1 Samuel – Chapter 11

samuel chapter 11

Israel Makes Saul King

Verses 1-3 – At this time, Israel was very susceptible to invasion by tribes such as these Ammonites from east of the Jordan River. Why would Nahash give the city of Jabesh Gilead seven days to find an army to help them? Because Nahash was betting that no one would come to the city’s aid. He was hoping to take the city without a fight.

Verse 6 – Anger is a powerful emotion. It can drive people to hurt others with their words or physical violence. Saul was angered by the Ammonites threat to humiliate and mistreat his fellow Israelites. The Holy Spirit used Saul’s anger to bring justice and freedom. When injustice or sin makes you angry, ask God how you can channel that anger in a constructive way to help bring about a positive change.

Verse 8 – Judah, one of the 12 tribes, is often mentioned separately from the other 11. Three reasons; Judah was the largest tribe (Numbers 1:20-46); Judah is the tribe from which most of Israel’s kings would come (Genesis 49:8-12); Judah would also be the tribe through which the Messiah would come (Micah 5:2).

Verse 14 – Saul had been anointed at Ramah (10:1); then he was publically chosen at Mizpah (10:17-27). By defeating the Ammonites, it confirmed his kingship in the people’s minds; at this time, all the people confirm his rule.

Verse 15 – This fellowship offering was an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving to God, symbolizing the peace that comes to those who know Him and live in accordance with his commands. Unfortunately, this attitude did not last with Saul, just as God had predicted (8:7-19).

1 Samuel – Chapter 10

1samuel chapter 10

Verse 1 – When an Israelite king took office he was not only crowned, he was anointed. A priest or prophet always anointed a king. This anointing ceremony was to remind the king of his great responsibility to lead his people by God’s wisdom and not his own.

Verse 5 – The presence of Philistines garrisons meant Israel’s enemies were encroaching seriously on Israel’s territory.

Verse 6 – Throughout the Old Testament, “God’s Spirit” “came upon” a person temporarily so that God could use him or her for great acts. This was not always a permanent, abiding influence, but sometimes a temporary manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Yet, at times in the Old Testament, the Spirit even came upon unbelievers to enable them to accomplish God’s purpose (Numbers 24; 1 Chronicles 36:22, 23). However, as Saul’s power grew, so did his pride. After a while he refused to seek God, the spirit left him (16:14); and his good attitude melted away.

Verses 10, 11 – A prophet is someone who speaks God’s words. The phrase “everyone who knew him” previously describes the citizens of Gibeah, probably Saul’s family and friends. Their question, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” – reflects their amazement.

Verse 19 – Israel’s true king was God, but the nation demanded another. Imagine choosing any human being instead of God.

Verse 20 – Only the high priest could use the Urim and Thummim, which were designed to give only yes or no answers. God had instructed the Israelites to make the Urim and Thummim for the specific purpose of consulting him in times such as this (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:12-21).

Verse 22 – Often people will hide from important responsibilities because they are afraid of failure, afraid of what others will think.

Verse 25 – The kings of Israel, unlike kings of other nations, had specific regulations outlined for them (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Pagan kings were considered gods; they made their own laws and answered to no one. “Deposited it before the Lord,” means that Samuel put the book, as a witness to the agreement, in a special place at Mizpah.

Verses 26, 27 – Some men became Saul’s constant companions, while others despised him. At this time, Saul took no notice of those who seemed to be against him, although later he would become consumed with jealousy (19:1-3; 26:17-21).

1 Samuel – Chapter 9

1 samuel chapter 9

God Chooses Saul

Verses 2, 3 – Saul looked impressive – seemingly good leadership material according to human perception. To own many donkeys was a sign of wealth, and to lose them was a disaster. This encounter with Samuel was no ordinary encounter. Often we think events just happen, but as in this story about Saul, God will use common occurrences to lead us where He wants. No opportunity is wasted.

Verse 6 – The city where the servant said the prophet (or seer) lived was probably Ramah, where Samuel moved after the Philistine battle near Shiloh (7:17). Saul’s lack of knowledge about Samuel showed his ignorance of spiritual matters. Saul just wanted to find the donkeys.

Verses 7, 8 – Saul felt it inappropriate to approach the man of God without a gift. Or he may have thought the prophet would ask for a reward for telling him where the donkeys were.

