This week, I will give a brief overview of 1-2 Samuel, but before I do, I want to remind us all that we are reading through a chronological plan. We read it this way to gain a better understanding of the order of biblical events and their historical context.
For example, Psalms follow the events they were written about – the prophetic books have been interwoven with the historical accounts they represent.
So hang in there with the reading and I will try to sort it out each week along the way.
Samuel was originally one long book, much like Luke-Acts. Somewhere along the way it was split in two, but I am going to treat it as one continuous book and story in this blog.
The books of Samuel open during the period of the Judges. The history of Israel under the Judges was marked by political, moral, and spiritual anarchy.
We covered this a couple of weeks ago in the Book of Judges blog.
The situation was so pervasive that even the sons of Eli, the standing high priest at the time, had completely forsaken the Lord and had used their priestly office for their own gain and evil pursuits.
Just when it seemed that the nation was doomed, God intervenes. Hannah, Samuel’s mother is barren and prays for a child. Her statement in verses 1:27-28 sums up the story:
“I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives he is given to the Lord.”
Samuel’s strong leadership as judge, prophet, and priest provided respite to the people from both internal and external threats.
Samuel thus functions as the link between the judgeship and the kingship.
The Books of Samuel deal with the transition from the priest Eli to the judge and prophet Samuel, then from Samuel to King Saul, and then from Saul to King David.
The Books of Samuel show God’s continued care for His people, in raising up for them a king whose job was to be their champion, representative, and example.
God’s sovereignty is demonstrated throughout the books as He provided His people the leaders and resources they needed to defeat their enemies and to live out His purpose in the land, though both people and leaders often failed Him.
When reading through the books you will notice when leaders focused their attention on the Lord and saw their leadership roles as instruments for His glory, they flourished.
When they abandoned the Lord and used their offices for their own gain, they failed.
The books of Samuel take sin seriously, describing in detail the awful consequences of sin—even forgiven sin.
Saul’s disobedience led to his estrangement from his son Jonathan and son-in-law David, and ultimately led to his death in battle.
The consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba, however, stand as a warning to all who experience sin’s attraction.
God holds His children accountable for their actions, and even forgiven sin can have terrible consequences.
In spite of his moral failures, David is described as a man after God’s own heart. He wrote many of the Psalms we have today.
God’s special covenant with David found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, the Son of David.
Until next time… keep reading!
Excerpts taken directly from the following study bibles and commentaries: ESV, HCSB, GTB, BKC