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.

Moses as a prophet: The great burden he carried

The political conditions of Moses’ day were that the Land of Egypt produced a perfect background for this giant of a man, that during this time, the first great wave of anti-Semitism rolled through Israel. It is theorized that Exodus took place between 1290-1220 BC, which would be during the Judges era. (Other source notes it could have been earlier, such as 1446 BC around the time of the first Passover. That would place it before the Judges era starting in 1350 BC.) Rameses II has the most potential distinction of being Pharaoh of this oppression, and if that is the case, then the first date would be more plausible, because Rameses II ruled (1304-1237 BC). This is one area of archaeological evidence we wish to have, especially to prove to skeptics that the Biblical exodus actually happened.

The discussion on this matter was that because of the activities Rameses commonly imposed, it seems Exodus 13:17 refers to techniques commonly used by Rameses at this time, and it seemed to work best because of the sea peoples invasion per evidence, because in that verse, the trade/coastal routes were being used to commit justice by the Pharaoh’s hand (see “the way of the land of the Philistines” in 13:17). Thutmose III, a figure some thought over the Exodus has less evidence, because Thutmose created the largest Egyptian empire, but the Scripture does not allude to this fact, which would have been particularly prominent despite the inference. However, since the book of Exodus does not mention the Pharaoh’s names, we can efficiently decide which plausible evidence is most clear. Some of the other things to consider was that Moses was allowed to be taught about Yahweh, which means the ruler was unlikely to be tyrannical, at least toward religious freedom.

The social conditions of Moses’ day involved being born in the midst of a slave community, to which men did mandatory hard labor, family life continued even in oppression, and the Israelites overall lived as best as they could with some likeness of their early Fathers’ religion and reared their children as they had been raised. In the Egyptian court, luxury and ease would prevail, as it was an age of prosperity and albeit plenty in resources for them – while just a few short steps away, poverty and slavery was going on for God’s children.

Slave labor built huge structures to relieve the Egyptians of the stress of toil. Slaves would build great libraries and schools so the nobility could be equipped and supplied with more resources – and the Israelites meanwhile were still oppressed. Moses had a sample of both situations and knew of such misery, as he yearned of his own people. The finest educational system of their world gave him its best, and those 40 years in Egypt left an indelible mark upon Moses.

As for the religious conditions of Moses’ day, things were quite odd. We must believe that in the homes of the slaves in Egypt that some pious souls kept alive the fundamentals of the “old Faith of their Fathers.” When Moses began teaching about Yahweh, he found that they had a basis of the truth that he taught. However, people seemed ignorant of the deeper characteristics of God.

Among the Egyptians, there was an elaborate system of religious beliefs and observances, for religion was a big part of their life. Their temples were large and extravagantly furnished. They served many gods and vied with one another for the gifts of the multitudes who crowded the sanctuaries. Priests, ceremonies, and religious displays met the eye, and it was the golden age of Egyptian religion. Moses must have been a close student of all that passed before him.

Moses’ life is generally divided into three periods of 40 years:

  1. In Egypt for 40 years – Moses was born to godly parents, and was adopted into the family of Pharaoh. Being educated in all the arts and sciences of the Egyptian schools, he chose to attach himself to his own people, and was then forced to flee to save his own life.
  2. In the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses gained a wife, a home, and was then subjected to severe discipline in the desert. He learned firsthand about the land that he would one day lead his people through. After that, an important event occurred when God called him to go back to Egypt and begin his life’s work along with his brother Aaron.
  3. Leading the people through the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses obeyed God and rescued the Israelites from Egypt, saw God’s deliverance at the Red Sea, received the “Torah” at Sinai, taught and trained the people, lost his patience, and then fell into sin. Moses had repented and then preached in the plains of Moab – to which, he was then taken home to God without entering the Promised Land.

Personality

Moses was a powerful man physically, mentally, and spiritually. He had an ability to excite attention and admiration of all who looked upon him. Yet, he felt he needed Aaron, because he felt his speech was not adequate. He was known for such a vigorous social passion, to which is evidence through his life. He was unselfish in his leadership, for the Israelites consumed his life. He was so passionate in his devotion to Yahweh, to which he had a powerful faith in the Divine Plan of God. He was filled with righteous indignation and spiritual intensity, and this marks him as a true leader of men. Lastly, like the other prophets, he felt a pressure of the Hand of God – and his whole life was influenced by this awareness/consciousness – which brought him face-to-face with God.

