The passage I selected, 1 Samuel 1:28, tells the story of the birth of Samuel and begins with a story about Samuel’s mother, Hannah, who prays for a child during the family’s annual pilgrimage to worship at Shiloh. Eli, the priest at Shiloh, hears her prayer and tells Hannah that her prayer will be answered. Hannah promises the Lord that if she is granted a child, she will return him to the Lord and his life will be dedicated to the Lord’s work. The birth of Samuel was the first step in Gods plan to give Israel deliverance from their Philistine enemies. Samuel evolves as an important figure in telling the story of the Israelites’ move from the judges’ leadership to the establishment of a kingship.
1 Samuel is presented in the form of a narrative account of the life and contributions of Samuel. Like most of the bible, scholars have tried to determine the author, date of writing, purpose of the text and the historical and chronological order of events. The author is unknown. Some scholars believe Zabud, son of the prophet Nathan, a priest and the “personal adviser'; to King Solomon, wrote the text shortly after Solomon’s death. Others believe Samuel himself wrote the text, while some scholars believe the priest, Ahimaaz, was the author. Most do agree that the composition and editing took place in several stages over a considerable period of time.
Scholars also believe the text of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were originally one manuscript. These scholars believe the book of Samuel was written as a part of a whole sequence beginning with Joshua and ending with Kings. Others believe two literary sources lay behind the present form of Samuel. Though differences have been noted, such as the story of David and Goliath being much shorter in the Septuagint, these scholars still have not determined the author, time of writing or the purpose of the text. I noted some minor textual differences in my research but the main theme and message remained the same in all sources that I verified.
The priestly families of this time were politically influential. The most important leader of the time for the Ephramites, Samuel’s parents’ tribe, was Eli. Whole families made pilgrimages once a year to sanctuaries, such as Shiloh, to worshi...
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...this child and dedicate his life to the Lord’s work. When we receive the grace of God, we must return it through proper worship and giving to God through our service.
Samuel was an important figure who led people through his prophecies and his relationship with God. He is also a man who later selects, anoints and gives the people of Israel their first King. Just as Hannah received God’s grace through the birth of Samuel, the future of Israel through the king’s leadership is a gift from God. Samuel is a key figure, but God is the divine ruler.
Metzger, Bruce and Murphy, Roland, eds. The New Interpreters Bible.
Vol. 2 of 12 Vols. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994.
Wenham, G.J., Moyter, J.A., Carson, D.A. and France, R.T., eds. New Bible Commentary. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1998.
Kohlenberger, III, John R. and Barker, Kenneth L., eds. Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary: An Abridgement of the Expositors Bible Commentary. Chicago: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.
Tullock, John H. The Old Testament Story. (5th Edition) New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999.
Barker, Kenneth L., ed. NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1995.
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