Article Index

Names of the Book


English:  1 Samuel
Hebrew:  שׁמוּאל א
Transliterated:  Shemuel Alef
Other names:   



Wrote the book:  Primarily Samuel plus Nathan and Gad
(see 1 Chronicles 29:29)
Are the key people:  Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, David
Is it written to:  The people of Israel



Eli and Samuel and the war with the Philistines  (1 Samuel 1:1-7:17)
Samuel and Saul and G-d's rejection of Saul for his disobedience (1 Samuel 8:1-15:35)
Saul and David and Saul's rejection of David (1 Samuel 16:1-31:13)



Was it written:  unknown
Did the events occur:  c 1100-1000 BCE
Was it canonized:  c 499-100 BCE
(see the Timeline of the Tanakh)



Was it written:  unknown location in Israel
Did the events occur:  The land of Israel: Ephraim, Shiloh, Ebenezer, Ashdod, Mizpah, and others



1 Samuel was written to inform us that: 
G-d is King
G-d is in control
G-d appoints various kinds of leaders (judges, prophets, priests, and kings)
G-d requires obedience
G-d is faithful even when we aren't



First Samuel is a historical narrative that records the establishment and early periods of Israel's monarchy.  After the time of the Judges, Samuel leads Israel as prophet, priest, and judge.  Israel demands Samuel set a king over them like the nations around them and G-d directs Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel's first king.  David kills the giant Philistine, Goliath, and consequently enters Saul's court where he becomes the friend of Saul's son, Jonathan.  David later becomes the leader of Saul's armies and enjoys great success in battle.  Saul turns away from G-d and disobeys His commands so Samuel anoints David to succeed Saul to the throne.  Saul becomes violently jealous towards David as a result, which forces him to flee. The book concludes with Saul's death in battle at the hands of the Philistines.




