OVERVIEW OF 1 SAMUEL
Author: Basically unknown. Samuel holds the title being the pivotal last prophet-priest-judge over Israel, and because he possibly wrote a portion of the book. But his own death is mentioned in 25:1, making it likely that others contributed to its completion. “The kings of Judah” (27:6) may refer to the divided kingdom, which came after Solomon’s death. This could mean it was written collaboratively over time.
Date: Somewhere between as early as Samuel and after the time of the divided kingdom but before the Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C., since no mention of that event.
Audience/Purpose: The people of Israel to recount how God transitioned them from being ruled by judges to a monarchy. It warns the reader of rejecting God as Ruler but highlights His grace in raising up David through whom He would establish an everlasting kingdom and preserve them as a blessing to the nations.
1-7 - The rise of Samuel the last prophet-priest-judge of Israel
1:1-20 - Barren Hannah prayed for a child and God gave her Samuel, overturning her bitterness and ridicule
1:21-2:11 - Hannah and Elkanah dedicated Samuel to serve God the rest of his life with prayer and praise
2:12-36 - Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons, wickedly claimed people’s sacrifices for themselves and slept with women at the Tent of Meeting; Eli didn’t restrain, so “man of God” prophesied judgment on all three
3:1-4:1a - Samuel called to replace Eli and his sons as the Lord’s priest and servant
4:1b-22 - The ark of God captured by the Philistines, Eli and his son all die as prophesied
5:1-7:1 - God afflicted those who treated the ark of the Lord irreverently and was brought back to Israel
7:2-17 - The Lord used Samuel to bring spiritual renewal to Israel and give them victory over Philistines
8-15 - The establishment of Saul as king of rebellious Israel
8:1-22 - Samuel’s sons not fit to replace him, so Israel asked for a king to be like the other nations
9:1-11:15 - God selected and anointed Saul from the smallest Benjamite clan as Israel’s first king through Samuel, and affirms his kingship by the Spirit and his first victory over the Ammonites
12:1-25 - Samuel urged Israel to return to God and committed to teach them and intercede for them
13:1-22 - Saul is rebuked for unauthorized offerings and made Israel vulnerable to enemies
14:1-52 - Jonathan led Israel to defeat Philistines and was rescued from his father’s attempt to kill him
15:1-35 - Saul did not completely destroy Amalekites and all they own and God rejects him as king
16-31 - The demise of King Saul and the rise of David as Israel’s new leader
16:1-23 - Samuel anointed youngest shepherd-boy David as new king, who ministered to Saul with music
17:1-58 - David’s faith proved God was with him in slaying the giant Goliath of the Philistines
18-20 - Jonathan, Saul’s son, befriended David, acknowledged him as future king, defended him from Saul
21:1-23:29 - David on the run from the jealous pursuit of Saul
24:1-27:25 - God protected David from Saul and Nabal, and gave him Michal, Nabal’s daughter, as his wife
27:1-12 - David and his 600 men hid from Saul in the land of the Philistines
28:1-25 - Saul sought Samuel through a medium who said God had turned him and Israel over to Philistines
29:1-30:30 - Philistines sent David and men back to Ziklag and discovered Amalekites had taken everyone captive, and burned everything; they found and defeated Amalekites, recovered everyone and everything
31:1-13 - Israel was defeated by Philistines and Saul committed suicide
Gospel Truths and Applications from 1 Samuel
Barren Hannah prayed for a child, and the Lord gave her Samuel. She dedicated him back to God, and he became Israel’s spiritual leader. God conceived His only Son through the virgin Mary, who dedicated Him back to God’s service. He did His Father’s will perfectly, providing salvation for those who receive Him.
Application: Sincerely seek God in prayer, believing He’s listening and will respond, and then dedicate His blessings back to Him for His purposes and glory.
Samuel was the last prophet-priest-judge to rule over Israel, and Jesus became the once and for all Prophet-Priest-Judge before God ruling over His people who believe and follow Him.
Israel desired a human king over trusting and following the Lord to be “like other nations.” God gave them Saul as judgment on their rebellion, but raised up David to preserve them as a people. So God sent His Son, Jesus, once and for all as our Divine King to save us and set us apart as His holy nation.
1 Peter 2:9 - “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Application: Surrender to Christ’s authority and trust and follow Him above human wisdom and solutions.
David was a man after God’s own heart and became Israel’s most celebrated king. Jesus is the divine King of heaven whose heart and faith was perfect toward His Father, and therefore worthy of our trust.
1 Sam 15:22 - “To obey is better than sacrifice.”
1 Sam. 16:7 - “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Application: Cultivate humble faith, and reject selfishness, pride, and wickedness.
The ark of the Lord, representing the presence of God and His covenant with His people, was stolen and either brought blessing on those who respected it and curses on those who showed contempt for it. Through humble faith in Jesus and His atonement, we can safely enter and enjoy the presence of God.
Hebrews 10:19-22 - “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”
Application: Worship the Lord sincerely and enjoy His presence and blessing.
The Lord’s presence protected and gave David victory over his enemies and prepared the way for him to become king. The Father protected Jesus until the time for Him to die for our sins on the cross, and then ultimately validated Him as eternal King through the resurrection. Believers and followers of Jesus will face adversities in this world, but we have hope of eternal life and reward in Him.
Eph. 6:10-12 - “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Application: Trust Christ to guard and deliver you from the evil one.
Discuss any additional aspects of the Gospel in 1 Samuel and the helpful take-aways and applications for yourself, our church, and country.