Verse 9 – The text clarifies that the term “prophet” eventually replaced “seer” but the terms describe the same office.

Verse 13 – Blessing the sacrifice was part of Samuel’s priestly role.

Verse 21 – Saul’s outburst reveals a problem he would face repeatedly – feeling inferior. Everything Saul did was selfish because he was worried about himself. For example, Saul said his clan was “the least” in the smallest tribe in Israel, but in verse 9:1, it says his father was a “man of standing.” Although Saul had been called by God and had a mission in life, he struggled constantly with jealousy, insecurity, arrogance, impulsiveness, and deceit. He never committed wholeheartedly to God.

1 Samuel – Chapter 8

1Samuel chapter 8

Israel Rejected Samuel’s Sons as Leaders

Verses 1-3 – As an old man, Samuel appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Somehow, they turned out to be corrupt much like Eli’s sons (2:12). If grown children do not follow God, realize that you can’t control their choices that they make. Don’t blame yourself for something that is no longer your responsibility.

Verses 4-6 – The people wanted a king, thinking that a new system of government would bring about a change in the nation. But because their basic problem was disobedience to God, their other problem would only continue under a king. Our obedience will be weak if we ask God to lead us but continue to live by the world’s standards and values.

Verses 19, 20 – Samuel plainly explained to the people what would be required if they chose a king over God to lead them. The Israelites refused to listen. When we have an important decision to make, we should consider the negative aspects, not just the positive. The Israelites wanted to be like other nations that were ruled by a king not God. But God never intended them to be like other nations. God wanted other nations to follow Israel’s example. God’s view and purpose for His people has never changed. As Christians, we are to set examples of whose we belong to. The ways of the world will creep in if we are not careful and then no one will see a difference in our life or someone that doesn’t know Christ.

1 Samuel – Chapter 7

samuel chapter 7

Verse 1 – The ark was taken to Kiriath Jearim, a city near the battlefield, for safekeeping. It wasn’t taken back to Shiloh perhaps because it may have been destroyed in an earlier battle with the Philistines. Apparently, the tabernacle and its furniture were saved because we read that the tabernacle was set up in Nob during Saul’s reign (21:1-6) and in Gibeon during the reigns of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39; 30; 2 Chronicles 1). Samuel’s new home became Ramah, his birthplace.

Verses 2, 3 – Israel mourned and sorrow gripped the nation for 20 years. The ark was put away like an unwanted box in the attic. Samuel, now a grown man, roused them to action by saying that if they were truly sorry, they should do something about it. We won’t receive new guidance from God until we have acted on the previous directions God has given us.

Verse 4 – Baal was believed to be the son of El, chief deity of the Canaanites. Baal was the god of thunder and rain. Ashtoreth was goddess of love and war (she was called Ishtar in Babylon and Astarte or Aphrodite in Greece). She represented fertility.

Verse 6 – Pouring water on the ground “before the Lord” was a sign of repenting from sin, turning from idols, and determining to obey God alone.

Verses 7-10 – The Philistines heard of Israel’s gathering and marched up towards Israel. Samuel offered a sacrifice and cried out to the Lord, who answered him by causing the Philistines to become confused.

Verse 15 – Samuel judged Israel throughout his life, though his ministry seemed to decline somewhat following the appointment of Saul as Israel’s king (chapter 12).

Verse 17 – Samuel’s establishment of an altar to the Lord further suggests Shiloh had been destroyed.

1 Samuel – Chapter 6

samuel chapter 6

Verse 2 – Priest and diviners represented the Philistines religious authorities.

Verse 3 – A restitution offering applied to situations where holy things (the ark) became defiled. However, a rat and tumors made of gold was not the requirement commanded by Moses from God. How easy it is for people to design their own methods of acknowledging God rather than serving Him in the way He requires.

Verse 6 – The Philistines knew Israel’s history and what their God had done for them coming out of Egypt. They were determined to learn their lesson quicker than the Egyptians had.

Verses 7, 8 – Two cows that had just given birth were hitched to a cart and sent toward Israel’s border carrying the ark. For a cow to leave her nursing calf, she would have to go against all her motherly instincts. Only God who has power over natural order could cause this to happen.