Chapter Description
1 Elkanah and his two wives, Hannah and Peninnah, visit the tabernacle at Shiloh annually.
Hannah has no children and Peninnah mocks her barrenness.
Hannah prays to G-d but Eli, the priest, thinks she is drunk.
G-d opens Hannah’s womb and she gives birth to Samuel.
Hannah gives Samuel to G-d in Shiloh.
2 Hannah praises G-d.
Eli’s sons sin greatly against G-d.
Hannah annually brings new robes to Samuel and he serves G-d.
G-d warns Eli about his sons’ behavior and His coming judgment against Eli and his sons.
3 Samuel ministers in tabernacle and hears G-d’s voice.
G-d reveals Eli’s future judgment to Samuel.
Samuel grows and gains respect as G-d’s prophet.
4 Israel goes to war with the Philistines and is defeated.
The Philistines capture the ark of the covenant.
Eli, his sons, and his daughter-in-law die.
5 The Philistines take the ark of the covenant to the temple of their false god, Dagon.
Dagon falls down before ark.
The people of Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, Ashkelon, and Ekron are plagued with mice and become sick or die.
6 The Philistines return the ark to Israel with a guilt offering of five gold mice and five golden “tumors”.
The Israelites in Beth Shemesh receive the ark and many are killed because they opened it and looked into it.
7 The ark is brought to Kiriath-jearim.
Samuel speaks to Israel about their sin and they repent.
The Philistines attack Israel and the Israelites are victorious.
Samuel is a judge in Israel.
8 Samuel’s sons serve as judges in Israel but are corrupt.
As a result, the elders of Israel request Samuel to give them a king like the nations around them.
Samuel is displeased and G-d has Samuel warn Israel of the consequences of their choice.
Israel does not heed Samuel’s warning and insists on having a king.
9 Saul goes looking for his father's sheep and visits Samuel.
G-d tells Samuel that Saul will be king.
Samuel tells Saul he will be king over Israel.
10 Samuel anoints Saul as king, the Spirit of G-d comes upon Saul and he prophesies.
Samuel calls Israel together at Mizpah.
Saul hides but is found.
Samuel proclaims Saul king but some people reject Saul as their king.
11 The Ammonites besiege the city of Jabesh-gilead in Israel.
Saul calls the Israelites to fight against the Ammonites and Israel is victorious.
Saul is made king by all.
12 Samuel speaks to Israel about their history and their desire for a king.
Samuel exhorts them to serve G-d and keep his commandments.
G-d sends thunder and rain.
Israel repents.
13 Saul reigns over Israel for forty-two years.
The Philistines make war with Israel.
Saul sins by making offerings himself instead of waiting for Samuel.
Israel prepares for battle against Philistines but only Saul and his son have swords or spears.
14 Saul's son, Jonathan, and six hundred men fight against the Philistines.
Saul and other warriors of Israel join and defeat the Philistines.
The Israelites sin and eat meat with blood still in it.
Saul reigns.
15 Samuel reminds Saul of G-d's command to destroy the Amalekites.
Saul leads Israel in destroying Amalekites but disobeys G-d by sparing their cattle and their king.
Saul repents but Samuel says G-d has taken the kingship from him.
Samuel kills the Amalekite king.
16 G-d leads Samuel to Bethlehem where he selects and anoints David as the next king of Israel.
An evil spirit from the LORD terrorizes Saul.
David plays his harp for Saul and gives him ease from the evil spirit.
Saul loves David.
17 The Philistines gather against Israel.
The Philistine giant Goliath challenges Israel and mocks G-d.
David defeats Goliath with a sling and stones.
18 Saul's son, Jonathan is friends with David.
David leads Israel's army in numerous victories.
Saul tries to kill David but he escapes.
David behaves shrewdly and marries Saul's daughter, Michal.
19 Evil spirits afflict Saul and cause him to try to kill David several times.
Jonathan and Michal protect David.
David flees to Ramah.
Saul's messengers prophesy when they are sent to capture David.
Saul pursues David and also prophesies.
20 David avoids Saul's new moon feast and Jonathan protects him.
Saul is angry with David and Jonathan.
Jonathan makes a covenant with David.
David flees from Saul.
21 David comes to Nob to Ahimelech the priest and asks for help.
Ahimelech gives David consecrated bread and Goliath's sword.
David flees to Achish king of Gath and pretends to be crazy.
22 David escapes to the cave of Adullam and about four hundred men become his army.
David leaves his parents with the king of Moab for their safety.
David travels to Hareth forest.
Saul asks the Benjamites to betray David into his hand. Only Doeg the Edomite betrays David.
Saul orders Doeg to kill Ahimelech and 84 other priests.
23 David defeats the Philistines at the city of Keilah.
Jonathan and David make a covenant at Horesh.
Saul continues to hunt David who is hiding in the wilderness strongholds of Ziph.
Saul goes to fight a Philistine invasion and David goes to Engedi.
24 Saul hunts for David in Engedi.
David sneaks up on Saul while he is sleeping, cuts off part of his garment, and proves he does not want to kill Saul by sparing his life.
Saul repents and accepts David.
Saul returns home.
25 Samuel the prophet dies.
David requests food and water from Nabal but he is harsh and evil and declines David's request.
David goes to attack Nabal's city with four hundred men but Nabal's wife, Abigail pleads for mercy.
The LORD strikes Nabal and he dies.
David marries Abigail and Ahinoam.
Saul gives his daughter Michal (David's wife) to another man.
26 Saul hunts for David in Ziph.
While Saul is sleeping, David takes his spear and water jug proving again that David does not want to kill him.
Saul repents and accepts David.
27 David, his wives, and his six hundred warriors flee to the Philistine city of Gath to escape Saul.
David and his men raid the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekites.
28 The Philistines plan to fight Israel and King Achish makes David his bodyguard.
Saul visits the fortune teller at En-dor and talks with the spirit of Samuel who tells Saul that Israel will be defeated.
29 The Philistines gather all their armies against Israel.
David and his men assemble with Achish and the Philistines.
The Philistines are displeased at David's presence and send him and his men away from the battle.
30 David and his men come to Ziklag and discover the Amalekites have captured all its inhabitants including all of their wives and children.
David inquires of G-d who tells David to pursue the Amalekites.
David and his men defeat the Amalekites and recover all their people and possessions.
31 The Philistines fight against Israel and kill Saul's sons.
King Saul is wounded and kills himself to avoid falling into enemy hands.
Israel flees from the Philistines.
Saul is buried.


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