Hebrews 11 gives 15 heroes of faith

Faith is something that is extremely important in our lives, as our faith determines our walk with God, how we live our lives, and how we govern our behaviors. There is more we have discussed about this: Here and here and here and here. 🙂

The Bible gives a large lesson on faith in Hebrews 11, it is magnificent. In that Scripture, it also states 15 heroes of faith. We tabulate them below…

NameWhat they did by faithHebrews ScriptureOther ScriptureFaith topic
AbelOffered an acceptable sacrifice11:4Genesis 4:2-10Devotion to God
EnochPleased God and taken to Him bypassing death11:5-6Genesis 5:21-24Devotion to God
NoahBuilt the ark to withstand the flood11:7Genesis 5:30-9:28Family, safety, devotion to God
AbrahamFollowed God, believed God’s Promise of a son, and offered the son as a sacrifice11:8-19Genesis 11:26-25:11Devotion to God, family
IsaacHe blessed his sons’ futures11:20Genesis 24:4-66; 25:9-11; 25:19; 26:1-40Family
JacobBlessed Joseph’s sons11:21Genesis 37:2-36; 39:1-23; 40:3-50:26; Exodus 1:5-8; 13:19Family
JosephHe spoke prophetically of the exodus from Egypt11:22Genesis 37:2-36; 39:1-23; 40:3-50:26; Exodus 1:5-8; 13:19Prophecy
MosesChose to be with God’s People and kept the first Passover11:23-28The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and DeuteronomyDevotion to God
RahabShe kept the Israelite spies safe11:31Joshua 2:1-24; 6:16-17; 6:22-25; James 2:25; Matthew 1:5Devotion to God
GideonWon a great battle against the enemies of Israel11:32-40Judges 6:11-8:35Devotion to God
BarakWon a great battle against the enemies of Israel11:32-40Judges 4:1-5:15Devotion to God
SamsonFought the Philistines11:32-40Judges 13:1-16:31Devotion to God
JephthahWon a great battle against the enemies of Israel11:32-40Judges 11:1-12:7Devotion to God
DavidA man after God’s Own Heart11:32-40Ruth 4:17; 4:22; 1 Samuel 16:1-2 Samuel 24:25Devotion to God
SamuelA prophet and judge of Israel11:32-401 Samuel 1:9-28:20; Psalm 99:6; Acts 3:24; 13:20Devotion to God
Name ^What they did by faith ^Hebrews Scripture ^Other Bible references ^Faith topic ^

As you can see, these great men and woman of God were fully willing to live their lives for their faith. What are you doing with your faith? Do you want to be a hero of faith?

The Book of 2 Samuel detailed

We see in this book that David obtained the ark from Baale of Judah, so he can bring it to his own city; however, Uzzah was smitten for his error of touching the ark and died. David was displeased at this and left the ark at the house of Obededom for three months, which brought a blessing to that house. David heard of this and the joy accompanying, and decided to post offerings in its place as well as give gifts to the people. However, Michal, his wife, was displeased with some of his gestures during this occasion, and brought trouble between them and resentment from the Lord for his behavior. Therefore, Michal became barren because of this situation.

God declared that the line of David would be enduring, and that it would rule perpetually over the nation. The one condition made was that disobedience would result in chastisement, but it would not void the covenant nonetheless. David had a desire to build a temple, but God would not let him because of the blood shed in which he had been involved.

Synopsis

In late tenth century BC, an unknown author wrote Second Samuel. Second Samuel is a book that outlines the civil war, the establishment of David’s kingdom, and other conflicts and problems that were dealt with.

David learned about Saul’s death from one of Saul’s men, and lamented over his death and Jonathan’s death. He cursed the place where Saul died, and praised the bravery of both of them, for Saul brought prosperity to the people. Onward to chapter two, we learn that the Philistines now controlled much of Israel’s territory located west of Jordan. The Philistines then allowed David to become king over Judah in the South. David’s side, during battles, had consistent victories. In becoming the king in Judah, David had a good rule over Judah. This was by ending the line of Saul successfully.

David was then enthroned king of all of Israel, and began to establish his kingdom, where he conquered Jerusalem and established it as the political center. After that, his kingdom was extended. The ark was brought to Jerusalem, but somebody touched the ark and was killed. David feared a setback, and removed it. However, after figuring out God wasn’t angry at that, he moved the ark again. Upon bringing it back to Jerusalem, everyone was rejoicing and celebrating its arrival. David had expressed a desire to build a permanent dwelling place for God, but was soon reminded that God was not to be contained to one place. God was not overtly concerned about them building a temple, but He wanted the house of David built and firmly established. The dynasty of David is what the Lord was seeking, not a palace or dwelling place. David would have a royal descendant line, which would rule for generation after generation in Israel. This was God’s final plan, it seems, for kingly rule in Israel, was for David’s line of descendants to rule in Israel forever.

