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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


ABASILI, Alexander I.. Hannah's ordeal of childlessness: Interpreting 1 Samuel 1 through the prism of a childless African woman in a polygynous family. Old testam. essays [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.3, pp.581-605. ISSN 2312-3621.

The practice of polygyny (polygamy) is attested to in many parts of Africa. One reason among many for consolidating this practice in some African cultures is the emphasis families place on having male progeny. For many polygamous men, it serves as a way-out of childlessness and "sonlessness. " But what becomes of the childless wives in such polygamous marriages ? In those patriarchal African societies, where men are at the centre of the stage, the plight of childless or "sonless" wives in a polygamous marriage often goes unnoticed or ignored. By using the childless ordeal of Hannah ( 1 Sam 1 ) to mirror the plight of childless women in some polygamous African families, this article highlights the silent sufferings of such childless women and makes a clarion call for an informed and just response to their plight. In addition, it calls attention to the "silent" ordeal of Hannah in I Sam I; an aspect of the text that until now has received very little attention.

Keywords : Polygyny; polygamy; Books of Samuel; Hannah; African patriarchy; childlessness.

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