1 Samuel 1-3: “Introduction & Calling Of Samuel”
1. Date of events of the book:
The book of 1 Samuel begins
as the nation of
2. Significance of the man Samuel:
The calling of the man
Samuel is found in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel, and the rest of the
book chronicles his ministry in the nation of
2.2. Samuel anointed the first two of the kings of Israel in the era of the kings, Saul and David:
When corruption was
2.4. Samuel was the only man in all of the scriptures to fulfill the roles of judge, priest, and prophet.
3. Significance of the book of 1 Samuel:
3.1. 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel originally were one book that was called “The Book Of Samuel” by the Masorites. The Greek Septuigint (Greek translation of the Old Testament 300 years before Christ) combined the books of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings as one book with four sections called “Books Of The Kings.”
4. Authorship of the book:
4.1. Samuel surely was the author of the first part of the book of 1 Samuel, but the rest of the book, as well as the book of 2 Samuel, we are unsure of. The Talmud accredited Samuel to writing the first 24 chapters of 1 Samuel, and Nathan and Gad for writing the rest of the book as well as 2 Samuel.
5. Purpose and theme of the books of 1 & 2 Samuel:
The books of 1 & 2
Samuel were written as historical narratives in order to detail the events of
the origination and era of the kings of
5.2. The overriding theme in the books is the fact that it is the Lord who is on the throne and ruling and leading according to His sovereign will and purposes. Though man many try to thwart God’s plans on the earth, the Lord in the end fulfills His own purposes in spite of man. The Lord calls and anoints kings through His prophets, however even when men try to overrule the Lord’s purposes, in the end they always end up failing in their attempts.
6. Background for today’s study:
6.1. In our study today, we are going to look at the first three chapters of 1 Samuel and the calling of the man Samuel by the Lord to be a judge, priest, and prophet:
6.1.1. We will see that through the misfortune of a woman who is barren and her fervent prayers that the Lord intervenes in the history of the nation of Israel to send to it one of the Lord’s most remarkable and faithful servants, Samuel.
126.96.36.199. This woman who was barren cried out to the Lord fervently in prayer and the Lord performed a miracle in allowing her to become pregnant, and, in answering this prayer the Lord also raised up a man who was totally dedicated to Him.
188.8.131.52. Though we Christians sometimes do not know the reasons why the Lord allows us to go through struggles of suffering, this story is encouragement to us that the Lord has a great purpose for allowing us to go through these difficult times.
6.1.2. We will see at the outset in our story how the nation of
6.1.3. There is a contrast in this study between two different households. Hannah raised up Samuel to love and serve the Lord faithfully, however Eli, the high priest, was an indulgent father and didn’t discipline his sons and raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We will observe the fruits of these two different households.
6.1.4. We will see that the boy Samuel is dedicated to the Lord as a young child and grows up working with the high priest and his corrupt sons in the tabernacle. However, in spite of all that the boy saw and experienced in the corrupt life of the priesthood, he never the less remained obedient and faithful to the Lord.
6.1.5. We will see finally that the Lord calls Samuel and brings Samuel to know Him personally. The Lord then speaks to Samuel a prophetic word of impending judgment upon the house of Eli the high priest, and young Samuel was faithful to deliver that word, not giving in to his fears.
7. VS 1:1-5 - “1 Now there was a certain
man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was
Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph,
an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and
the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no
children. 3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship
and to sacrifice to the Lord of
7.1. So to begin our story, we read about this man named Elkanah (el-kaw-naw). He had two wives, however one of them, Hannah (khan-naw), was barren. It has been suggested that Elkanah may have married Hannah first and then because she could not have children that he married Peninnah (pen-ni-naw).
7.2. Hannah’s name means “woman of grace,” and when we study about her life in these chapters we see that she lived up to her name. She is a godly woman of faith and commitment to the Lord who surely gained favor in the eyes of men.
7.3. Elkanah evidently loved Hannah more than Peninnah, for whenever Elkanah took the family each year to sacrifice at the tabernacle at Shiloh, he would give Hannah a double portion for her to eat from the sacrifices.