This could be also a prophecy of Jesus’ reign as king over the spiritual Israel, as Jesus came from the line of David. It would show that the old Israel (ruled by many generations of kings) transitioned into the New Israel (that would arise as a spiritual Israel, one where Jesus was the king). Anyway, this was to be a permanent dynasty that God established through David. David fully supported God in this, and prayed for the plan to be carried out. Therefore, the Davidic covenant was established. After that, we see that God was strengthening the royal house of David, as many military victories had occurred. David’s army had victories over Philistia, Moab, Zobah, Aram, Edom, and Ammon.

But, soon, we see a big problem of sin/transgressions from David, as he was found to have committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then he murdered Uriah (and tried to cover it up). Nathan the prophet pronounced over David the guilt and judgment. David confessed his sin before God, where God had pardoned him. However, that didn’t remove the consequences/punishment resulting.

David would then see years of reaping the consequences of his sin, where we see the judgment on David’s household, which involved death. His son of adultery would die (the one by Bathsheba and him), and David felt it was the responsibility of God’s judgment, in which the child died. We learn that Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba later. Other issues had occurred because of the sins of David; where we see that Amnon rapes Tamar, and then Absalom kills Amnon in revenge.

We also see the judgment on David’s kingdom, which involved Absalom conducting an insurrection – one where he wanted to seize the throne. Soon, David flees to Jerusalem in disgrace of this; meanwhile, Absalom seized power in Jerusalem later on. This didn’t last long, as Absalom was then overthrown and murdered, which caused grief to David. However, soon David would be restored as king and continue his rule. After this, we see Sheba’s revolt against David by leading people of the northern tribes to break away from David. Nevertheless, this revolt only brought death unto Sheba.

We then see the last years of David as king, where it first starts out with a three-year famine, which was caused by God’s judgment on Israel for Saul slaughtering the Gibeonites. The oath of Joshua was broken for the Gibeonites unto God. Saul’s sin needed to be eradicated, so seven of Saul’s descendants were executed. After this, the judgment on Israel was lifted. Only for soon, a battle began with the Philistines. This didn’t worry David, as we see that David wrote a couple psalms of praise for the victory over his enemies.

After that, we see Scripture outlining the mighty men that David had built, which were strong/tough in fighting. Israel’s strength and prosperity increased under David, so God allowed satan to tempt David to take a census of the people. This tested the pride of David, and the pride became sinful. A punishment was to come to Israel, for God acted in judgment and gave David a choice between three calamities. However, David trusted God and His mercy for the decision. So therefore, a plague broke out in Israel, which physically weakened the nation. Nevertheless, God, soon, in His mercy, stopped the plague before it would destroy Israel. David repented and interceded with God, for God had shown mercy!

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.

The man wise enough to stand up to Jezebel and godly enough to make many miracles | Elijah the prophet

After the death of Samuel, the newly formed kingdom of Israel suffered severely by the Philistines. The greatest invasion resulted in the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan – to which, David came to the throne of the tribe of Judah and finally was elevated to King over all Israel. However, in 931 BC, a division came, to which, Rehoboam was left with the smaller of the two kingdoms. In the North, Jeroboam was given the larger portion, and led the people into idolatry and pagan worship.

After 50 years of disaster and turmoil, we see Omri come to the head of the government to stop the anarchy, conquer Moab, establish a monarchy, build Samaria, and create a treaty with Syria. Ahab had become the successor to Omri. The coming of Jezebel meant more idolatry, especially in Baal worship. To please the strong-willed Jezebel, Ahab built in Samaria a temple for Baal worship, Asherah worship, and Phoenician worship.

Elijah’s name meant “Like God,” and he was given the task to be a Prophet during the era of Baal worship. This worship is of “mere power” or the worship of evil in general. In later days, the Jews designated this “Tyrian deity” the prince of devils. He also dealt with severe immorality, to which, the prophets of Yahweh were persecuted and killed. Many hid in caves for their own safety.

Jezebel then imported priests and prophets to do her bidding, to which, Elijah faced some of the darkest hours of his life. Anyway, Elijah was born and grew up in Gilead on the east of Jordan, to which, he was a Tishbite. He was described as a hairy man and one that wore a leather girdle. The New Testament states that Elijah (or Elias) was a man subject to like passions as we are even today.

