Study of I Samuel



The books of Samuel apparently derive their name from the fact that Samuel was the principal character in the first part and also that he was the one who anointed the other two principal characters, Saul and David.

In the original Hebrew Bible these two books were apparently regarded as a single book. The translators of the Septuagint (LXX) divided the book into two books and this division has been followed. In the Septuagint the two books of Samuel were called the First and Second Books of Kingdoms while the two books of Kings were called the Third and Fourth Books of Kingdoms. The Vulgate changed the title to the Books of Kings. The designation "Samuel" has been retained in the English translation.

The author is unknown. Unger's Bible Dictionary states that "in all probability the author was a prophet in the monarchial period who employed earlier sources left by Samuel, Gad, Nathan (I Chron. 29:29) and possibly others " (p. 964). Others have suggested that due to a statement in I Samuel 27: 6 ("Ziglag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day") the books were not completed in their present form until sometime after the division of the kingdom.

The purpose of the books of Samuel is to record the founding of the Hebrew monarchy. As such they include the careers of Samuel, Saul, and David.

The following outlines are from Gleason L. Archer's A Survey of Old

Testament Introduction, p. 270-271:

I. The Career of Samuel and the Deliverance from Philistia, 1:1 - 7:17

A. Samuel's mother and her song, 1:1 - 2:10

B. Samuel's apprenticeship in the temple, 2:11 - 3:21

C. The disaster of Shiloh and the death of Eli, 4:1-22

D. The captivity of the ark in Philistia, 5:1 - 6:21

E. The return of the ark to Israel, 7:1-17

II. The Rise of King Saul, 8:1 - 15:35

A. The Israelites' petition for a king, 8:1-22

B. Saul anointed by Samuel and vindicated by victory, 9:1 - 11:15

C. Samuel's final address, 12:1-25

D. Victories of Saul and Jonathan over the Philistines, 13:1 - 14:52

E. The Amalekite campaign and Saul's disobedience, 15:1-35

III. The Decline of Saul and the Rise of David, 16:1 - 31:13

A. David anointed by Samuel and introduced to the court, 16:1-23

B. David's deliverance of Israel by slaying Goliath, 17:1-58

C. David's flight from Saul's jealousy, 18:1 - 20:42

D. David's wanderings as an outlaw, 21:1 - 30:31

E. Saul's final warning and death on Mount Gilboa, 31:1-13

I. David's Career as King over Judah and All Israel, 1:1 - 14:33

A. David's lamentation over the death of Saul and Jonathan, 1:1-27

B. The crowning of David at Hebron; the war with Abner, 2:1-32

C. Abner's defection and murder by Joab, 3:1-39

D. The assassination of Ishbosheth, 4:1-12

E. Establishment of national and religious unity, 5:1 - 6:23

F. God's covenant with David: the Messianic King, 7:1-29

G. Extension of David's rule to the limits of the Promised Land, 8:1 - 10:19

H. David's sin with Bathsheba and his repentance, 11:1 - 12:31

I. The crimes of Amnon and Absalom, 13:1 - 14:33

II. The Closing Phase of David's Reign, 15:1 - 24:25

A. Absalom's rebellion and final defeat, 15:1 - 18:33

B. David's restoration to power , 19:1 - 20:26

C. The famine and the Gibeonites' revenge upon Saul's descendants, 21:1-14

D. Later wars with the Philistines, 21:15-22

E. David's psalm of praise and final testimony, 22:1 - 23:7

F. The list of David's mighty men, 23:8-39

G. David's sin in numbering the people; the plague stopped at the site of the temple, 24:1-25