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I & 2 SAMUEL: INTRODUCTION

I. TITLE OF THE BOOK:


A. Samuel’s name means in Hebrew: “heard of God”, “the name of God”, or “His name is God”.

1. Samuel is the key character (1:20)

a. He anointed the two other main characters of the two books: Saul and David (I Sam. 10:1, 16:13).

2. Samuel is the nation of Israel’s prophetic leader (3:20).


B. The two books were one book in the Hebrew Bible under the heading of the “Former Prophets” (cf. I Sam. 31:7, 2 Sam. 1)

1. The LXX (Septuagint) first to divide – First and Second Books of the Kingdoms

2. The Vulgate – First and Second Books of Kings

3. English Bible- First and Second Samuel


II. AUTHOR AND DATE:

 

A. No internal evidence points to one particular writer.

1. Samuel a strong possibility at least up to his death (I Sam. 10:25, 25:1).

2. Nathan and Gad are possibly involved authors (I Chron. 29:29).  

 

B. Possibly compiled long after the events actually occurred.

1. Looking back to time when prophets were “seers” (I Sam. 9:9)

2. Possibly after the kingdom of Israel was divided – became Israel and Judah  (I Sam. 18:16)

C. Time of events in the two books:

1. Approximately 130 years.

a. Life of Samuel to Saul’s selection as King – 50 years (I Sam. 8:1, 6)

b. Saul’s reign – 40 years (Acts 3:21).

c. David’s reign – 40 years (2 Sam. 5:4).

2. Approximately 1101 B.C. – 971 B.C.


III. IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE BOOKS:


A. I Samuel provides the historical account linked by the birth of Samuel, the last of the Judges, unto the death of Saul, the first of the kings (I Sam. 1:20; 10:1, 13:1, 31:5).

1. The ark of the Lord and the Philistines (4:1-7:2)

2. Israel desires a king like the other nations around them (8:20).

3. Saul’s rejection as king (13:1-15:35).

a. A striking and sobering lesson on obedience (15:22).

4. David anointed as King (16:1-17:58)

5. David fleeing from Saul (18:1-28:2)

a. Friendship of Jonathan and David (19:1, 20:17)

b. Saul and the witch of Endor (28:7-25)


B. 2 Samuel provides the historical account of the reign of David over Israel up to his old age (cf. 2 Sam. 24; I Kings 1).

1. David’s triumphs (2 Sam. 2-10).

a. Rules in Hebron for seven and one-half years (5:4-5)

b. Rules in Jerusalem thirty three years (5:4-5)

c. Sobering lesson on consequences of sin (6:3, 6)

d. Messianic promise of everlasting King (7:12-13; Acts 2:30)

2. David’s sin (2 Sam. 11-12)

a. Adultery with Bathsheba

b. Has Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, killed

3. David’s troubles (2 Sam. 13-20)

a. Own family – Absalom’s sin and rebellion

4. David’s last acts and words (2 Sam. 21-24)

a. David’s Psalm of praise (Chapter 23)

b. David’s sin of numbering the people (Chapter 24)


IV. MAIN CHARACTERS:


A. SAMUEL – Prophet, Priest, Judge (I Sam. 3:20, Acts 3:24, Heb. 11:32, I Sam. 2:11, I Chron. 6:33-38, I Sam. 7:15, Acts 13:20).

1. God approved man (Psm. 99:6, Jer. 15:1)

2. Leader of company of prophets (I Sam. 19:18-20)


B. SAUL – King with great promise who fails.

1. Physical superiority (9:2)

2. Modest (9:21), Discreet (10:27), foe against sorcery (28:3).

3. Saul’s disobedience (13:13, 15:24)

4. Jealousy leads to Saul playing “the fool” (18:8, 26:21).

 

C. DAVID – Israel’s great King

1. Man after God’s own heart (cf. Acts 13:22)

2. Sin followed by contrite heart (2 Sam. 11-12, Psm. 51)

3. Only character in the Bible named “David”


V. LESSONS FOR STUDY:

A. Twelve lessons:

1. Samuel as Judge (I Sam. 1-7).

2. Samuel anoints Saul as King (I Sam. 8-12)

3. Saul’s early reign (I Sam. 13-15)

4. God chooses David as King (I Sam. 16-17)

5. Saul’s jealousy of David (I Sam. 18-19:17)

6. David’s flight from Saul (I Sam. 19:18-26)

7. David’s continued flight and Saul’s death (I Sam. 27-2 Sam. 1)

8. David’s early reign in Hebron and Jerusalem (2 Sam. 2-8)

9. David’s sin (2 Sam. 9-12)

10. David’s trouble with his son Absalom (2 Sam. 13-18:32)

11. David returns to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 18:33-20)

12. David’s last acts and words – Appendices (2 Sam. 21-24).