7.5. We Christians need to realize that when our prayers are not answered right away that the Lord has a very important reason for why He does not answer:
7.5.1. Sometimes He does not answer because as in Hannah’s case there is a much bigger scheme that the Lord is working out in our lives. Hannah was praying for a son but the Lord was planning to raise up a man who would be pivotal as God’s representative for the entire nation transitioning to the era of having kings.
7.5.2. Sometimes the Lord knows that there is something better for us than what we are praying for. We have a limited vision of what we think God might desire for our life, however God has something better in mind.
7.5.3. Sometimes we are praying for something that though we think it would be the best thing for us, the Lord knows it would be horrible for us.
8. VS 1:6-18 - “6 Her rival, however,
would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 It happened year
after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8
Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do
you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 9
Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in
8.1. Though the law of Moses did not at this time forbid polygamy, there were many reasons for not practicing it, including the conflict and competition between wives. Jesus taught in Mark 10:1-9 that from the beginning it was the Lord’s will and desire that one man would have one wife and also that there would be no divorce.
We see here in these verses that there was much strife between these
two wives of Elkanah. Peninnah was very
cruel to Hannah and would continually throw in her face the fact that Hannah
could bear no sons. Even though Hannah
received double portions at the feasts, because of her sorrow she could not eat
when the family attended these times of worship at the tabernacle in
8.3. Was Hannah making a deal with God in asking Him to give her a son, and saying that if He would do so she would dedicate her son to the Lord to serve in the tabernacle with the priests?
8.3.1. I personally believe that Hannah realized the corruption that was in the priesthood in Israel and how that the Lord needed a faithful man to serve Him and bring righteousness back to the nation, and thus as she prayed for her own need she saw that perhaps the Lord was working a greater purpose in granting her prayer for a son. Thus, she prayed in this way.
We are introduced in these verses to Eli, the high priest that served
at the tabernacle in
8.5. Eli, who refused to judge his own sons, is judgmental towards Hannah for when he sees her praying before the tabernacle with her lips moving and no sound coming out of her mouth he assumes that she is drunk, and he gives her a rebuke.
8.6. After Hannah explains that she is not drunk but praying, Eli finally tells Hannah that the Lord has heard her prayer and this word Hannah takes to be from the Lord. Hannah then returns with no more sadness seen in her face.
9. VS 1:19-28 - “19 Then they arose early
in the morning and worshiped before the Lord,
and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with
Hannah his wife, and the Lord
remembered her. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had
conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because
I have asked him of the Lord.” 21
Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and pay his
vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I
will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he
may appear before the Lord and
stay there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what
seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the Lord confirm His word.” So the woman
remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Now when she
had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one
ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in
9.1. The Lord had answered the prayer of this woman Hannah. Not only did the Lord miraculously answer her prayer to be able to conceive a child, He also gave her a son as she had asked.
9.2. Because she knew and was thankful that the Lord had answered her prayer for a son, Hannah gives her son the name of “Samuel” which means “heard of God.”
9.3. According to Numbers chapter 30 a man could annul a vow made by his wife, and thus Elkanah could have annulled his wife’s vow. However, the fact that Elkanah was a good man who feared the Lord and loved his wife is seen in that he did not annul her vow.
9.4. The age of weaning a child was 3-5 years old, and we read here that when Hannah took Samuel to the tabernacle that he was a young boy, therefore he was most likely in this 3-5 year old range.
9.5. At the tabernacle, Hannah tells Eli that she was the woman whom he had initially thought was drunk and then told her to go her way for the Lord had heard her prayer. From there being no mention here from Eli of his recollection of telling Hannah about her prayer being answered, Eli may not have remembered Hannah.
10. VS 2:1-3 - “1 Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2 “There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. 3 “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.” - Hannah began to pray and exalt the Lord for His greatness in answering her prayer for a son
10.1. Hannah’s prayer is much like that of David’s song in 2 Sam. 22 as well as Mary’s song, the mother of Jesus, in Luke 1:46-55. Warren Wiersbe writes the following about these three songs, “All three songs tell of God’s grace to undeserving people, God’s victory over the enemy, and the wonderful way God turns things upside down in order to accomplish His purposes.”
