|Reading The Text: Hannah's Barrenness: Part II, Chapter 1|
|Written by Michael Linetsky|
The Foundation Stone is honored and thrilled to present this new series Reading The Text by Michael Linetsky: The purpose of this column is to explore the literary art of the
Scripture. The Biblical narrative says much more than what its explicit words express. An entire subliminal story runs in parallel with the superficial story line. Unlike the latter, the former can only been read by listening, not to what the text say, but what it could have said and did not, as well. In this column we intend to bring to the fore some of the hidden story in the Scripture.
Part II, Chapter 1
Hannah’s barrenness is initially presented as a natural event, "she is childless" (v. 2) but what happens now is that it is twice attributed to God, "because God closed her womb". One finds this attribution completely uncharacteristic taking into account that no where else in the Scripture does God close a woman's womb; He only opens it as he does Leah’s (Gen. 29:31) and Rachel’s womb (Gen. 30:22). In the main, the Scripture tends to shy away from ascribing to God unpleasant acts towards His people. The Scripture will explicitly attribute the defeat of the Philistines to God but will only hint at God’s involvement when the Israelites are defeated. And so, Sarah herself says: "Look, the Lord has kept me from bearing" (Gen. 16:2) but the Scripture removes any ascription to God: "Sarai, Abraham’s wife had borne him no children (Gen. 16:1).
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