1 Samuel

This book describes the transition of leadership from judges to kings. It is named after the prophet Samuel and originally was one book (1st and 2nd Sam) in the Hebrew Bible and is one continuous account. It was split into two in the Septuuagint and has remained that way since.

The author of 1 Samuel

The author is unknown but tradition has it that the book was written by Samuel himself. This may be true, at least for the first part, but as his death is recorded in chapter 25 it seems logical that another took over the responsibility.

The time of 1 Samuel

The first part, written by Samuel himself, is dated around 1015BC. Samuel was born 1105BC and ministered as Prophet and Judge from around 1067 BC to 1015BC. This book covers a period of 94 years from the birth of Samuel to the death of King Saul.

About 1 Samuel

First Samuel records the crucial transition from the theocracy under the judges to monarchy under the kings. The book is built around three key men: Samuel (I-7), Saul (8-31) and David (16-31)).

Samuel's story begins late in the turbulent time of the judges when Eli is the judge-priest of Israel. Because of his responsiveness to God Samuel is confirmed as a prophet whilst corruption at Shiloh by Eli's notoriously wicked sons leads to Israel's defeat in the crucial battle with the Philistines. Under pressure from the people Samuel appoints Saul as Israel's first king.

God rejects Saul and directs Samuel to appoint David as king-elect. Saul's rebelion against God leads him to seek to murder David but God protects David through a series of escapades.

Eventually, after foolishly consulting a medium, Saul and his sons are killed in a battle with the Philistines and David, who is very popular with the people, becomes king.