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1 Samuel
Book type: History
Author: Samuel, Nathan, Gad.
No. of chapters: 31
Key character(s): God, Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, David, Goliath, Jonathan. [1]
Brief description: 1 Samuel – Looking for a leader.
Theological outline:
01) God gives his people an example of dedicated leadership (1:1-7:17)
02) Human kingship represents a compromise with God by a people who have rejected the kingship of God (8:1-15:35)
03) God raises up new leadership for his people (16:1-31:13)

Samuel means “heard of God”, “asked of God”, “name of God,” or “his name is El” (God) in Hebrew.

Did God choose David and his descendants to lead Israel and Judah?

The books of 1 & 2 Samuel deal with the central themes of the Bible:
01) The activity of God in human history.
02) The consequences of human sin
03) The grace of God that is greater than all our sin.
[Source: NIV Disciple’s Study Bible]

1 Samuel is a record of triumph and tragedy. Its three main characters, Samuel the prophet, Saul, and David are among the most powerful people in the Bible, yet their lives were scarred by far-reaching mistakes.

1 Samuel records Israel’s change from a theocracy, a country run by God, to a monarchy, a country led by human royalty.

Samuel was the last of Israel’s judges and the first of its prophets.
Saul, anointed by Samuel, became Israel’s first king, but his sin took him away from God.
David, son of Jesse and Israel’s second king, began a family dynasty that ultimately produced the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ.

Within this book occur the inspiring story of Hannah, the battle of David and Goliath, the friendship of David and Jonathan, and the bizarre seance with the witch of Endor.

Themes in the Book of 1 Samuel:
God is sovereign. Whether Israel was under judges or kings, its destiny ultimately depended on God, because all rulers answer to him.
Everyday events can be part of God’s greater plan. Only God can see the big picture. He is constantly orchestrating events to work together to fulfill his purpose. 1 Samuel lets the reader glimpse behind the scenes to see how God used many people to turn David into the ancestor of the Messiah.

God looks at the heart. Both Saul and David sinned, but God redeemed David, who repented and walked in his ways.
[Source: http://christianity.about.com/od/oldtestamentbooks/a/JZ-1-Samuel.htm]

Fuller list of major characters in the book of 1 Samuel:

EliHigh priest. Descended from Aaron through Ithamar. Acted as judge of Israel for 40 years, being the immediate predecessor of Samuel. Hophni and Phinehas were his sons.
HannahWife of Elkanah (a Levite of Ephratah) and mother of Samuel.
SamuelThe son of Elkanah & Hannah. Dedicate to the Lord as a Nazirite by Hannah. Last judge of Israel.
SaulFirst king of Israel. Saul’s capital was at Gibeah, three miles north of Jerusalem. Had 4 sons: Jonathan, Abinadab, Malchishua and Ish-bosheth & 2 daughters: Merab and Michal.
DavidKilled Goliath as a boy with a sling stone. 2nd king of Israel. Had 8 wives, concubines & at least 19 sons, including Solomon, the 3rd king of Israel.
GoliathPhilistine warrior giant, killed by David.
JonathanSon of king Saul, close friend of David.