Alice C. Linsley
Samuel's father was a Horite Hebrew priest with two wives. His name means "God's provision" and the name Elkanah appears in different generations of Horite Hebrew ruler-priests (1 Chron. 6:23-34; 1 Chron. 9:16; 2 Chron. 28:7). In Exodus 6:24 we find that a man named Elkanah is the grandson of Korah, the half-brother of Moses and Aaron. This diagram shows that Korah is a descendant of Seir the Horite ruler of Edom (Gen. 36).
In the narrative of Samuel's birth we read that his father Elkanah was a Zuphite, meaning he was a descendant of Zuph and lived in Ramathaim-zophim, "the land of Zuph." Ramathaim-zophim is described as "hill country" and it is known that the Horites preferred the high country. Ramathaim is simply Ramah elsewhere in the story of Samuel's family.
|Hill country of Edom, ruled by the Horites (Gen. 36)
Ramah has a long association with prophets; Samuel being one of the greatest. Deborah, “the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet” who judged from her palm tree between “Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim." (Judges 4:4-6) Ephraim refers to the region around Bethlehem.
The Horite Hebrew were a caste of rulers who served as priests, prophets, scribes, warriors and metal workers. They were ethnically Kushite. Ramah was a son of Kush according to Genesis 10:7.
In the Masoretic Text the name of Samuel's city is hara-matatyim zophim. (See The Anchor Bible Commentary on I Samuel by P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., p. 51) This means that Samuel's father was a priest of the line of Matthew (or Mattai/Mattan). Hara-matatyim is the priestly line of Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus' relatives, and the member of the Sanhedrin who buried the Lord's body in a tomb he has excavated for himself. Samuel's father and Jesus had common Horite Hebrew ancestors.
David and his father Jesse were of this Horite lineage also. Matthew's Gospel links Bethlehem and Ramah (Matt. 2:13-23); suggesting that Jesse's territory extended from Bethlehem to Ramah. All of this would have been called "Judah" in Jesse's time. If David's city was the Bethlehem in Galilee, Jesse was indeed a great ruler. This is further supported by the Y solar cradle in his name - Yishai. Many of the great Horite rulers are designated by this symbol of divine appointment: Yismael, Yitzak, Yacob/Yisrael, Yetro, Yisbak, Yaqtan, and Yeshua.
Samuel's Horite ancestry, and his kinship to Jesse, is further supported by the distinctive Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern that they shared. Samuel's father was a priest with two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. It was the custom for Horite Hebrew ruler-priests to have two wives. One was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the other was a patrilineal cousin or niece (as was Keturah to Abraham).
The first wife was the sister bride, married at a fairly young age. She was the wife of the man's youth. The second wife was taken close to the time of the heir's coming to the throne. The two wives lived in separate households, usually on a north-south axis.
The firstborn son of the sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father. So Isaac ruled over Abraham's territory. The firstborn son of the cousin/niece wife ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. Abraham's cousin wife was Keturah. Her firstborn son was Joktan (Yaqtan). Joktan the Younger ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, Joktan the elder, the progenitor of the Joktanite clans of Arabia. This pattern of two wives and the cousin bride's naming prerogative, makes it possible to trace the Horite line of descent from Genesis 4 to Jesus, the Son of God.
Samuel dwelt in Ramah. This suggests that he ascended to the throne of his father. This means that his mother Hannah was Elkanah's half-sister wife, as the rabbis attest. Peninnah was Elkanah's cousin wife. Her first born son ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, not as the high priest but as a vassal to the high priest with a land holding in the territory of his maternal grandfather.
I Sam.1:4 states that when Elkanah offered a sacrifice, it was his custom to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. We do not know how many children Peninnah had, but we are told that after Hannah gave birth to Samuel, she had two more sons and two daughters.
If Samuel followed the marriage and ascendancy pattern of his Horim, he married one of Peninnah's daughters at a fairly early age. Nazirites did marry, as is evident from the story of Samson.
Here is a diagram showing Samuel's Horite family.
Related reading: The Judges Samuel, Deborah and Huldah; The Chiefs of Edom; The Antiquity of the Edomite Rulers; The Extent of Edomite Territory; Aaron Was Buried in Edom; The Horite Hebrew Wisdom of Elihu; The Horite High Places