10.2. Hannah was filled with joy in the Lord for His having answered her prayers. She says that her ‘heart exults in the Lord.’
10.3. By saying that her ‘horn is exalted,’ Hannah is declaring that the Lord has given her great strength in her time of crisis.
10.4. Because the Lord had blessed Hannah in this great way, giving her the son she had prayed for, Hannah says that her mouth spoke boldly about her enemies because she rejoiced in the Lord’s salvation. Hannah’s enemies were the Lord’s enemies therefore it was only right that she would speak about how the Lord would overthrow them.
10.5. Hannah speaks of how there is no one like the Lord. She says that no one is holy like the Lord, and there is no rock like the Lord.
10.5.1. The holiness of the Lord is the thing that is most impressive and most distinguishes Him from every other creature, for the cry of heaven is “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”
10.5.2. Rocks were the most impenetrable of defenses and thus they provided the greatest protection and stability of any other places of refuge.
10.6. Hannah says though that since our God is omniscient, knowing all, that no one should be proud or arrogant.
11. VS 2:4-8 - “4 “The bows of the mighty are shattered, But the feeble gird on strength. 5 “Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, But she who has many children languishes. 6 “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 “The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. 8 “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He set the world on them.” - Hannah exalts the Lord for doing the impossible in answering the prayers of His people
11.1. Hannah says that the feeble ones who look to the Lord ‘gird on strength’ and that the bows their mighty foes aimed at them were shattered.
11.2. Those of the Lord’s people who look to Him in times of hunger are fed, but those of their foes who were ‘full’ end up being slaves hiring out themselves for bread.
11.3. Hannah speaks prophetically here that the one of the Lord’s people who was barren but looked to Him in prayer, ‘gives birth to seven,’ but her foe with ‘many children languishes.’
11.3.1. Hannah thought of the number “seven,” which signified perfection, as the number of children that the Lord would give to the barren woman of His people who sought Him to be able to conceive.
184.108.40.206. Eventually, we will see that the Lord blesses Hannah by giving her not only Samuel as a son, but also five other children (1 Sam. 2:21).
11.3.2. Hannah also implies that after she was now able to conceive children to Elkanah that Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, would lose much of her husband’s affection and attention.
220.127.116.11. I’m sure this prophetic word also came true, especially after Hannah eventually has five other children to her husband.
11.4. Hannah continues praying talking about all of the many ways that the Lord answers the prayers of His people, miraculously reversing their circumstances. Yet, while He answers the prayers of His people prospering them, those who are not God’s people eventually have their favorable circumstances reversed.
11.5. In saying, ‘the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He set the world on them,’ Hannah acknowledges that the Lord is truly sovereign and sitting upon His throne, even though at times it seems as though the Lord is not in control of our circumstances.
12. VS 2:9-10 - “9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail. 10 “Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”” - Hannah exalts the Lord for keeping and delivering godly people while silencing wicked people
12.1. Hannah says that the wicked people of the earth shall not prevail upon the earth, for all who contend with the Lord will eventually ‘be shattered.’
12.2. Hannah says that the Lord will eventually thunder in the heavens against the wicked on the earth, whom He will judge.
12.3. Note in verse 10 that Hannah speaks of the coming Messiah who will be the Lord’s king. Of Him, Hannah says that the Lord will ‘exalt the horn of His anointed.’
12.3.1. Again, the ‘horn’ refers to the Lord giving great strength to the Messiah when he comes.
VS 2:11-17 - “11 Then
Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest. 12 Now
the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord 13 and the custom of the
priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s
servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his
hand. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or
caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for
himself. Thus they did in
13.1. Eli, the high priest, had two wicked sons who despised the Lord and the sacrifices at the tabernacle.
13.2. Satan always attempts to gain the greatest foothold in the lives of any people and nation, and here he we see that he was able to place two men in charge of the offerings who would cause the entire nation to stumble in their faith.