Miracles done by Elijah

  1. First miracle, which appears at the court of Ahab, which announces the long drought would be broken only by God’s Word through the prophet. This was good, because it avoided any famine or furthering of famine conditions.
  2. Second miracle, he is fed by the ravens twice a day at the Brook Cherith. God intended that Elijah stay alive and be provided for, and just as the birds were provided for, the birds – by God – provided for him.
  3. Third miracle: God uses Elijah to multiply meal and oil daily. After seeing the Lord’s provision for him, he knew that God would provide for others, so God uses him to multiply for provisions.
  4. Fourth miracle, God uses him to restore the widow’s son to life. She calls Elijah a man of God. Just as Elijah did, later Elisha does a similar miracle – how glorious to see Elisha follow in the footsteps of his predecessor.
  5. Fifth miracle, on Mount Carmel there is a test as to whose God is God…to which, God answers by fire; the prophets of “Baal” are killed and rain comes in to answer Elijah’s prayer. Elijah hated idolatry, and was glad that much of it was rid of here.
  6. Sixth and Seventh miracles, we see rain and a 30 mile foot race is done, where Elijah outruns King Ahab who is driving his chariot. Elijah is equipped by the power of God, and will run the race as God empowers him!
  7. (The seventh is explained just above with sixth.)
  8. Eighth miracle, we learn of the “Juniper tree” experience, which the Juniper tree is well known of the cedar family. Elijah asks that he might die, and an Angel supernaturally strengthens him. Two times the Angel speaks to him and tells him to arise and eat, and finally the Angel speaks to him, “the journey is too great for thee.” Elijah arises and eats for the second time, and then “he went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the Mount of God.” Through this experience, he is challenged by God to return to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha.
  9. Ninth miracle, Elijah announces doom on Ahab and wicked Jezebel. Once again, Elijah sought to take care of idolatrous ways, and seeking an end to Baal.
  10. Tenth miracle, Elijah promises respite to Ahab, and God will delay punishment to the days of his son.
  11. Eleventh miracle, this is the prophecy of Elijah that pertained to the sickness and death of Jehoram.
  12. Twelfth miracle, this is the prediction or prophecy of death, the death of King Ahaziah.
  13. Thirteenth and Fourteenth miracle, this is the prophecy concerning King Ahaziah, who inquired of another god and Elijah stopped the messengers on their way to ask of their god. Elijah told them there was a God in Israel and because they found out info of the god Ekron, the King would die. They pushed in on Elijah and it resulted in fire from Heaven, which was the death of 102 men.
  14. (The fourteenth is explained just above with thirteenth.)
  15. Fifteenth miracle, we see that this is the miracle of the parting of the River Jordan as Elisha follows Elijah and the translation of Elijah is near. Elijah inquired of Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee” – to which, Elisha answers, “let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Elijah promises this shall come as long as “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”
  16. Sixteenth miracle, this is the miracle of imparting a double portion of his own spirit upon Elisha. Elijah spends many quiet years teaching young men, especially Elisha, who would carry on the prophetic work. He is gloriously translated while Elisha looks on and receives the commission to continue the great work.

Elijah’s character

Elijah was a sturdy, virile, daring man from the wilds of Gilead. He had an iron constitution, as the text explains, an austere spirit, majestic somehow, flaming indignation, consuming zeal, and courageous nature which set him forth as a man of romance and mystery. He was strong and yet weak; a zeal so limitless with energy. He had a tremendous grip on the ways of God and he had unusual power in prayer. He hated false religions, among other idolatries. He was unselfish, merciless, and cruel in his treatment of the Baal prophets. He was on fire for God doing His Will! Overall, he was a man of prevailing prayer, a man of faith, and one of the most dramatic appearances and exits. It is said of him, “he went through history like a meteor.”

Jesus spoke of Elijah

Jesus speaks of Elijah (Elias) in Luke 4:25, “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.” He speaks this about Elijah after He talks about healing and other activities to do in that area that He did in another area, and He says that, “no prophet is accepted in his own country.” Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, it seemed, and therefore, there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the famine. He said that nobody sent Elijah to do miracles over there, so why should He Himself be sent or go Himself to relieve the famine? That’s what He questions in that short explanation.

The point in this Scripture is that many people had compared Jesus to Elijah and vice-versa, because of all the miracles both had conducted. They frequently referred back to Elijah and would generalize that, for example, “if this happens…why you (Jesus) don’t do as Elijah did?” Jesus was calling them out in this questioning, because He knew that He was being faithful to the Will of God, and wanted them to realize that He doesn’t want to continue to be compared to Elijah – but that, He is doing miracles as God Wills them to be done. He reflects the Father in every way and does what He sees the Father doing; therefore, His ways are perfect. However, all this explanation did was anger the people there that He was instructed, and they wanted Him thrown out.

