the fons of Noah-Gen. x. I:-though not the eldest, Shem and his defcendents being the chief subject of the facred history.
So Mofes is commonly placed before Aaron (though three years younger) wheresoever they are named together, Moses being the principal person treated of.
right, right, and the youngest according to his youth
and be took and fent messes to them from before him; but Benjamin's was five times as much as any of theirs. Benjamin was distinguished as the favourite of his brother Joseph, tho' younger than all the rest; so was Hannah, the youngest op after-taken wife, distinguished as the favourite of Elkanah, and though, as youngesl, helped after Peninnah, and ber fons and daughters, yet had a larger share, or, as it is mentioned in the margin, a double portion. This is our translation ;
literally מנה אחת אפים but the words
fignify—“ a piece, part, or portion of the roasted meat” —some more choice part, we may suppose, which he had reserved for her. Elkanab's love, and preference of Hannah in his affections, would hardly have suffered him to place her after Peninnah, if Hannah had not been the youngest and after-taken wife; any more than yoseph's affection to Benjamin would have suffered him to have placed him below the rest of his brethren, had it not been against all rule to have done otherwise.
But if we look more deeply into this fcripture, we may gather from Hannab's song, chap. ii. 1-10, a certain proof that Hannah was the second wife. "The
jong itself is evidently prophetical, it treats upon the same subject as that of the Virgin Mary, which is recorded Luke i. 4.6—54; and these two wives of Elkanab, are spoken of as typical of what should come to pass in the latter days, when the Jews, the elder profeffing people of God, and who brought forth professing children, should become barren, and the poor barren Gentiles become fruitful. Hannah fays, chap. ii. 5. The barren bath borne seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. A clear prophecy of the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles, the former typified by Peninnah, and the latter by Hannah. So If. liv. 1.-alluding to the same interesting and wonderful events—says, Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear ; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the defolate, than the children of the married wife, faith the Lord.
In this view of the matter, Hannah must certainly be the second wife, as the Gentiles were called subsequently to the Jews, or else the whole similitude of this prophetical transaction, as to the fulfilment of it, in the rejection of the Jews, and calling of the Gentiles, is destroyed at once.