Verse 12 – The cow’s path left no room for doubt about God’s guidance.

Verse 15 – Beth Shemesh was a city appointed for the Levites (Joshua 21:16).

Verse 19 – The Levites should have covered the ark but they did not. Only Levites were allowed to move the ark. Because of their disobedience, God carried out His promised judgment. God did not want the cycle of disrespect, disobedience, and defeat to start all over again. The Israelites had used the ark as a power to their own ends. God didn’t kill these men of Beth Shemesh to be cruel. He killed them because to have ignored their presumptuous sin would encourage the whole nation of Israel to ignore God.

1 Samuel – Chapter 5

1 Samuel chapter 5

Verses 1, 2 – Dagon was the chief god of the Philistines, whom they believe sent rain and assured a bountiful harvest. But the Philistines worshiped many gods. That is why they wanted the ark, thinking the more gods they had the more UN-defeatable they would be.

Verse 4 – Dagon’s head and palms of his hands were broken off, suggesting Dagon’s fall was no accident.

Verse 5 – From then on, the priest of Dagon and all the worshipers avoided stepping on Dagon’s threshold.

Verses 6, 7 – When the people living nearby began to get sick and die, the Philistines realized that the ark was not a good omen. Similarly, today many people don’t respond to Biblical truth until they experience pain.

Verses 8-12 – The Philistines were governed by five rulers, or lords. Each one lived in a different city – Gath, Ekron, Ashod, Ashkelon, and Gaza. The ark was taken to three of these capital cities, and each time it brought trouble and chaos to the citizens

1Samuel – Chapter 4

1 Samuel chapter 4

Verse 1 – The Philistines descendants of Noah’s son Ham settled along the southeastern Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Gaza. Throughout this time, the Philistines were Israel’s major enemy.

Verse 3 – The people associated the ark of the Lord’s covenant with God’s presence, and they assumed taking the ark into battle would guarantee victory over their enemies. The ark was to be kept in the Most Holy Place. Hophni and Phinehas desecrated the room by unlawfully entering it and removing the ark. The Israelites thought the ark-wood, metal box-was the source of power. They had believed it was a good luck charm. This attitude toward the ark came close to idol worship.

Verse 4 – The phrase “dwells between the cherubim” is a reference to God’s dwelling in the cloud over the mercy seat. Hophni and Phinehas were probably the two least worthy individuals to carry the ark.

Verses 5-8 – The Philistines became afraid because they had heard stories of how Israel’s God had delivered them from Egypt. The Israelites wrongly assumed that because God had given them victory in the past, He was obliged to do it again even though they had strayed from Him.

Verse 11 – This event fulfills the prophecy in 2:34 stating that Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas would die “on the same day.”

Verse 12 – Shiloh was Israel’s religious center. The tabernacle was permanently set up there. Benjaminite was a man from the tribal territory of Benjamin to the south. Clothes were torn…dirt on his head were expressions of mourning. Shiloh was the natural place for a messenger to deliver the sad news from the battle.

Verse 18 – Eli’s death marked the end of the dark period of the judges when most of the nation ignored God. Samuel began the great revival that Israel would experience for the next century. The Bible doesn’t say who actually became the high priest. Samuel was not eligible because he was not a direct descendent of Aaron. But Samuel acted as high priest at this time by offering the important sacrifices.

Verses 19-22 – Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, had lost three family members in one day’s time. The capture of the ark was just the topping, which brought on her labor pains.

Verse 21 – Ichabod means, “Where is the glory?”

Verse 22 – The wife of Phinehas incorrectly associated God’s glorious presence with the presence of the ark of God. However, she was right in the sense that she believed life apart from God’s presence was not worth living.