Comparing Elijah with John the Baptist

The answer for this is recorded in Luke 1:5-7; 15-17: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

As we see here, John the Baptist is similar to Elisha, in that; he received the spirit and power of Elijah, which would be fulfillment of the prophecy that Elijah shall come again. The Jews expected Elijah as the forerunner of the Messiah. John showed the spirit of Elijah in his clothing, in his life in general, and in his messages of repentance.

Elijah was a sign of the coming of the Lord

We see in Malachi 4:5 a prophecy, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Elijah is part of the last prophecy in the Old Testament, which concerns the return of Elijah the prophet to Earth, from Heaven, shortly before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. During this occurrence, there will be a great revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh and all of Israel will be saved because of the ministry of the “Two Witnesses.” It seems the Scripture is worded in a way that Elijah would be one of the “Two Witnesses” mentioned in Revelation 11:2-12. Some believe the second witness is Enoch, because both Enoch and Elijah did not see natural death. Some point to Moses.

We see Elijah and Moses together in Scripture during the transfiguration of Christ to Peter, James, and John his brother on the high mountain. Here is a snippet: “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

Elijah and Jesus Christ compared

ElijahJesus Christ
Elijah called on God’s People to repent during a period of great unfaithfulness (1 Kings 19:14-18)Jesus announced the Kingdom of God that had come at the exact time God prepared it to do so (Mark 1:15)
Ravens were sent to care for Elijah in the desert, and an angel fed him during a 40 day journey in the wilderness (1 Kings 17:6; 19:3-8)Angels took care of Jesus while He was on a 40 day fast in the desert (Matthew 4:2; 4:11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2)
Elijah raised from the dead a widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24)Jesus raised from the dead a widow’s son in Nain (Luke 7:11-15)
Elijah was able to call down fire from Heaven to rain down upon his enemies (2 Kings 1:12)Jesus refused for His disciples to call fire from Heaven to rain down upon His enemies (Luke 9:52-56)
Elijah had one disciple, Elisha, who left his oxen to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21)Jesus called 12 disciples, who left their lives at home and served and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22)

Seer, Prophet, and High Priest: The extraordinary man that is Samuel!

The political background of Samuel involved the Philistines – whom were especially troublesome and in control of much of the territory controlled by the Israelites. It also involved the Tribes of Israel – who were not united, and each group sought to go its own way and protect itself, even if others of their brethren suffered. Next, we see invasions by Syrians, Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammonites – who all caused great havoc and suffering in the land. In critical hours, deliverers arose to help drive out invaders and give the land a temporary ease.

Then, came the time of the judges, to which, came into focus that those Judges were used to overthrow great hordes of evil men who had taken possession of the Land of Israel. Gideon, Deborah, Jephthah, and Samson were some of the main judges. In Egypt, the 21st dynasty was coming to the throne after a weak 20th dynasty had failed completely, to which the golden days of power and influence were gone forever. Assyria was under the reign of Tiglath Pileser, who had built up a mighty kingdom, but had not come in contact with the struggling and suffering Israelites. We see a couple more empires/kingdoms noted, including the Hittite Empire, which was in decay, and the Aramean Kingdom, who rapidly became a troublesome power.

The social background of Samuel included a constant oppression and frequent wars, which kept the people unsettled. The years of conquest and possession had introduced them to uncounted problems. They didn’t have a settled government that could be relied on to organize them together against their enemies. When Samuel came, the Philistines had reduced them to another siege of slavery – and they were even deprived of means of sharpening their farm tools. This was tragic in the life of Israel.

As for the religious background of Samuel – they didn’t see any teaching or preaching for 300 years. We see a people who had a ring of neighbors with idols, many gods, heathen rites, cults, customs, and ceremonies. With those practices came immoral conceptions and a standard that produced a lifestyle that was not conductive to holy and godly spiritual worship. These people intermarried and gathered unto themselves idols as gods. The central sanctuary was at Shiloh, where the ark was kept and a High Priest officiating at the sacred altar. His name was Eli, a grand old man of Israel – and at this moment, Samuel was born.

If Hannah had not obeyed the Lord – Would Samuel had come?

Samuel’s prized possession was a godly mother who spent her years agonizing in prayer for her boy that was left in the Temple. The influence of a godly home, the solemn dedication to the sanctuary, and the fact that he had been given as an offering before God – were great prizes to this boy/man. His mother visited year to year strengthening the impressions that were already made in his tender years. All of this made for a powerful, faithful, and dynamic man of God – Samuel the Prophet.

