Survey of the Bible - I Samuel
Text: I Samuel 8:4-9
I. The books of I and II Samuel and I and II Kings are actually one record.
A. They were originally divided into four books because books were kept as scrolls and scrolls become difficult to manage when they get too long.
B. In earlier texts they are referred to as the four books of Kingdoms
C. I and II Samuel were written principally by three prophets - I Chronicles 29:29
D. I Kings was written by another three prophets - II Chronicles 9:29
II. I Samuel continues the narrative history of Israel
A. It starts with the last judge of Israel - Samuel and ends with the death of Israel’s first king - Saul
B. It records the transition of Israel from anarchy under tribal leadership to one of a united kingdom under a monarchy
A. Samuel - I Samuel 1-8
1. Birth and Infancy of Samuel - I Samuel 1-2:11
a. We are introduced to a man name Elkanah, a Levite from the hill country of Ephraim
(1) He had two wives. One, Hannah, was unable to have children. But Elkanah loved her deeply.
(2) On visiting the Temple, Hannah spent her time in tears, fasting and praying for a child
(3) She vowed to dedicate the child to God if she was allowed to have a son.
b. Eli saw her praying and assumed at first that she was drunk. Learning differently, he told her he hoped God would answer her prayer, which she took as an affirmation
c. Hannah did have a son. She waited until he was weaned and then presented him to Eli and the Lord.
d. The beginning of chapter 2 is the prayer of Hannah and it is one of the more beautiful prayers recorded
2. Failure of Eli - I Samuel 2:12-36
a. Though a High Priest and judge of Israel, Eli was a poor father.
(1) His sons grew up to be worthless. Though priests, God said they did not know Him - I Samuel 2:12
(2) Eli scolded them, but he didn’t to anything about them - I Samuel 2:22-25
(3) God placed the failure on Eli’s shoulders - I Samuel 2:31-32
3. Samuel’s Call - I Samuel 3
a. God begins speaking to the child Samuel.
b. At first Samuel did not know what was going on, but Eli did and instructed him.
c. Through Samuel, Eli was again told that he would be punished - I Samuel 3:13-14
d. The sad thing is that while Eli acknowledged the message, he did nothing - I Samuel 3:18
4. Capture and Return of the Ark of the Covenant - I Samuel 4-6
a. The Israelites decided that if the ark went with them in battle then they would be bound to win - I Samuel 4:3
b. God showed Israel that He could not be forced - I Samuel 4:10-11
c. Eli died on hearing the news - I Samuel 4:18
d. The Philistines decided to put the ark in the temple of their god as a tribute and that is when trouble began to happen - I Samuel 5:2-4, 6
e. They tried moving the ark, but the troubles just followed.
f. So they decided to see if it was really the ark by allowing it to go back - I Samuel 6:10-12
5. Defeat of the Philistines - I Samuel 7
a. Samuel called on the people to put away their gods and join him in prayer to God for deliverance.
b. Hearing that the Israelites were gathering, the Philistines brought up their army to attack.
c. But God answered Israel’s prayers - I Samuel 7:10-11
d. There is a song we sing about this - I Samuel 7:12
6. Israel demands a king - I Samuel 8
a. Samuel also turned out to be a bad father - I Samuel 8:3
b. The elders demanded a king so they could be like the other nations - I Samuel 8:5
c. It was a rejection of God - I Samuel 8:7
d. Samuel warned the people it won’t be as they dreamed, but they wanted a king anyway - I Samuel 8:19-20
e. God gave them what they demanded - I Samuel 8:22
B. Saul - I Samuel 9-31
1. Saul anointed king - I Samuel 9-10
a. Saul was a handsome man - I Samuel 9:2
b. Samuel anointed him and gave him signs to prove that God was behind this - I Samuel 10:1, 9
c. He also prophesied - I Samuel 10:10-12
d. But Saul was a reluctant king - I Samuel 10:16
e. And when Samuel announced the kingdom, he hid - I Samuel 10:22-24
2. Saul’s first battle - I Samuel 11
a. It wasn’t until the Ammonites attacked a city in Israel, that Saul actually began acting as king - I Samuel 11:6, 11
b. Only then did the people accept him as their king - I Samuel 11:12-15
3. The confirmation of the kingdom - I Samuel 12
a. Samuel repeats the warnings about having a king
b. He warns them they must remain faithful - I Samuel 12:19-25
4. Flaws in Saul’s character revealed - I Samuel 13
a. What started so well quickly falls apart.
