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Highlights From the Book of 1 Samuel - Information for personal study
First Samuel Highlights Importance of ObedienceTHE importance to Christians of obedience can hardly be overemphasized. In particular is this true as to God’s commands to them. Is not all the trouble in the world due to our first parents’ having disobeyed God’s command forbidding their eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad? Yes, those who desire God’s approval must obey him.—Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:1-19.
The book of First Samuel serves very well in stressing the importance of obedience. It not only contains precepts commanding obedience but illustrates the fruits of obedience and the results of disobedience.
Originally this book constituted with Second Samuel one volume (scroll). It covers upward of 100 years of Israel’s history, from shortly before the birth of Samuel, who proved to be the last of the line of judges, to the death of Saul, the first of Israel’s kings. The outstanding historical event it records is Israel’s change from rulership by judges to a monarchy. Three persons are made most prominent, the prophet Samuel, King Saul and David. The book covers in sequence: (1) Samuel and his judgeship; (2) Saul’s early kingship; (3) David’s exploits, Saul’s persecution of David and Saul’s suicide on the field of battle.
There has been much conjecture as to who wrote the book of First Samuel. However, for those with faith in the Bible’s inspiration, 1 Chronicles 29:29 is plain: “As for the affairs of David the king, the first ones and the last, there they are written among the words of Samuel the seer and among the words of Nathan the prophet and among the words of Gad the visionary.” That is, the prophet Samuel wrote all of Samuel until his death, as recorded at 1 Samuel 25:1, Nathan and Gad writing the rest. And that is the view held by ancient Jewish scholars as well as by most of the early Christian scholars.
As to the authenticity or the genuineness of the things recorded in the book: Many of its events are referred to in the book of Psalms and in the Christian Greek Scriptures; there is a straightforwardness and candor that stamps the book as truth. Archaeology also has testified to the accuracy of some of the things that the book records.
Further, the literary quality of the books of Samuel is such, in fact, that it might be said to add weight to its authenticity. Says a noted Hebrew authority: “Samuel contains some of the finest examples of Hebrew prose in the Bible. . . . Like all good Hebrew, it achieves the maximum effect with the greatest economy of words. Its narratives are masterpieces of historical writing.” This is something we would expect from Samuel, as he heard the Scriptures read at the sanctuary from the time he was weaned. The prophets Nathan and Gad may well have attempted to imitate his writing.
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