We are studying the book of 1 Samuel in church, and I found the following dialogue helpful in bringing Hannah’s situation to life. Hannah was barren and could not have any children. Her husband had a second wife named Peninnah who did have children. The Bible tells us that Peninnah kept provoking Hannah until she wept and would not eat. Dale Davis in his commentary on 1 Samuel imagines the following conversation where Peninnah flaunts her children in front of Hannah. The dialogue begins with Peninnah speaking.
– Now do all you children have your food? Dear me, there are so many of you, it’s hard to keep track.
– Mommy, Miss Hannah doesn’t have any children.
– What did you say, dear?
– I said, Miss Hannah doesn’t have any children.
– Miss Hannah? Oh yes, that’s right – she doesn’t have any children.
– Doesn’t she want children?
– Oh yes, she wants children very, very much! Wouldn’t you say so, Hannah? [In a low aside] Don’t you wish you had children, too?
– Doesn’t Daddy want Miss Hannah to have kids?
– Oh, certainly he does – but Miss Hannah keeps disappointing him; she just can’t have kids.
– Why not?
– Why, because God won’t let her.
– Does God not like Miss Hannah?
– Well, I don’t know – what do you think? Oh, by the way, Hannah, did I tell you that I’m pregnant again?! You think you’ll ever be pregnant, Hannah?
You can just imagine how deeply a conversation like that would have hurt Hannah. And we’re told that this went on year after year. You can read the whole message on this section of Scripture here: God’s Purpose in Prayer