Samuel’s mother, Hannah, kept her vow that she would dedicate the child to the Lord for service, and therefore, she did so. Samuel was presented to the Lord at the Temple and received as a young servant by the Old Priest Eli in Shiloh. Later, Samuel hears the voice of the Lord calling him to service, as we see in the text, to which was in the night hours. Samuel did not recognize it as the voice of God and ran to ask Eli about it. Eli gave him admonition after Samuel did this a couple times. When Samuel heard the Lord’s voice for the third time, he did as Eli told him to do, and said to the Lord, “speak; for thy servant heareth.” Samuel heard the prophecy against his house, the house of Eli and Samuel had the task as a young lad to pronounce judgment upon Eli’s house. Samuel waits for Eli to inquire for he feared to tell Eli of the conversation, to which Eli pleaded with Samuel to “hide it not from me.” Samuel was then established as the Prophet of the Lord, and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh and revealed Himself to Samuel.

His Work for the Lord

Samuel’s work and ministry included many things, especially being a first leader and “father” of the School of the Prophets. Samuel was the “Seer,” “Prophet,” and “High Priest.” He was a genuine representative of which God was working through in that hour after 300 years of silent religion in the land. He attained the High office of High Priest, which was made sacred by Aaron. He was truly “Yahweh” messenger and God had honored him with a Divine Call that gave him special revelations for the people. He was successful in restoring the kingdom.

He was also the first circuit judge in the Land of Israel. Through 40 years of his adult life, beginning at about age twenty, he did this work. He continued to be a judge after Saul was chosen until the kingdom was established. He judged Israel and exercised the office of a Prophet at the same time. He was used by God to choose and anoint kings, outline the terms of the kingdom, and oversee the king in his conquests. Samuel was highly esteemed as Prophet, Teacher, Priest, and Judge in Israel until his death around 38 years after the reign of King Saul.

Samuel was a deeply religious/spiritual person from childhood, was obedient to Yahweh, as well as to Eli and his parents. He was a magnanimous person in his thoughts and acts, and was a man of outstanding integrity. His burning social passion kept him active in helping his people, and through his long life, he spent himself, carrying the nation of Israel upon his heart.

It is amazing that one person could be such a great leader doing all kinds of things for the Lord. It is inspiring to see that the Lord designed him for such a great purpose, and he was so obedient in all the things that the Lord wanted him to do according to His Will. With what he accomplished, it was great that so many lives were touched because of him.

He was needed by others – see other accounts

In 1 Chronicles 6:28, we see the sons of Samuel, which were his firstborn Vashni, and Abiah. In Psalm 99:6, we see Samuel was among Moses and Aaron & priests as the chief – to which, they would call upon the Lord…and this includes complete worship of the Lord that Samuel led them. Jeremiah 15:1 talks about even though that Moses and Samuel stood before Him just as Jeremiah was doing, He did not want them in His sight (told him to cast them out of His sight and go forth).

We look next in Acts 3:24 in Samuel’s days the word of the Lord was precious or rare. There were many prophets from Samuel, and all have foretold of these days – as it explains. Then, in Acts 13:20, we see after the judges of 450 years, Samuel the prophet came. Lastly, in Hebrews 11:32-33, Samuel was described with others that through faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, etc.

Samuel had a great following, and worked great with fellow prophets and leaders, which was very helpful in chronicling all that the Lord had done.

How Samuel compares to Jesus Christ

SamuelJesus Christ
The High Priest Eli blessed Hannah’s son, Samuel, before his birth (1 Samuel 1:17)An angel blessed Mary before the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:30)
Hannah brought Samuel along with a sacrifice to dedicate him to God (1 Samuel 1:24-28)After purification, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple with an offering (Luke 2:22-24)
The parents went to the Tabernacle annually (1 Samuel 2:19)The parents went to the Temple yearly (Luke 2:41)
Samuel became of service to the TabernacleJesus studied and became of service in the Temple
Samuel would be given to Israel after a long silenceJesus would be given to Israel after a long silence
A boy who grew in favor of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:26)A boy who grew in wisdom and favor of the Lord and with men (Luke 2:52)
Samuel partially fulfilled God’s Promise of raising a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Samuel 3:19-21)Jesus Christ completely fulfilled God’s Promise of a prophet, but this One was and is better than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Samuel established kingship in Israel (1 Samuel 10:24-25)Jesus is the true Kingship of Israel and the world as a whole (Luke 1:32-33)