1 Samuel 7-9
The Last Judge: Samuel, cont’d. 1 Samuel 1-8
1 Samuel 7:1-2-The Ark was taken to the home of Abinadab in Kiriath-jearim. His son, Eleazar was consecrated to keep it. It stayed there for 20 years.
1 Samuel 7:3-17-The Philistines continued to rule over Israel. Finally, Samuel led the people to repent of their sins (:3-6). The Philistines heard that Israel had gone to Mizpah and assumed that they were in revolt, so they attacked them. But the LORD miraculously delivered Israel. Samuel named the place "Ebenezer" (means: stone of help). All of the time that Samuel judged Israel they were free from the bondage of the Philistines. The word “Amorite” was a general term used to speak of the people who had inhabited the Promised Land prior to Israel. Samuel would ride a circuit through Israel (Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah) to judge between the people. Then he would return to his home in Ramah. He built an altar to the LORD there.
1 Samuel 8:1-22-When Samuel was old he appointed his sons Joel and Abijah to be judges. They accepted bribes and were dishonest. The people knew this and told Samuel. They then requested that he appoint a king over them. Samuel prayed and God told him that just like they had rejected Him, they were rejecting Samuel. God told Samuel to appoint a king...but to tell the people ahead of time how a king would mistreat them. It was not a good picture. Yet, they still wanted a king. God told him to appoint one for them.
8:22 Was it God’s will for Israel to have a king? Prophecies dating back to Moses indicate that it was (Gen. 49:10; Num. 24:17; Deut. 17:14-20). It was not God’s perceptive will for Israel to acquire a king in the manner in which they were doing it (i.e., at the wrong time and from improper motives), but God allowed it because this was within His permissive will. God in His sovereignty allows even the evil deeds of men to accomplish His purposes (cf. Gen. 50:20; Acts 2:23). With respect to sin and evil, God wills to permit it, but not to effect it, for He cannot commit evil…
Ryrie Study Bible, 1 Samuel 8:22 footnote, p. 421
The First King: Saul (man’s choice) 1 Samuel 9-15
1 Samuel 9:1-27-We are introduced to Saul…a member of the tribe of Benjamin. His father is known as a mighty warrior. He is tall, handsome and has a manly bearing. Some of his father’s donkeys have strayed away and Saul is sent along with a servant to find them. They search for several days and are about to give up when they come to a city where Samuel, now a well-known prophet (seer) is about to arrive.
For a definition of what a “seer” is see:
They decide to seek his advice before returning home. Samuel meets Saul. God identifies him as the man he had previously told him about (:16). Samuel invites him to eat with him that night at the feast. Then he makes a baffling statement…”20. And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes” (NLT). Saul is taken back. How could Israel’s hopes depend on him and his tribe? After all, he says, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel…?” At this point, we need to remember that while the tribe of Benjamin was not originally among the smallest of the tribes (cf. Numbers 26), the reason that they were now so small is because they had almost been totally wiped out earlier in the war with the rest of Israel (cf. Judges 19-21).
Samuel tells Saul to stay overnight because on the next day he will tell him something important and then send him on his way. The next morning he sends for Saul. They start walking down a road and Samuel tells Saul to send the servant on ahead so that they can speak in private. He tells him that he is going to proclaim a “word of God to you” (:27).
Prayer: Lord, what happened to Samuel’s sons? Why didn’t they follow in their father’s righteous footsteps? Could it be that his ministry took him away from home for long periods of time…and they grew up without his presence? Father, I pray for my children. They are grown, now. Both of them are believers and love You. But, Lord…life can be hard, and challenging, and temptations seem to be around every corner. Please, Father, please keep the hearts of my children close to You. Protect them. Help them to live for You all the days of their lives. And let them be godly parents to their children. I pray that all of our descendants will accept Jesus as their Savior while they are children and will live for Him, forever. Let us be a godly lineage…that brings glory, praise, and worship to You!