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In 1 Samuel 1:1-20 we read the story of Hannah and Peninah. The crux of the matter is that Peninah had children, but Hannah did not. Peninah was celebrated among other women, but Hannah was not. Peninah had status in her community; Hannah ‘only’ had Elkanah’s affection and sympathy.

Because Hannah had no children, Peninah turned to shaming, sneering at and mocking her. Peninah was so excited by the fact that Hannah was childless.
Peninah’s joy did not emanate from the fact that God had blessed her with children but from the fact that Hannah was childless.

In short who is a Peninah? A Peninah is an adversary. One who rejoices at the misfortune of others and provokes with spiteful and disdain words.
The spirit of Peninah is that spirit of rejoicing at the misfortune of others. It’s easy to have the spirit of Peninah especially when the misfortune of others has a tendency to make us look better.

But God says we must never rejoice in the iniquity or misfortune of others. That’s not what love does. Do you rejoice when you hear that others are doing well, or you rejoice at the defeats and the tragedies that befalls others.

The Bible says; “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him,” Prov 24:17-18. We should not laugh or rejoice when anyone, even our enemy stumbles or falls.
Your being joyful at your enemy’s misfortune is not pleasing to the Lord, and the joy may cause Him to turn His wrath away from your enemy.


It is not Christ-like for believers to find joy in the misfortune of others. The Lord may allow you to see your enemy’s downfall but that is not intended to be a cause for celebration. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and He will repay or punish them for the wrong that they have done to one of His saints.
We are not to return a wrong for a wrong, nor are we to rejoice if the Lord lets us see when those who have done us wrong get what they deserve. No one’s misfortune should bring us pleasure. We should not find joy in any one’s sorrow.

The Word also tells us to love one another, and this includes our enemies. If we love each other, we will never rejoice in evil or the misfortune of others.
Love is that which always seeks the best in the one loved. And it’s not just talking about your family or your friends. According to the Bible, we are to both love our neighbors and our enemies.

If misfortune has befallen the object of your love how can you rejoice? If misfortune has befallen the object of your love, how can you gossip about it.
The sin of gossip, which many Christians treat lightly, is wicked, not only because it uncaringly yields and reveals weaknesses and sins of others and hurts them, but because the heart of the gossip is also rejoicing in evil! That’s why it’s wrong.

Bopoto Gwinyai

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