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The two books of Samuel
were originally one. The division between the two parts was made by Christian writers after the time of Christ, and was not accepted by Hebrew scholars until the sixteenth century. The early Christian fathers inclined also to drop the name of Samuel altogether, and to call these books, because of their subject, the first two books of Kings, as the Greek translators had done.

The theme of the first book of Samuel, as now divided from the second, is the abandonment of the old theocratic government of Israel and the founding of the kingship. It begins therefore with the story of Samuel, the last of the priestly "judges" over Israel, tells of his achievements, of the clamor of the people for a king, of Samuel's selection of Saul for the high office, and of Saul's brilliant but tragic career, closing with his death.

Toward the end of the book, Saul's successor David becomes a more prominent figure than the king. Hence it has been pointed out, that the original book of Samuel might have been better divided into three.

The first, telling of Samuel's struggle and Saul's success, would extend through chapter fourteen; the second, dealing with Saul's fall and David's rise, would stop with II. Samuel, chapter eight; and the third would tell of David's glory, his sin and his sorrow.

The authorship of the books is unknown. The Hebrews say that Samuel himself wrote at least the earlier part of the first. A similar suggestion is found in the Bible in I. Chronicles, 29, 29, a verse which might be literally translated, "And the acts of David the king, behold, they are written upon the acts of Samuel the Roeh, and upon the acts of Nathan the Nabi, and upon the acts of Gad the Chozeh." This does not necessarily mean that our present book of Samuel is the work of these three men; though it gave rise to that surmise among the Hebrews.

Probably there were several early works, including a life of Samuel, and a life of Saul. These were incorporated, about the time of King Josiah, into a single narrative including Judges, Samuel and Kings. This work was then divided into its three larger books after the downfall of Jerusalem.


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David contemplating the death of Goliath

1 Samuel Chapter 1
Elkanah and his family 1-8. Hannah's prayer 9-18. Samuel, Hannah presents him to the Lord 19-28.
1 Samuel Chapter 2
Hannah's song of thanksgiving 1-10. The wickedness of Eli's sons, Samuel's ministry 11-26. The prophecy against Eli's family 27-36.
1 Samuel Chapter 3
The word of the Lord first revealed to Samuel 1-10. God tells Samuel the destruction of Eli's house 11-18. Samuel established to be a prophet 19-21.
1 Samuel Chapter 4
The Israelites overcome by the Philistines 1-9. The ark taken 10,11. The death of Eli 12-18. The birth of Ichabod 19-22.
1 Samuel Chapter 5
Dagon is broken before the ark 1-5. The Philistine smitten 6-12.
1 Samuel Chapter 6
The Philistines consult how to send back the ark 1-9. They bring it to Bethshemesh 10-18. The people smitten for looking into the ark 19-21.
1 Samuel Chapter 7
The ark removed to Kirjath-jearim 1-4. The Israelites solemnly repent 5,6. The Lord discomfits the Philistines 7-12. They are subdued, Samuel judges Israel
13-17.
1 Samuel Chapter 8
The evil government of Samuel's sons 1-3. The Israelites ask for a king 4-9. The manner of a king 10-22.
1 Samuel Chapter 9
Saul is brought to Samuel 1-10. Samuel told concerning Saul 11-17. Samuel's treatment of Saul 18-27.
1 Samuel Chapter 10
Samuel anoints Saul 1-8. Saul prophesies 9-16. Saul chosen king
17-27.
1 Samuel Chapter 11
Jabesh-gilead delivered 1-11. Saul confirmed in his kingdom 12-15.
1 Samuel Chapter 12
Samuel testifies his integrity 1-5. Samuel reproves the people 6-15. Thunder sent in harvest time 16-25.
1 Samuel Chapter 13
The invasion of the Philistines 1-7. Saul sacrifices, He is reproved by Samuel 8-14. The policy of the Philistines 15-23.
1 Samuel Chapter 14
Jonathan smites the Philistines 1-15. Their defeat 16-23. Saul forbids the people to eat till evening 24-35. Jonathan pointed out by lot 36-46. Saul's family 47-52.
1 Samuel Chapter 15
Saul sent to destroy Amalek 1-9. Saul excuses and commends himself 10-23. Saul's imperfect humiliation 24-31. Agag put to death, Samuel and Saul part 32-35.
1 Samuel Chapter 16
Samuel sent to Bethlehem to Jesse 1-5. David is anointed 6-13. Saul troubled with an evil spirit, is quieted by David 14-23.
1 Samuel Chapter 17
Goliath's challenge 1-11. David comes to the camp 12-30. David undertakes to fight Goliath 31-39, and goes to meet him 40-47. David kills Goliath 48-58.
1 Samuel Chapter 18
Jonathan's friendship for David 1-5. Saul seeks to kill David 6-11. Saul's fear of David 12-30.
1 Samuel Chapter 19
Jonathan reconciles his father to David, Saul again tries to slay him 1-10. David flees to Samuel 11-24.
1 Samuel Chapter 20
David consults Jonathan 1-10. Jonathan's covenant with David 11-23. Saul, missing David, seeks to kill Jonathan 24-34. Jonathan takes leave of David 35-42.
1 Samuel Chapter 21
David with Ahimelech 1-9. David at Gath feigns himself mad 10-15.
1 Samuel Chapter 22
David at Adullam, Many resort to him 1-5. Saul destroys the priests of Nob 6-19. Abiathar escapes to David
20-23.
1 Samuel Chapter 23
David rescues Keilah 1-6. God warns him to escape from Keilah 7-13. Jonathan comforts David 14-18. He is rescued from Saul by an invasion of the Philistines 19-29.
1 Samuel Chapter 24
David spares Saul's life 1-7. David shows his innocence 8-15. Saul acknowledges his fault 16-22.
1 Samuel Chapter 25
Death of Samuel 1. David's request; Nabal's churlish refusal 2-11. David's intention to destroy Nabal 12-17. Abigail takes a present to David 18-31. He is pacified, Nabal dies 32-39. David takes Abigail to wife 39-44.
1 Samuel Chapter 26
Saul goes after David, who again spares Saul's life 1-12. David exhorts Saul 13-20. Saul acknowledges his sin 21-25.
1 Samuel Chapter 27
David retires to Gath 1-7. David deceives Achish 8-12.
1 Samuel Chapter 28
Achish puts confidence in David, Saul's fear 1-6. Saul consults a witch at Endor 7-19. Saul's terror 20-25.
1 Samuel Chapter 29
David objected to by the Philistines 1-5. He is dismissed by Achish 6-11. )
1 Samuel Chapter 30
Ziklag spoiled by the Amalekites 1-6. David overtakes the Amalekite 7-15. He recovers what had been los 16-20. David's distribution of the spoil 21-31.
1 Samuel Chapter 31
Saul's defeat and death 1-7. Saul's body rescued by the men of Jabesh-gilead 8-13.

 

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