In 1 Samuel, we meet a host of important characters in the biblical narrative: Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. These names might seem familiar from Sunday School, but the intertwining story between these characters is epic.
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel (one book in the original Hebrew text) detail the period of time after the Israelites have wandered in the desert for forty years, after the next generation entered the Promised Land, and after judges ruled over Israel. After all that, Israel still doesn't trust God, so they demand that a king rule over them so they can be like those around them.
God gives them a king, but more than that, He continues to fulfill His promise to provide an even better King—Jesus!
The Book of 1 Samuel covers the transition from the judges who ruled Israel to the kings. It covers the birth of Samuel, the reign of King Saul, and the selection of David to be Saul’s successor—not to mention David and Goliath!
Authorship of 1 Samuel can't be attributed to a single person. Many scholars speculate that Samuel himself wrote the first part, but since his death is recorded in chapter 25, someone else, possibly a disciple of Samuel, completed the book and wrote 2 Samuel.
First Samuel focuses on the way God remains faithful to Israel even when they reject His Kingship and demand a human king so they can be like all the other nations. Despite Israel’s continued rebellion, even after being in the Promised Land, God continues His gracious rule through Samuel, Saul, and David.
Ultimately, King David points to Christ—David is a type of Christ, but David’s sins and faults show that no earthly king will ever live up to our heavenly King.
As you read 1 Samuel, meditate on how God loves and provides for His people, even when they are rebellious and demanding. Just as the Israelites asked God to give them what they wanted, we typically ask God for what we want rather than what He would have for us.
When you receive an answered prayer (or even when you don’t), pray Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. Thank God for His continued blessings in your life.
1 Samuel 2:1–2
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
my horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides You;
there is no rock like our God.”
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 17:45, 47
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. . . . For the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hand.”
Learn more about the Book of 1 Samuel with these free downloadable study questions.