1 Samuel

The books of 1&2 Samuel narrate the beginning of Israel's monarchy with the rise and fall of King Saul and King David. The true King of Israel will humbly listen to God's word, and God's Kingdom will be established in humility, not pride. But both Saul and David fail to be this humble King and fail to build the nation God desires. It is only Jesus who humbly listens to the voice of God. It is only Jesus who establishes a nation of humility. And it is only Jesus who can cause every proud king to bow.

At a Glance


NIV Bible 1 Samuel Introduction

The books commonly known as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings are really one long book. (They were separated due to the length of ancient scrolls.) Beginning with Samuel, the last of the judges, this book describes what happened in the days of the kings who ruled first the whole nation, and then the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The reigns of Saul and David are described in detail. The repeating structure within the book tells how old a king was when he came to the throne, where and for how long he ruled, and something about his character and the notable events of his reign. (Some traditions call this book the “Book of Reigns.”)

Beneath this pattern of historical succession, however, another rhythm can be discerned. Saul, the first king, does not follow God faithfully, and God announces he will seek a man after his own heart to rule Israel. God finds this person in David. He puts him on the throne, promising that his descendants will always rule Israel if they continue to serve him. Unfortunately, the kings after David are not committed to following God’s way. Many of them abandon God and lead the people to do the same, although a few of them call the people back to obedience. Using David’s wholehearted dedication to the Lord as its standard, the book of Samuel-Kings traces the tragic wavering of the people’s devotion to God. Their covenant failure leads to the nation first being divided and then later conquered by the powerful empires to the east.

The “Book of Reigns” is therefore a tragic closing of the whole covenant history that began in Genesis. Just as the first humans were exiled from God’s garden, now Israel is sent out of the “new Eden” God intended in the promised land. Land and temple have been lost in the darkness of judgment, and only a flickering light remains. The deeper purpose of God for Israel—to bring blessing and restoration to the nations—seems to have been frustrated. But hope remains alive in God’s promise to bring a descendant of David back to the throne.

Bible Project

1 Samuel Introduction

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Spoken Gospel

2014 1 Samuel Series (Sundays)

Cornerstone Chapel

2023 1 Samuel Series (Mid Week)

Cornerstone Chapel

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