Moses’ Theology

Moses had a theology of “God’s Will” – to which, excelled beyond most men, because he comprehended that “God is a God with a purpose.” God has a Will for Man, has a Will for the world, and especially a remarkable Will for Israel. Moses believed that God’s Will unfolded moment-by-moment and developed his character with each passing day. Moses believed that God was a being of moral character with ethical standards, and believed that He wanted His People to mirror His ethical nature. He knew God had a distinct personality, and Moses represented Yahweh as respecting human personality. He felt God’s compassion as He cared for His People – whether they were in slavery, bondage, in the Wilderness, etc. He was so faithful as to deliver them from bondage and lead them tenderly across the Wilderness. He was even so good as to teach them through the prophets, and loved them with an undying love. Moses knew God was a “covenant-keeping God” who had the right to expect His own chosen ones to keep their part of the covenant.

Miriam and Aaron were siblings of Moses. While Miriam normally didn’t speak, Aaron was especially true to his brother by helping him accomplish God’s Will, especially going with Moses to convince Pharaoh to release God’s People from bondage. They both undoubtedly stuck close to Moses for a good portion of his life.

Burning Bush

In Chapter three of Exodus, we see many things that Moses was involved. Moses kept the flock of Jethro, who was his father-in-law, a priest in the land of Midian. He kept the flock on the backside of the desert and near the Mountain of God, near Horeb. He did not know that he would lead millions of people through this Wilderness in the very area of the Mountain of God. In 3:2, he was called by God in the burning bush experience, and was told that God had seen the oppression of the Egyptians. He heard their cry and came to deliver them. God sent Moses then to go to Pharaoh to speak on His behalf to free the people. God gave him methods of doing so, with a promised consequence to Pharaoh for reluctance. Moses responded and went with Aaron to do so!

Overall

The roots of divine sovereignty, divine holiness, and divine love were foundational stones to which the Prophets reared the Temple of Faith – the pinnacle of which was Jesus of Nazareth! Moses contained such attributes, which would inspire future fathers to model a temple to support worship unto God, and if Moses was able to model this for Man and have them pass it down through the generations, that’s greatly awesome and wonderful to witness.

Moses in comparison to Jesus Christ

MosesJesus Christ
The prayer of Moses healed Miriam of Leprosy (Numbers 12:10-13).Jesus cleansed a leper (Matthew 8:2-3).
Children were killed by Pharaoh during the birth of Moses (Exodus 1:22).Children were killed by King Herod in Bethlehem during Jesus’ Birth (Matthew 2:16).
God promised a prophet like Moses would be raised up (Deuteronomy 18:15).Jesus is the prophet of promise from God, but definitely greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6).
As the voice of God sounded, a cloud overshadowed Moses, Aaron, and Miriam (Numbers 12:5-8).As God’s Voice sounded, a cloud had overshadowed Peter, James, and John while they were with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-5).
Divided the red sea to get across.Walked on the water to transcend.
Moses was to flee his birthplace because of Pharaoh’s persecution (Exodus 2:15).Jesus and family fled their native land because Herod was persecuting people (Matthew 2:14).
Moses was able to return to his birthplace after Pharaoh died (Exodus 4:19).Jesus was able to return to His birthplace after Herod had died (Matthew 2:20-21).
Moses prayed over the miracle of Manna and Quails (Exodus 16:1; Numbers 11:31).Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fish two times (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39).
Moses led Israel to the Promised Land (even though Moses could not cross the border because he sinned)(Numbers 20:1-13).Jesus Christ fully obeyed God and brought people into Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Moses chose 12 messengers – one from each Tribe. Hoshea is renamed Joshua, one of Moses’ closest associates (Numbers 13:2-16).Jesus chose 12 disciples (later known as apostles) who would judge Israel’s 12 Tribes. Simon is renamed Peter, one of Jesus’ closest associates (Matthew 16:17-19; Mark 3:16-17).
Moses was on the mountain of blessing to receive the Commandments (Exodus 19:20; Deuteronomy 6:5-25).Jesus was on the mount as He gave the Beatitudes sermon and His Commandments (law of love)(Matthew 5:1-12).