Samuel and Saul: To become the goodly judge for God (Book of 1 Samuel)

Before things start, Hannah comes before the Lord, as we see in Scripture, praying and grieving for a child – to which, she promises to dedicate to the Lord, if He shall bless her with a child. If she is to bear a child, her barrenness would be broken. Hannah became pregnant, then, with Elkanah, she bears Samuel – to which, she dedicates Samuel before the Lord when he’s weaned.

Hannah rejoices and sees the gift, so she praises the giver (God). She contemplates her blessings and looks unto the Lord for further provision. Hannah then speaks a prophecy about the coming Kingdom of God, that is Christ’s Kingdom – to which his enemies will be eradicated.

Israel is smitten before the Philistines, and sin was in the camp, which gave the enemies all they had wished for. They speak angrily of God, and hope to bring the ark into their camp. The Philistines grew afraid, because of “God being in the camp.”

Samuel’s sons were corrupt judges, and although Samuel did not take bribes, however, his sons did. His sons perverted judgment. Samuel was not pleased, and there was a plea for a king to judge, because it reflected upon God. He began praying, and then told them that they shall have a king, even though it wouldn’t bring pleasing results to the Lord.

12:24-25 explain to only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart, for He’s done great things. However, for those that do wickedly, it will consume them. In 13:11-14 shows that those who disobey the commandments of God do so foolishly for themselves, for sin is foolishness and the greatest of sinners are the greatest fools. God saw rebellion in the light of Saul, and therefore, unbelief and distrust was what the others had seen.

This chapter gives the understanding of the respect that was shown to David by Saul and Jonathan, as well as the servants of Saul, all the people, and in the songs of the women. The friendship of David and Jonathan was an example of grace, I believe, and brings the subject of love up. Those who love the Lord will be willing to join Him in covenant forever.

We see the power of God’s grace in David. David, with the harp in hand, aims to serve Saul. However, we see that Saul, with a javelin in hand, an attempt to slay David, but God’s grace appears to be for David, protecting him from harm. Saul tried to hurt David for so long, but we see God’s grace, in fact, is present, for David did not waver from his service to Saul. This caused Saul to begin to fear David, for it seems David was not much afraid of Saul.

The answer Eli gave to Samuel after the Lord’s visitation was as we see in 1 Samuel 3:18: “And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.” The Israelites thought if they could just have the ark with them, they could win the war with the Philistines. When the news of the “capture” and the death of Eli’s sons came to him, he suffered a fall, which ended in death. The Ark was put upon a new cart and released with two cows/cattle to see where it would end up.

When Saul said that he had kept animals from the battle with the Amalekites to sacrifice, Samuel said, “obedience is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of the rams.” Ishbaal (or Ish-bosheth) was the second king of Israel, who would replace Saul. He was one of Saul’s sons. We see the calling for one of his sons to be the next king in 16:1, and then in 2 Samuel toward the beginning, we see who it was after all.

Although Saul became very jealous and angry with David, he was forced to give his daughter Michal to David for his wife. David passed up a second chance to slay Saul, but instead he took his water cruse and spear while he slept.

Synopsis

The Book of First Samuel, one written by an unknown author, was done in the late tenth century BC. Originally, the two books of Samuel were one. The books outline the goings from judges to kings in Israel. Much of First Samuel deals with Samuel, Saul, and David, as well as the establishment of the monarchy.

The book begins with a story of Elkanah, who had two wives named, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah could have children, in whom Elkanah blessed the most, and Hannah could not have children. Hannah was enraged before God and cried before the Lord to try to compromise dedicating the child to Him, if she could have one. God answered and so she bore a son named Samuel, whom she dedicated before God.

Later, Hannah returned home to her husband, while Samuel stayed behind at Shiloh, where he was to be brought up by Eli (the priest) in the house of God. Eli had become the judge in Israel. His sons would carry out routine work involved with the sacrifices and other ceremonies. As we read on, we find that God is bringing up Samuel in a way to be Eli’s successor. Therefore, Samuel’s development, spiritually, was different from Eli’s sons. God sent a prophet later to Eli to announce a divine judgment upon their family. All of Eli’s descendants would be punished with poverty, shame, and early death.

