April 9

1 Samuel

 

Author:

      Samuel (10:25 says he wrote a book…his death is recorded in chapter 25) and others.  1 Chronicles 29:29 indicates that Nathan and Gad also wrote about events recorded in Samuel.

 

Time written:

930 B.C. and later

 

Time covered in history:

The Biblical Timeline Book by Book:

Genesis…history from Creation through entry into Egypt

Exodus…history from Exodus through Sinai

Leviticus…one year after the Exodus…Laws for living & instructions for the use of the Tabernacle…given during the month & 20 days between the setting up of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:17) and the departure of the people from Sinai (Numbers 10:11).

Numbers…history, starting one month after the close of the book of Exodus and continuing through 39 years of wandering in the wilderness… concluding at the border to the Promised Land (Canaan)

Deuteronomy…the addresses given by Moses during the final months of his life while Israel was camped across from the Promised Land

Joshua…This book begins a new section of the Old Testament…the Historical books.  It describes the conquest of the land of Canaan around 1400 B.C.

Judges…The events of Judges take place between 1380 and 1050 B.C.  The period of history ends with the last Judge, Samson.

Ruth…The events of this book occurred during the time period of the Judges (the latter half of the twelfth century B.C.)  This was a time marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness.

1 Samuel…begins with the life of Samuel (the last of the Judges) and ends with the death of Israel’s first King, Saul…a time frame of about 115 years.  2 Samuel records the history of King David’s reign.  1 Samuel is the link between the period of the Judges and the period of the monarchy.  1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles record the continuous history of Israel from the end of the period of the Judges, through the period of the rise of the monarchy, and ends with its fall.  Ezra and Nehemiah follow.

 

General information:

In the Hebrew Bible, 1 & 2 Samuel form a single book (as do 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles).  Samuel (his name means “name of God”) appeared on the scene during one of the darkest times in Israel’s history.  He called the people to return to true worship of Yahweh (see: Acts 3:24).  There are 3 principal characters: Samuel, Saul, and David.  2 Samuel focuses exclusively on David.  The period of the Kings of Israel lasts for 500 years (1050-586 B.C.).

Samuel’s mother, Hannah dedicated him to the Lord’s service (1:1-19) when he was born and brought him to the High Priest Eli to be raised in the Tabernacle…probably when he was 2-3 years old.  She made a vow that he would be a Nazarite.  He is one of 3 mentioned in the Bible…Samson (Judges 13), and John the Baptist (Luke 1).

Eli was High Priest for 40 years.  His sons, Hophni and Phinehas were also priests and were over-indulged by Eli.  This led to moral corruption and downfall on their part (chapter 4).  At this time the Philistines defeated Israel.  The Ark was captured and Eli’s sons were killed.  When Eli heard this news he died of shock (98 years old).  This is the first mention of the Philistines since Judges 13-16.  They had previously held Israel in bondage for about 40 years (Judges 13:1)…that period of bondage seems to have come to a close at about the 20th year that Samuel was judge (7:2,13-14).

Samuel was the last of the judges (the period of the Judges spanned 350 years), the first of the prophets, the organizer of a seminary (school of the prophets), and the founder of the monarchy.  He was a circuit-riding preacher (7:15-17)…taking a year to ride his route through the country.

There are two words we occasionally hear today that come from 1 Samuel: Ichabod (4:21)…means “no glory”; Ebenezer (7:12)…means “stone of help”.

 

Doctrinal Theme(s):

One principal lesson has to do with the effects of sin and holiness in relation to the people and their leaders (2:29).

A second lesson has to do with prayer…the word is used 30 times.  Samuel was a man characterized by prayer.

  1. He was the product of prayer (1:1-19). Note the simplicity of her prayer: (1:11) “remember me”…ref. to Judges 16:18 (Samson) and Luke 23:42 (thief on the cross).
  2. He was a child of prayer (3:1-19).
  3. He brought victory to his people through prayer (7:5-10).
  4. He interceded for the people in prayer (8:6; 12:19-23).

A third lesson is found when the people demand to have a king…thus, choosing less than God’s best (chapter 8).

 

1 Samuel 1-3

 

The Last Judge: Samuel                                      1 Samuel 1-8                       

 

1 Samuel 1:1-18-Elkanah lived in Ramah, Ephraim (5 miles north of Jerusalem).  He had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  Peninnah had several children…”all her sons and her daughters” (:4).  Hannah had no children.  Each year Elkanah would go to Shiloh (20 miles north of Jerusalem) to worship (the Tabernacle was there, Joshua 18:1...until the Ark was taken, 1 Samuel 4).  The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were the priests.  Peninnah would cause Hannah much sorrow over the fact that she had no children.  She would…"provoke her bitterly to irritate her…so that she wept and would not eat.”  One time, while at Shiloh, Hannah was praying for a son.  She promised God that if He would give her a son, he would be a Nazarite (cf. Numbers 4:2-3; 6:1-8).  She was praying so passionately that Eli thought she was drunk and chastised her.  She told him that she wasn’t drunk, but “I have poured out my soul before the LORD.”  What a beautiful description of fervent prayer (cf. Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7).  Eli then told her to go her way and that her prayer would be answered.  Hannah's attitude changed.

1 Samuel 1:19-23-Hannah gave birth to a son, Samuel (means: name of God).  Hannah did not take Samuel to Jerusalem to worship until he was old enough to be weaned (2-3 years old).

1 Samuel 1:24-28-Hannah takes Samuel to Eli and gives him to him.  She fulfills her vow to dedicate Samuel to the LORD.

1 Samuel 2:1-10-Hannah prays a song to the LORD.

1 Samuel 2:11-36-Samuel stayed with Eli to serve God.

1 Samuel 2:13-17-The sons of Eli were "worthless men, they did not know the LORD...".  They took portions of the sacrifices that belonged to the LORD for themselves..."for the men despised the offering of the LORD."

1 Samuel 2:18-21-Each year Hannah would make clothing for Samuel and take it to him.  She had 3 more sons, and 2 daughters.

1 Samuel 2:22-26-Eli heard about what his sons were doing...including having sex with women who served at the tent of meeting.  He confronted them but they would not listen.  A man of God came and rebuked Samuel for honoring his own sons more than God by allowing them to continue to do the things they were doing.  He prophesies that the priesthood would be taken from the family of Eli (cf. 1 Kings 2:26-27,35) and that the sign that this would happen would be that Eli's two sons would die on the same day.

1 Samuel 3:1-10-God calls Samuel to serve Him.

1 Samuel 3:11-21-God tells Samuel what He is about to do to Eli's family.  Samuel tells Eli what God has said.  This was his first test as a prophet…to be willing to tell what God had said even though he knew that it would cause pain to someone he loved.  All Israel recognized that God had called Samuel as a prophet.

 

Prayer: Lord, help us to serve You with a pure heart.  Don’t let us become caught up in the busy-ness and the business of church.  Holy Spirit, let us hear Your voice calling and then strengthen us to serve You.

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