The Book of Samuel

The two books of Samuel (First Samuel and Second Samuel) cover the rise of the united kingdom of Israel. Israel’s religious leader, Samuel, appoints a king named Saul. Saul disobeys God, however, and God chooses another man, David, to be Israel’s king. King Saul attempts to kill the young David, but fails. Saul’s death closes the first book. In the second book, David establishes the great kingdom of Israel. He conquers Israel’s surrounding enemies and establishes Jerusalem as the religious and political center of Israel.

Hebrew Name - Shemuel "asked of God"
Greek Name - Samoeul (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Samuel (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1171-1015 BC Approximately
Theme of 1 Samuel - The beginning of the kingdom
Theme of 2 Samuel - David, God's chosen king
Types and Shadows - In Samuel Jesus is God's anointed King

Book of 1st Samuel

1st Samuel is a story of narrative history and includes a great deal of drama. It is written by the last of the Judges for which the book is named, Samuel. It was written at about 930 B.C. Key personalities include Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David. It was written to show Israel how they chose a king but in the process, they blatantly neglected and abandoned God.

  • In chapters 1-7, Samuel is born to Hannah as a Nazirite, and dedicated to God. Soon after, Samuel was brought to the tabernacle to serve God. During this time, the Israelites are in a vicious battle with the Philistines and they lose the Ark of the Covenant, which is captured by the Philistines. Struck down by deadly plagues, the Philistine are happy to return it to the rightful owner in an oxcart pulled by two cows.
  • From chapters 8-15, the Israelites select, who they believe, will be a great king. Samuel anoints Saul to be king and although things go well at first, as usual, trouble looms in the near future. Due to continuous bad decisions and direct disobedience to God’s will, Samuel informs Saul that God has rejected him as the rightful King.
  • In Chapters 16-31, God selects His king who is David, and he is called, “a man after God’s own heart”(13:14). Samuel anoints David as a young boy, and several years later stands up to a Philistine giant in front of both the armies of the Israelites and Philistines. With God as his protector, David drops the oversized soldier with one simple stone claiming victory for Israel and displaying true leadership. Saul, eaten away by envy and jealousy and driven by hate, begins to pursue David in fear of losing his throne. Although David could have easily taken his life twice, he respected his king in a Godly manner. In the end, Saul tragically takes his own life while losing on the battlefield.

Book of 2nd Samuel

The book of 2nd Samuel is a narration of David as he becomes the King of Israel and the time during his reign, yet it also includes two psalms in hymns of praise in the final chapters. Its author is Samuel the prophet who wrote it at about 930 B.C. The key personalities are David, Joab, Bathsheba, Nathan, and Absalom. It was written to record the history of David’s reign and to demonstrate effective leadership under the submission of God. Approximately half of the book tells of King David’s success and the other half shows his failures.

  • In chapters 1-10, we find that David becomes the king of Judah while the Northern part of the nation (Israel) rejects God and chooses to go with the dynastic tradition, by selecting Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to rule. Ish-Bosheth eventually was executed and the northern tribes asked David to rule the entire nation of Israel. King David chooses to establish a new capital, Jerusalem, and through a tragic process, brings the Ark there.
  •  In chapters 11-24, we observe the sinful side of King David during his reign, and how it affected the nation of Israel. First, David commits adultery with a married woman named Bathsheba and she becomes pregnant. Afterward, he has her husband murdered in an attempt to repair things. The prophet Nathan confronts him and David repents and soon after the child dies. Bathsheba later gives birth to Solomon, who will be the next king of Israel. Absalom, David’s other son, plots a rebellious takeover and the nation approves. David flees for his life, yet ultimately raises enough troops and a strong backing to take back his seat and restore order; in the process, his rebellious son was killed.