Key Verse – 1 Samuel 8:5
Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
These books were originally regarded as one book by the Jews. They were not divided into two until the Septuagint translation was published where they were known as the 1st and 2nd Books of the Kingdoms. As Samuel’s death is recorded in 1 Samuel 25:1 he is not considered the author. While the prophets did record events after their death they do so prophetically, not historically. As these books are written as history we cannot view Samuel as the author and there is no biblical warrant for doing so. It is probable that he wrote that which occurred in his lifetime with Nathan and Gad completing the work, for which there is some biblical basis (1 Chronicles 29:29).
Samuel; The young boy called to serve in a dark place, as a response to his mother Hannah’s prayers is one of the great bible stories. Samuel is the last and perhaps the greatest of the Judges. He serves as the link between that era and the days of the monarchy. As a prophet he led the nation into spiritual renewal and served as a spiritual mentor to both Saul and David.
Saul; The first King of Israel who while physically strong proved himself to be spiritually weak.
David; The man after God’s own heart who succeeded Saul after many battles and trials through which he remained true to God.
Eli; The last of the priests who ruled, whose lack of discipline discredited his office, but who was also a man who knew God.
Jonathan; David’s confident and friend who died with Saul in battle.
Abner; Saul’s captain who delivered the Kingdom up to David.
Joab; Great soldier and leader, loyal to David but cunning and murderous who stopped at nothing to protect his power.
Nathan and Gad; Prophets who played pivotal roles; 2nd Samuel 7, 12, 24.
Bathsheba; A woman who was both wrong but who capitulated in adultery, who nevertheless became the mother of Solomon, David’s successor.
Shiloh; The resting place of the tabernacle in the days of the Judges.
Ramah; Samuel’s home; the location from where he judged Israel.
Bethlehem; David’s home and place of great Messianic importance.
Gath; Goliath’s home and a major Philistine city.
Mount Gilboa; The place where Saul died.
Jerusalem; Consolidated by David as the seat of power.
Leadership; Leaders must be chosen and anointed by God yet they are responsible to God for their work and will be be held accountable for failure. In the three great leaders in the Books of Samuel we observe men with feet of clay. It is a reminder that great men always fail.
The Ark; This most important piece of religious furniture still represented the presence of God. It was taken when the glory departed (1 Samuel 4:21), it remained in Kirjath-jearim because of failure (7:1-2), the judgement upon Uzzah for touching the ark (2nd Samuel 6:7), the house of Obed Edom was blessed for housing the ark (6:12) and there was rejoicing when it was returned to the tabernacle (6:17-18).
Friendship and Loyalty; The friendship between David and Jonathan is the greatest example of fellowship in the Bible. Jonathan’s self sacrifice and David’s commitment to the promise he made long after the death of friend has much to commend.
Messianic; Christ is chiefly revealed through the tracing of the line out of which he would spring, the
House of David. The Kingdom established by David is a prefiguring of the Kingdom which Christ established, the Church. David in his commendable characteristics, particularly in his earlier years certainly is a type of Christ (1 Samuel 13:14).
1st Samuel – The Birth of the Monarchy
Samuel, The Last of the Judges
7:12; In a time of terrible apostasy God honoured Samuel’s ministry.
Saul Chosen and Crowned
9:16; Saul while chosen by God, was selected to gratify the people.
The Theocracy had come to an end, rule by the prophets was over.
Chapters 11 – 15
Saul’s Weakness and Rejection
15:22-23; Solemnly the blessing of God was removed from Saul.
Chapters 16 -17
David; The Anointed of the Lord
16:12-13; An unlikely hero was chosen by God to succeed Saul.
Chapters 18 – 27
Saul’s Hatred of David
18:8-12; The penny drops, Saul identified his successor and threat.
In his time as an outlaw David shows himself ever as the statesman especially when Saul’s life was in his hands (Chapters 24 and 26).
Chapters 28 – 31
The Last Days of Saul’s Reign
31:4; The tragedy of King Saul is cemented on Mount Gilboa.
2nd Samuel – The Consolidation of the Monarchy
David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan
1:23; David took no pleasure in the death of his enemy.
Chapters 2 – 4
David’s Reign Over Judah
3:1; For 7 years David reign was confined to Judah as Saul’s son reigned over Israel, these were years of civil war.
The Reunification of the Nation under David
5:1-2; He is sought by all of Israel to be King.
Chapters 6 – 10
Spiritual Revival and Military Conquests
6:17-18; The return of the ark to Jerusalem marked a spiritual high point in his reign and reveals his priorities in his early reign.
Chapters 11 – 12
The Turning Point; The Bathsheba Affair
12:7; Nathan’s accusation was to cast a shadow over his reign.
Chapters 13 – 20
Absalom’s Conspiracy and Joab’s Power
18:33; Lust, murder, intrigue and rebellion are the subject matter of these chapters, the consequences of adultery and murder.
Saul’s Final Humiliation
21:6; Justice for an injustice perpetrated by Saul had to be satisfied.
A Psalm of Thanksgiving
22:1-4; David’s gratitude to God for his mercies.
David’s Final Words
23:5; Regrets his own sin but magnifies the faithfulness of God.
A Day of Judgement
24:14; His sin brought judgement but asked for God’s mercy.