b. The Philistines gather to attack Israel. Saul waited a week for Samuel to come and offer sacrifices for his army
c. When Samuel didn’t show up, Saul decided to do it himself - I Samuel 13:8-14
5. Jonathan’s victory and Saul’s foolishness - I Samuel 14
a. Saul’s son, Jonathan, decided to look in on the Philistines, being accompanied by his armor bearer.
b. He decides to see if God was with him - I Samuel 14:8-10
c. He and his armorbearer struck down twenty Philistines - I Samuel 14:14-15
d. This rallied Israel, but they were hard pressed - I Samuel 14:24
(1) It was a dumb command because it weakened his own people - I Samuel 24:25-30
(2) They were so famished that they wouldn’t wait for meat to be cooked - I Samuel 24:32
e. God stopped talking to Saul - I Samuel 14:37
f. Saul decides it was Jonathan’s fault and was prepared to kill him, but the people stopped him - I Samuel 14:44-45
6. Saul’s disobedience - I Samuel 15
a. God sends Saul against the Amalekites - I Samuel 15:3
b. But Saul modified God’s instructions - I Samuel 15:9
c. When confronted, Saul blamed the people - I Samuel 15:15
d. When told that he disobeyed, he insisted that he did as God commanded - I Samuel 15:19-21
e. Saul tried to offer sacrifices to make up for his disobedience - I Samuel 15:22-23
f. Saul admits his sin, but it is too little too late - I Samuel 15:24-29
7. David anointed as the next king - I Samuel 16
a. By “coincidence” becomes a court musician - I Samuel 16:18-21
b. Thus David learned the ways of the court at an early age
8. David’s defeat of Goliath - I Samuel 17
a. It appears that David did not remain at court, but returned home and Saul forgot about him
b. David, visiting his brothers hears Goliath’s challenge and decides to do something about it.
c. He slew Goliath with a rock and Goliath’s own sword
9. Saul’s jealousy of David - I Samuel 18-20
a. This is when Jonathan first met David and they became firm friends - I Samuel 18:1
b. David stayed with Saul because Saul had been collecting the best warriors - I Samuel 14:52; 18:2
c. But Saul became envious of David - I Samuel 18:6-9
d. He tries to get David killed, but David succeeds and wins the hand of Saul’s daughter - I Samuel 18:17
(1) Saul marries her off to another man, but David loved the younger daughter anyway - I Samuel 18:20-21
(2) He again tries to get David killed by ordering the death of 100 Philistines as a dowry. David kills 200.
e. Saul continues to arrange David’s death, but with the help of members of Saul’s household, David stays one step ahead of Saul.
10. David on the run from Saul - I Samuel 21-27
a. Finally, it was just too dangerous to remain, and David flees from Saul.
b. He hides among the Philistines by pretending to be insane
c. He then starts moving from place to place. People start flocking to him and he soon has a band of about 400 men - I Samuel 22:2
d. Saul pursues David, but never manages to find him. Twice David has opportunities to kill Saul, but he refuses to kill the man God had anointed as king.
e. Meanwhile Samuel dies and we have the story of how David meets Abigail and marries her.
f. Eventually he returns to the Philistines and lives as a double agent. While the Philistine king thinks David is raiding Israel, David actually goes along the border and protects Israel’s territory.
11. The defeat and death of Saul - I Samuel 28-31
a. Saul can’t stand not knowing what is going on. Samuel is dead and God won’t talk to him, so he seeks out a medium to get answers
(1) To her surprise the spirit of Samuel actually answers her call
(2) And Samuel delivers the bad news - I Samuel 28:16-19
b. Meanwhile the Philistines become suspicious of David and toss him out - I Samuel 29
c. Raiders attack David’s new camp while he is out of town and David tracks them down and destroys them - I Samuel 30
d. Meanwhile Saul battles the Philistines and loses - I Samuel 31:2
(1) Proud to the end, Saul commits suicide rather than be killed by a Philistine - I Samuel 31:4
e. Israelite raiders bring the bodies back for burial.
IV. What do we learn?
A. We see the power of God in answering prayers in both small and great ways.
B. But we also see that God won’t be manipulated and He demands obedience.
C. Saul loses out because he won’t admit his flaws. He finds excuses. He keeps trying to do things his own way.
D. We also see that though life was very rough for David, he doesn’t give up on God.
1. Many of the Psalms are written during this period of David’s life.