1 Samuel

Part of Chronological Bible Study more Here if you wish to follow along or comment
Reading 1 Samuel (varies chapters)

This starts with the miraculous birth of Samuel in answer to his mother’s earnest prayer.
The prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10
As a child, Samuel lived and served in the temple. God singled him out as a prophet (3:19-21), and the child’s first prophecy was one of judgment on the corrupt priests.

The Israelites go to war with their perennial enemies, the Philistines. The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and are in temporary possession of it, but when the Lord sends judgment, the Philistines return the ark. Samuel calls Israel to repentance (7:3-6) and then to victory over the Philistines.

The people of Israel, wanting to be like other nations, desire a king. Samuel is displeased by their demands, but the Lord tells him that it is not Samuel’s leadership they are rejecting, but His own.
After warning the people of what having a king would mean, Samuel anoints a Benjamite named Saul, who is crowned in Mizpah (10:17-25).

Saul enjoys initial success, defeating the Ammonites in battle (ch11). But then; he presumptuously offers a sacrifice (ch 13), he makes a foolish vow at the expense of his son Jonathan (ch 14), and he disobeys the Lord’s direct command (ch 15).
As a result of Saul’s rebellion, God chooses another to take Saul’s place. Meanwhile, God removes His blessing from Saul, and an evil spirit begins goading Saul toward madness (16:14).
Samuel travels to Bethlehem to anoint a youth named David as the next king (ch16).

Later, David has his famous confrontation with Goliath the Philistine and becomes a national hero (ch 17).
The Israelites trembled as they heard the voice of Goliath. Nobody was brave or strong enough to fight with this giant Philistine.  One day, David came to the Israelites’ camp to see his brothers.  He heard the words of Goliath.  He was amazed that the Israelites were all afraid.  “I will go and fight with this Philistine” David said.  When the king knew about David’s intention, he said “You are not able to fight for you are a youth, and the Philistine is a man of war”.  
David replied “The lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear when I kept my father’s sheep, will deliver me.” The king said “Go, then, and the Lord shall be with you.”  
Unarmed, except for his staff, his shepherd’s sling and a few stones, David went to confront the giant. 
 “Today the Lord will deliver you into my hands and all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” David replied.  David ran fearlessly towards the Philistine giant, he slipped one of the stones into his sling, and skillfully flung it so that it hit Goliath in the forehead, who fell to the ground.  When the Philistine army saw that their champion is dead, they fled the battle.  

David serves in Saul’s court, marries Saul’s daughter, and is befriended by Saul’s son. Saul himself grows jealous of David’s success and popularity, and he attempts to kill David.
David flees, and so begins an extraordinary period of adventure, intrigue, and romance. With Gods aid, David narrowly but consistently eludes the bloodthirsty Saul (chapters 19-26). Through it all, David maintains his integrity and his friendship with Jonathan.

In the end, Samuel has died, and Saul is a lost man. On the eve of a battle with Philistia, Saul seeks for answers. Having rejected God, he finds no help from heaven, and he seeks counsel from a medium instead.
During the séance, Samuel’s spirit rises from the dead to give one last prophecy: Saul would die in battle the next day. The prophecy is fulfilled; Saul’s three sons, including Jonathan, fall in battle, and Saul commits suicide.

The tragic is the story of Saul. Here was a man who had it all—honor, authority, riches, good looks, and more. Yet he died in despair, terrified of his enemies and knowing he had failed his nation, his family, and his God.

Saul made the mistake of thinking he could please God through disobedience.
Like many today, he believed that a sensible motive will compensate for bad behavior. Perhaps his power went to his head, and he began to think he was above the rules.
Somehow he developed a low opinion of God’s commands and a high opinion of himself.
Obedience to God’s will is necessary for success, and if we in pride rebel against Him, we set ourselves up for loss.

David, in contrast did not seem like much at first. Even Samuel was tempted to overlook him (16:6-7). But God sees the heart and saw in David a man after His own heart (13:14).

The humility and integrity of David, coupled with his boldness for the Lord and his commitment to prayer, set a good example for all of us.

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