Main Themes of the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel

Who wrote the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel and who did they write it for?

Samuel was dedicated to the Lord as a newborn by his mother Hannah and then grew up in the service of the Lord. It is believed that he wrote 1 Samuel 1-24 and that Nathan and Gad wrote the remainder of 1 Samuel 25-31 and all of 2 Samuel. Both 1 and 2 Samuel were written as a factual record for the Hebrew people.


When did the events of Books of 1 and 2 Samuel happen?

The events of the books of 1 and 2 Samuel happened after the time of the Judges, and cover the beginning of the history of the Hebrew monarchy in Israel. These events likely happened between about 1105-970 BC.


What was the setting of the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel?

1 Samuel covers the birth of Samuel, the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy in Israel, and the preparation of David to become the second king of Israel after Saul. 2 Samuel covers the reign of David leading up to the reign of his son, Solomon. The people wanted a monarchy rather than theocracy and desperately needed spiritual leadership.


What is the purpose of the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel?

1 Samuel

  1. Ministry of Samuel (1 Samuel 1-7)
  2. Israel demands a king (1 Samuel 8)
  3. Anointing and reign of Saul as the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 9-11)
  4. Samuel’s final public speech (1 Samuel 12)
  5. God rejects Saul (1 Samuel 13-15)
  6. David’s anointing and life in royal service (1 Samuel 16-20)
  7. David as a fugitive (1 Samuel 21-31)

2 Samuel

  1. David’s reign over Judah (2 Samuel 1-4)
  2. David’s reign over Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5-10)
  3. David’s Sin and Consequences (2 Samuel 11-20)
  4. Execution of Saul’s line (2 Samuel 21)
  5. Praise Song of David (2 Samuel 22)
  6. Heroes of David (2 Samuel 23)
  7. Census and Plague (2 Samuel 24)

How does the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel apply to my life?

  • Provides an account of the beginning of the Hebrew monarchy in Israel.
  • Highlights both righteous and unrighteous leadership qualities.
  • Teaches about the sovereignty and provisions of God.
  • Gives clear examples of the consequences of sin and encourages sin to be taken seriously.
  • Describes God’s faithfulness and covenant relationship with His people.
  • Exhorts believers to be faithful in prayer and trust in God’s promises.
  • Gives hope and encouragement to those experiencing hardship, temptation, trials and suffering.
  • Displays God’s faithfulness in all circumstances.
  • Teaches that every victory comes from the Lord.

Summary

Originally one book, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel carry on the story of the Hebrew people after the time of the Judges, recording the beginning of the Hebrew monarchy. The people demanded to have a king, a monarchy, over the theocracy they knew. They chose Saul as their king.

Samuel began the records found in 1 Samuel 1-24, and from 1 Samuel 25-31 through the end of 2 Samuel Nathan and Gad took over the records. When Samuel was born his mother dedicated him to the Lord and put him in the Lord’s service. He was used by God to guide God’s people in this time of great need for spiritual leadership.

Throughout the book of 1 Samuel we learn about the reign of Saul and the anointing of David. In 2 Samuel we learn about the reign of David, through the end of his reign, and the preparation for the reign of his son, Solomon. Throughout these important historical accounts, we see incredible examples of both good and bad leadership, the faithfulness of God and defiance of His people, and the difficulties of temptation, sin, and of following God’s commands. We also find great encouragement in God’s love for His people, even when we sin and disobey Him.


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