Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


First Samuel

First Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish





In the Hebrew Canon and enumeration of the sacred books of the Old Testament, the two books of Samuel were reckoned as one and formed the third division of the earlier prophets. The one book bore the title "Samuel", not because Samuel was believed to be the author, but because his life and acts formed the main theme of the book, or at least the earlier part. Nor was the book of Samuel separated by any real division in subject matter or continuity of style from the book of Kings, which in "the original" formed a single book, not two as in the English KJV (and all other modern 'Versions'). The Catholic translations of the scriptures (I have not compared all) list 1 Samuel as 1 Kings; 2 Samuel as 2 Kings; 1 Kings as 3 Kings; and 2 Kings as 4 Kings. This denotation is carried over from the Greek LXX or Septuagint, where the four books were comprised under one title and were known as "The Four Books of the Kingdoms". This line of scholarship was adopted by the early Latin Translations and corrected by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate.



The narrative of the two books of Samuel covers a period of about 100 to 115 years. The period extends from the close of the unsettled era of the Judges to the establishment and consolidation of the Kingdom under King David. It is therefore a record of the changes, national and constitutional, which accompanied this growth and development of the national life, at the close of which the Israelites found themselves a united people under the rule of a king to whom all owed allegiance, controlled and guided by more or less definitely established institutions and laws. This may be described as the general purpose and main theme of the books, to trace the advance of the people under Divine guidance to a state of settled prosperity and union in the Promised Land, and to give prominence to the theocratic rule which was the essential condition of Israel's life as the people of God under all the changing forms of early government. The narrative therefore centers itself around the lives of three men, Samuel, Saul and David, who were chiefly instrumental in the establishment of the monarchy, and to whom it was due more than to any others that Israel emerged from the depressed and disunited state in which the tribes had remained during the period of the rule of the Judges, and came into possession of a combined and effective national life. If the formal separation therefore into two books be disregarded, the history of Israel as it is narrated in Samuel is most naturally divided into three parts, which are followed by an appendix recording words and incidents which for some reason had not found place in the general narrative.



[1]. Visit of Hannah to Shiloh, and promise of the birth of a son (1 Sam. 1:1-19); birth and weaning of Samuel, and presentation to Eli at Shiloh (1 Sam. 1:19-28).

[2]. Hannah's song or prayer (1 Sam. 2:1-10); ministry of Samuel to Eli the priest (2 Sam. 11:18-21,26); the evil practices of the sons of Eli and warning to Eli of the consequences to his house (2 Sam. 2:12-17, 22-25, 27- 36).

[3]. Samuel's vision at the sanctuary and his induction to the prophetic office (2 Sam. 3:1-4).

[4]. Defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines capture of the ark of God, death of the two sons of Eli and of Eli himself (2 Sam. 4).

[5]. Discomfiture of Dagon before the ark of God at Ashdod: return of the ark to Beth-shemesh, with expiatory offerings of golden tumors an golden mice; its twenty years' sojourn at Kirjath-jearim (2 Sam. 5:1-7).

[6]. Assembly of Israel under Samuel at Mizpah, and victory over the Phillis.(7:5-14); Samuel established as judge over all Israel (vs. 15-17).

[7]. Samuel's sons appointed to be judges and the consequent demand of the people for a king: Samuel's warning concerning the character of the king for whom they asked (ch. 8).

[8]. Saul's search for the lost asses of his father and meeting with Samuel (ch. 9).

[9]. Saul is anointed by Samuel to be ruler over the people of Israel, and receives the gift of prophecy (2 Sam. 10:1-16); second assembly of the people under Samuel at Mizpah, and election of Saul to be king (vs. 17-27).

[10]. Victory of Saul over the Ammonites and deliverance of Jabesh-gilead (2 Sam. 11:1-13); Saul made king in Gilgal (vs. 14,15).

[11]. Samuel's address to the people in Gilgal, defending his own life and action, and exhorting them to fear and serve the Lord (ch. 12).

[12]. Saul at Gilgal offers the burnt offering in Samuel's absence: gathering of the Philistines to battle at Michmash; the Israelites' lack of weapons of iron (ch. 13).

[13]. Jonathan's surprise of the Philistine. army, and their sudden panic (2 Sam 14:1-23); Saul's vow, unwittingly broken by Jonathan, whom the people deliver from the fatal consequences (vs. 24- 45); victories of Saul over his enemies on every side (vs. 46-52).

[14]. War against Amalek, and Saul's disobedience to the Divine command to exterminate the Amalekites (ch. 15).



Three main purposes of First Samuel may be cited:

A. Historical -

[1]. To furnish a record of the transition from the ear of judges to that of the monarchy (read Acts 13:20-21), noticing these three words: judges, prophet, king).

[2]. To describe the influences of Samuel upon the life of Israel and upon many of their leaders.

[3]. To furnish a setting for the reign of David as described in Second Samuel.

B. Typical or Symbolical - The books of Samuel are rich in typical or symbolical truths. In many ways this Old Testament book foreshadows Christ in the offices of prophet, priest and King.

C. Spiritual - First Samuel shares this purpose with all Scripture. You will learn many spiritual lessons from this book. Among them is what is taught about prayer. Take time out now to look up these references: (1:10-28; 7:5- 10; 8:5-6; 9:15; 12:19-23; 28:6).



The name Samuel is from a Hebrew word which has been variously translated as: "the name of God," "his name is God," "his name is mighty," or "heard of God."

One is not surprised that the Jews have esteemed Samuel second to Moses among their leaders. The Psalmist (Psa. 99:6), and God speaking to Jeremiah (Jer. 15:1), classified Samuel with Moses as an interceding priest. Samuel held the honor of being the last of the judges (1 Sam. 7:6, 15-17) and the first of the new order of prophets (1 Sam. 3:20; Acts 3:24; 13:20).

Samuel was a giant among the men of God in biblical times. He lived to serve God, not to save himself. He knew without any reservation that following the Lord with all the heart was the highest calling of any man or woman, boy or girl. He was holy and humble and kind. He sought not his own good but always the good of others. And when the day came for him to turn the reigns of leadership over to another, he did it with grace and paternal commendation.

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