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1 Samuel

First Samuel Bible Study Notes

Overview of First Samuel

First Samuel and Second Samuel (classified in the Hebrew Scriptures as part of the prophets) together with First and Second Kings form a continuous historical record. In the Hebrew version of the scriptures, First and Second Samuel are considered one book just as First and Second Kings are considered to be one book. The Greek Septuagint divides these books into First, Second, Third and Fourth Kingdoms. The Latin Vulgate used the same division, but changes the name from Kingdoms to Kings. Perhaps because this record is the work of multiple authors, the King James Version divides the record into First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings.

Since the death of King David is not recorded in First or Second Samuel, it is generally though that these books were written before David died. It is often thought that Samuel wrote the book of First Samuel and the first twenty-four chapters of Second Samuel. Also, that the remainder of Second Samuel was written by the prophets Nathan and Gad. Scriptural support this belief is found in First Chronicles 29:29es 29:29
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV


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First Samuel (1st Samuel, 1 Samuel, I Samuel, 1st Sam, 1 Sam, I Sam) can be divided into two parts. The first part deals with the end of the rule of the judges. The second deals with the establishment of the monarch, first under Saul then David. The establishment of the monarchy is the most important historical change to occur during Samuel’s life.

Samuel succeeded Eli as the prophet and was the last of the judges. During his tenure, he strengthened the government and was successful in dealing with the problems stemming from a weak, decentralized government.

There were perhaps two reasons the people wanted a king, instead of to ruled by judges. One was that under Samuel they recognized the advantages of a strong government. The second was the corrupt nature of Samuel’s sons. The people—with reason—feared to be ruled by Samuel’s sons, as would have been the case following his death had a monarchy not been established.

In summary, First Samuel deals with the transition from the rule of the judges to the monarchy. It also contains information about Saul, the first king of Israel.

Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known by her pen name of Abigail Van Buren, who created the Dear Abby column, based her pen name in part on David’s comment to Abigail—“blessed be thy advice”—as recorded in 1 Samuel 25:331 Samuel 25:33
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.  

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