The chapter starts off with God telling the prophet Samuel to stop mourning over Saul and to look to the future – the LORD has chosen a new king for Israel: one of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Samuel gets a little scared when he hears this – how is he supposed to go to Bethlehem and anoint a new king without King Saul hearing about it and coming after him? But God gives Samuel a good alibi – the prophet is going to Bethlehem to perform a sacrifice, and he will invite Jesse and his sons to come along. Continue reading
1 Samuel 15 starts off with Samuel giving some specific instructions to Saul. When exactly this occurs in relation to the previous chapters, I don’t know. Assuming chronological order, at this point in time Samuel has rebuked Saul for disobedience and declared that his kingdom will not last forever.
But while the kingdom may not last forever, it is still in Saul’s possession for now. So Samuel gives Saul some specific instructions from the LORD: Continue reading
At this point in the narrative of 1 Samuel, Saul has been confirmed as king over Israel. He has already led his people in victory against the enemy. And his focus is still on the Lord. Things are going pretty well.
A year or two goes by, and there is war between Israel and Philistia. After Saul’s son Jonathan attacks a Philistine garrison, the Philistines gather together in record numbers against the Israelites. The odds seem so against Israel that the people give in to fear and scatter.
Saul goes to Gilgal, and the people follow him “trembling.” As the fear and anxiety continues to build, Saul waits in Gilgal for a whole week.
Now why did he do that? Continue reading
The third chapter of 1 Samuel tells the tale that we grow up hearing about in children’s church: God calls to the young Samuel four times. The first three times Samuel thinks that Eli is the one calling, and runs to the bedside of the priest. Finally Eli figures out what’s going on, and tells Samuel what to do. When God calls to Samuel again, Samuel replies, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” The LORD tells the boy some serious news: that because Eli did not restrain his sons’ vileness, his line will be forever judged and their sins shall not be atoned for.
What struck me the most from this chapter when I read it this time was verse 7: “(Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)” Continue reading