Skip to main content



PENINNAH (Heb. פְּנִנָּה; possibly "coral"), second wife of *Elkanah (i Sam. 1:1–2). Peninnah had sons and daughters, while *Hannah, Elkanah's first wife, was barren (1:2). In i Samuel 1, which deals with Samuel's birth, Peninnah plays a secondary role. She seems to have been her husband's less favored wife (cf. 1:5) and is portrayed as a rather unkind woman who made life difficult for Hannah, her rival (1:6–7).

In the Aggadah

The aggadah elaborates on the manner in which Peninnah taunted Hannah on account of her childlessness. Every morning she would mockingly ask whether Hannah had washed her sons' faces, and in the afternoon would sarcastically enquire when she expected them home from school (pr 43, 181b). According to one tradition, this cruelty had a righteous intent; Peninnah hoped thereby that she would encourage Hannah to pray for children (bb 18a; Mid. Ḥag. to Gen. 22:1). She was nevertheless ultimately punished. Two of her children died whenever Hannah gave birth; and she thus witnessed the death of eight of her ten children. The last two were spared solely as a result of Hannah's intercession with the Almighty on her behalf (pr, ibid., 182a).


in the aggadah: Ginzberg, Legends, 4 (1913), 58, 60; 6 (1928), 216–8, 220; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 363f.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Peninnah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 25 Sep. 2018 <>.

"Peninnah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (September 25, 2018).

"Peninnah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved September 25, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.