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Book of 1 Samuel


Authorship and Origin:

The story of this book is of two men, Samuel, Israel's last judge, and Saul, Israel's first king. It marks the changing from the time of judges to the era of kings. The author of this book is unknown, although Hebrew tradition says that Samuel himself may have written it. Saul's reign as king began about 1050 B.C., at which time Samuel had sons that were old enough to serve as judges under Saul. So, Samuel must have been born around 1100 B.C., or around the time of Samson, a contemporary judge. Samuel was a great judge, as well as prophet and priest. Saul unfortunately, although starting out well, yielded to the pressures and powers and became corrupted, and finally died in jealousy and depression.

It is interesting to note, that in Hebrew, I and II Samuel are one book. They contain the history of Israel from Eli to King David. And it is also considered, that the books of Samuel and Kings were once a single volume, but because of their size, were sub-divided into the four books we know today.

Overview and Significant sections

It is important to study I Samuel, because it contains some of the great Old Testament Bible stories, and gives illustrations of great truths in the lives of it's characters. From it can be seen the rewards and costs of committment to God as well as failure to trust God. Therefore, the best way to approach the book is based on the lives of it's characters.

Significant sections:

  • Samuel's early life, Hannah, Hannah's prayer, Eli and his sons. 1:1-3:21
  • Defeat at Aphek (by the Philistines), the 'ark' taken, later returned. 3:1-6:21
  • At Mizpah. Israel with God's help defeats the Philistines 7
  • Israel demands a king. 8


  • Saul annointed as king. 9:1-12:25
  • Due to various flaws, Saul is rejected as king. 13:1-15:35
  • David is secretly annointed as king, David defeats Goliath, but Saul is jealous! 16:1-20:42
  • David is a fugitive, eventually Saul dies. 21:1-31:13

For more detailed study:
Read Chapter 1. (the entire book is available starting here.)
The Concise Matthew Henry Commentary on this book. introduction of this book.
the World Wide Study Bible has Dictionary, Commentary, Scripture and sermons available on this book.