In chapter three, as we move on, we find that God reveals to Samuel some information that was revealed to Eli through the prophet. Eli soon accepted God’s judgment as a just punishment. As the years had gone by, Samuel developed into a great leader, who was well known and respected in his land. Scripture declares that he was a prophet who taught God’s Will to people. He was appointed priestly duties by God, even though he wasn’t an Aaronic descendant. The priesthood was likely so corrupt that it wouldn’t matter who took the helm. People lost the meaning of rituals and ceremonies, so God was using prophets instead of priests to speak unto His People. The Holy Spirit revealed God’s Will to the prophets as they taught the people.

For many years, the Philistines oppressed Israel, but Samson began to save Israel from them. The Philistines became relentless and fought back, thus deciding to extend their rule further into Israel’s territory. The defeats of the Israelites were merely God’s punishment upon them, because of their sin. The Israelites were confused, so they started carrying the Ark of the Covenant on the battlefield, hoping God’s presence would accompany them. However, God showed that He was not currently supporting Israel, because the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant. However, later the Philistines returned the ark, because they felt it caused trouble for them.

Later, we see that during the Philistine oppression, Samuel took position as chief ruler in Israel. He was quite strict in his leadership about idolatry. He wanted all worship to be directed toward God. His influence increased over the various regions, as the Israelites continued their fight against the Philistines. As we read on in chapter 8, we see that the Israelite people ask for a king, because the history of Israel continued in the judges, but Samuel was no longer able to control the nation – being very old and also his sons were worthless.

The people began to turn from God and backslid. In search for stability within the nation of Israel, Samuel was asked to end the old system (of judges), and usher in the kingship. God then, revealed to Samuel that Saul was chosen to be Israel’s king. Saul would save Israel from the Philistines, so Samuel prepared Saul to receive the honor at a sacrificial feast. Saul would go from a farmer to a national leader. However, when the Spirit of God had come upon Saul, he began to behave in different ways, where people didn’t believe he was “king material.”

Later, Samuel had called a meeting for all of the leaders of the tribes and families in Israel – which was a counsel to select the king. A system of drawing lots was done so that only one man was finally chosen. Samuel and Saul both knew, as we see in Scripture, that Saul was the predestined one to take kingship over Israel. After the selection was made, Samuel announced publicly what the rights and duties were for a king. Saul, who had a mixed reputation amongst the people, brought shock or happiness upon the people it seems. Saul did not make any immediate changes to the administration, but rather just returned to his farm, which was in Gibeah. He then created the administrative center of Israel in Gibeah.

Soon, Saul led a victory against the Ammonites, becoming a national hero. Samuel had said farewell, before Saul prepared the fight against the Philistines. Israel’s regular army had two divisions, one under Saul’s command, and one under Saul’s son, Jonathan’s command. Saul was to go to Gilgal, where he had to wait for seven days for the arrival of Samuel. Once Israel’s leaders gathered the army, Samuel could then offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the nation, and then pass on God’s further instructions to Saul. However, an attack from the Philistines occurred, and Saul got impatient.

Therefore, he decided to offer the sacrifice himself, and Samuel saw that his action was rebellion against God. As punishment for him, God would remove him from the throne one day. Samuel and Saul then prepared for war against the Philistines and their men engaged in battle. After this, a war was led against the Amalekites, in which Saul’s obedience was tested. Again, he failed, and his kingly power was questioned. God then sent Samuel to tell Saul of the consequences of his disobedience, to which his rebellion was punishable as removal from power and replacement.

Saul’s replacement was David, who was brought to the royal court. Saul was not to know that David was anointed by Samuel to be the successor of him. God’s power came upon David and left Saul, and Saul had become unstable in his ways and jealous of David. However, soon, Saul became a permanent member of the royal court. Later, David was brought to the battle, and a champion had rose up named Goliath, whom no Israelite would dare (try) to defeat. David then killed Goliath, with no sword or spear, but with a sling and a stone.

After the defeat, David came to Saul’s court to live, and he and Jonathan became close friends, and then David serves Saul. After that, he marries Michal, before Saul fears David and became bitter against him. Saul has, three times, men to go and arrest him while he fled to Ramah. Soon, David was threatened by Saul, who came after him, but Saul was overcome by God’s Spirit and felt powerless. Jonathan, then, helped David escape, and Ahimelech the priest aided David. Saul discovered this, and this only created more animosity in Saul. Later, after Samuel was presumed dead, as we see in chapter 25, David married Abigail. (He lost Michal at an earlier time, when Saul took her and gave her to someone else.) David then went and found refuge in Philistia. A war broke out with the Philistines and the Israelites, and later Saul’s sons were killed and Saul himself was wounded as well. Saul then took his own life.