Author: Ron Graham
—And his likeness to Moses and Joshua
Time ~ 4. Conquest of Canaan
Span ~ 170 years
Books ~ Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1Samuel
Figures ~ Joshua, Samuel
Begins with ~ Entry into promised Land across Jordan
In our study of the conquest of Canaan, we have looked at both the time of Joshua and of the twelve judges who followed him. Now we come to Samuel's story.
Samuel's story takes place near the end of the time of the conquest, and at the beginning of Israel's becoming a kingdom.
1 A Great Man of God
Israel's condition was sad when Samuel was a boy. As one woman said in her dying hour, "The glory has departed from Israel" (1Samuel 4:22).
She was referring to the fact that the ark of the LORD had been captured by the Philistines, but the statement was true generally as well.
It is said that "in those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions" (1Samuel 3:1).
But Samuel turns Israel back to God to a great degree. Idols are cast out and Israel begins to conquer again.
With Samuel judging the nation, it unites and strengthens. He prepares the nation to become a great kingdom.
Samuel ranks with the first judges, Moses and Joshua. He was a great and faithful man of God.
2 Bible Summary (1 Samuel 1-7)
- Hophni and Phineas, the two sons of Eli at Shiloh (1)
- Elkanah (descendant of Joseph through Ephraim) has two wives: Fertile Deninnah, barren Hannah. He loves Hanah most (1)
- Hannah silently prays and weeps for a son. She vows to dedicate the son to God for life (1)
- Hannah bears Samuel, nurses him till weaned (1)
- Hannah takes Samuel to Shiloh and gives him over to Eli (1)
- Hannah's prayer --a psalm of praise (2)
- Eli's sons are wicked (2)
- The little boy Samuel ministers to the LORD, his mother makes his robes and brings a new one every year (2)
- Curse on Eli's household and a blessing on Samuel (2)
- God calls Samuel, and Eli tells Samuel how to answer (3)
- Samuel receives from God a vision about Eli (3)
- The Philistines defeat Israel (4)
- The ark of the covenant is captured and Eli's sons die (4)
- Old Eli falls of his chair in shock and dies (4)
- His daughter in law also in shock, goes into labour and dies giving birth to Ichabod Eli's grandson (4)
- The ark causes Dagon the Philistine god to fall on its face (5)
- The ark causes deadly confusion and plague (5)
- The Philistines seek and follow advice from diviners (6)
- The ark is returned in a strange manner. People rejoice (6)
- Men of idle curiosity look into the ark and die. People mourn (7)
- The ark entrusted to Abinadab (7)
- Samuel judges Israel and the Philistines are routed (7)
- Samuel's Ebenezer, "Stone of Help" (7)
- Samuel jusges Israel from place to place on an annual circuit (7)
3 The Main Point
As a boy, Samuel was described in the same terms as would one day describe the boy Jesus."And the boy continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men" (1Samuel 2:26, Luke 2:52).
He became a man of justice and righteousness, and he worked hard to bring people back to God. He was dedicated to God, first by his mother, then by himself. How better to spend a life?
4 A few facts about Samuel
- Just as Joshua is the figure who links the WILDERNESS WANDERING with the CONQUEST OF CANAAN, so Samuel is the figure who links the CONQUEST OF CANAAN with the KINGDOM OF DAVID.
- Samuel was the last of the judges. Counting Moses, Joshua, the twelve other judges, Samuel was the fifteenth judge. He did appoint his two sons as judges but they failed because they were corrupt and so the people rejected them.
- He was the son of Hannah whose barren womb God opened when she prayed earnestly to God (1Samuel 1).
- Samuel was a "seer" —a prophet of God (1Samuel 9). He was also a priest —son of a Levite from Ephraim (1Samuel 1:1, 2Chr 6:33-38)
- He was dedicated under the Nazirite vow (1Samuel 1, Numbers 6)
- Samuel was called by God (1Samuel 3) and he devoted his life to turning Israel back from idolatry to serving the living God.
- He was a man of integrity. "Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated or oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe that I should shut my eyes?" (1Samuel 12:3-5).
- Samuel annointed Saul and David, the first king of Israel (1Samuel 10, 16).