1 Samuel – Chapter 3

1 Samuel chapter 3
The Word of the Lord Comes to Samuel
Verses 1-5 – During the 300 years of Judges, God’s speaking audibly had become rare. By Eli’s time, no prophets were speaking God’s message to Israel. Listening and responding is vital in a relationship with God or with anyone else for that matter. Although God does not always use the sound of a human voice, He always speaks clearly through His Word.
Verses 2, 3 – The ark of God was kept in the Most Holy Place. In front of the Most Holy Place was the Holy Place, a small room where the other sacred furniture of the tabernacle was kept. Just outside the Holy Place was a court with small rooms where the priests were to stay. Samuel probably slept here with the other priest.
Verses 8, 9 – Eli was older, more experienced, and held the proper position, but God’s chain of command is based on faith, not age or position. God can work through anyone at any time and any place.
Verse 13 – Eli had spent his entire life in service to God, but had neglected his own home life.
Verse 14 – God was saying that the sin of Eli’s sons could not be covered by sacrifice and that they would be punished.
Verse 17 – I hear some jealousy in what Eli said to Samuel. Eli knew his days of hearing God were over.
Verse 19 – Some versions of the Bible have rearranged this verse to say “and Samuel grew up.” That makes you think physically only. I like another version that says, “So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with Him…” I take this to mean; yes, Samuel grew older but more important, Samuel grew in his knowledge of the Lord and intently drank in every word spoken to him from the Lord All Mighty.
Verse 21 – It was no small thing to have the Lord’s presence with His people again. The people of Israel knew that Samuel was God’s anointed one to speak for God to the Israelites.

1 Samuel – Chapter 2

Hannah’s Prophetic Prayer
Verses 1-10 – Hannah praised God for His answer to her prayer for a son. The theme of her poetic prayer is her confidence in God’s sovereignty and her thankfulness for everything He had done. By praising God for all good gifts, we acknowledge His ultimate control over all the affairs of life.
Verse 2 – In our fast-passed world, it’s difficult to find a solid foundation that will not change. The possessions that we work so hard to obtain will all pass away. However, God is always present. He is faithful and He will never fail.
Verse 3 – No doubt, as Hannah said these words, she was thinking of Peninnah’s arrogance and chiding. Hannah did not have to get even with Peninnah. She knew God is all-knowing, and that He will judge all sin and pride. We must resist to take justice into our own hands. God will weigh the deeds and wrongs that have been done to us.
Verse 10 – Remembering God’s sovereign control helps us put both world and personal events in perspective.
Verse 11 – Samuel was Eli’s helper and assistant. In this role, Samuel’s responsibilities would have included opening the tabernacle doors each morning (3:15), cleaning the furniture, and sweeping the floors. As he grew, Samuel would have assisted Eli in offering sacrifices. By him wearing an ephod, it shows he was a priest in training. Because Samuel was Eli’s helper, he was God’s helper too. When we serve others-even in carrying out ordinary task we are serving God.
Sinfulness of Eli’s Sons
Verse 12 – The law stipulated that the needs of the Levites were to be met through the people’s tithes. Eli’s sons were priest and they were to be taken care of in this way. However, Eli’s sons took advantage of their position. Their contempt and arrogance toward both people and worship undermined the integrity of the whole priesthood. Eli knew his sons were evil, but did little to correct or stop them. As high priest, Eli should have executed his sons (Numbers 15:30, 31). There will be times in our lives when it becomes necessary to confront serious problems, even when the consequences are painful (but under grace and love, not the Law of Moses).
Verses 13-17 – What were Eli’s sons doing wrong? They were taking part of the sacrifices before they were offered to God on the altar. They were also eating the meat before the fat was burned off. In effect, Eli’s sons were treating God’s offering with contempt. To add to their sins, they were sleeping with the women who served there (2:22).
Verse 21 – God honored the desires of faithful Hannah. Peninnah is never mentioned again. God also gave Hannah five more children, which she didn’t expect. We must never resent God’s timing. His blessings might not be immediate, but they will come in God’s timing and divine plan.
Verse 25 – A person made an offering in order to have their sins forgiven, and Eli’s sons stole the offering and made a sham of the person’s repentant attitude.
Verse 29 – Because Eli would not discipline his rebellious sons, the Lord had to take the necessary disciplinary action. Eli was guilty of honoring his sons above God by letting them continue in their sinful ways.
Verses 31, 35, 36 – For the fulfillment of this prediction see 1 Kings 2:26, 27. This is where Solomon removed Abiathar from his position, thus ending Eli’s line. Then God raised up Zadok, a priest under David and then high priest under Solomon. Zadok’s line was probably still in place as late as the days of Ezra.
Verse 35 – “My anointed one” refers to the King (see 2:10). God was saying that His faithful priest would serve His King forever.