13.3. These two wicked sons of Eli would take the people’s sacrifices, however and whenever they wanted. They would even take the meat of the sacrifices before the fat had been offered in sacrifice. Plus, they would not follow the law and eat the meat of the sacrifices only after it had been boiled.
13.4. If anyone objected to the way Eli’s sons took of the sacrificial meat, the sons would threaten them with harm and take the meat by force.
14. VS 2:18-21 - “18 Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord, as a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the Lord.” And they went to their own home. 21 The Lord visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord” - Samuel began to minister before the Lord at the tabernacle
14.1. Young Samuel began to function as a faithful priest before the Lord in the tabernacle.
14.2. The amazing thing that we see here in these chapters is that even though Samuel could have followed as role models the wicked sons of Eli, he even as a youth sought to honor the Lord and follow His ways in everything.
Each year when the family made the pilgrimage to
14.4. I’m sure that year to year Hannah would encourage her son in the things of the Lord and that he continue to serve the Lord faithfully.
VS 2:22-25 - “22 Now
Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all
15.1. We see in these verses that Eli honored his sons more than he honored the Lord, for he was unwilling to bring proper and godly discipline to his sons.
15.1.1. We Christian parents need to realize the truth from the scripture that if we spoil the rod we will spoil the child, just as happened with Ely, who was a very indulgent father. If we do not discipline our children to walk in the admonition of the word of God then they will grow up to be selfish and self-serving, not respecting authority, just as happened to Ely.
15.1.2. Consistency in disciplining our children is more important than harshness also. We must learn to consistently train them up to make good choices and be obedient to the Lord in all of their life.
15.1.3. Ely basically tells his sons that they shouldn’t do the things they were doing, but he isn’t assertive and he doesn’t tell them that they have to stop what they are doing or else. We parents must learn to be assertive with our kids when we discipline them, and when they will not follow our commands then we must provide consequences for their actions such that they will come to learn that there is a consequence for every good and bad thing that they do. Consistency again is the key here as well. We must be consistent in training our children in this way.
15.2. The members of one’s family can be a stumbling block to any ministry, therefore leaders of God’s people must take it upon themselves to discipline their children and even reign in their wives, if need be.
15.2.1. In my years of service in the church, I have both seen sons, daughters, and even wives of pastors and elders who were allowed to cause the church to be distracted and to stumble.
15.2.2. In 1 Tim. 3:4-5, we read that one of the qualifications for those who would be leaders in the church is to keep their household in order, “4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”
VS 2:26-36 - “26 Now
the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men. 27 Then a
man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of
your father when they were in
16.1. The Lord is merciful to us as people and gives us every chance to repent. Here we see that the Lord sends to Eli a prophet to rebuke him and pronounce impending judgment upon him and his sons.
16.2. The man of God (prophet) declares to Eli that because of the sin of his sons and his allowing his sons to openly sin even while performing as priests before the Lord, that both of his sons would die on the same day. Basically, what the man of God declares is that the priestly line which came through Aaron would cease in his family, however it would continue on in another branch of Aaron’s family at a later time.
16.3. Warren Wiersbe writes about how this prophesy against the house of Eli from this man of God was fulfilled, “In David’s day the descendants of Eleazar outnumbered those of Ithamar at least two to one (1 Chron. 24:1-5), so Eli’s family did slowly die out. But even worse, very soon Eli’s two pampered sons would die on the same day…at Nob many of the preists were slain by Doeg, which was a partial fulfillment of this prophecy.”
17. VS 3:1-10 - “1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. 8 So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”” - The Lord calls young Samuel by name but since Samuel does not “know” the Lord Samuel does not recognize that it is the Lord who is calling him
17.1. We do not know for sure how old young Samuel is when the Lord calls out his name here, however it has been suggested that he may have been as old as 11 years old.
17.2. Young Samuel believes that it must be Eli calling out his name and thus three times he runs to Eli when he hears his name. However, Eli thinks that Samuel must have been having a dream and sends him back to his room. After the third time however, Eli realizes that it is the Lord who is calling to Samuel, and he tells Samuel to respond to the Lord and when the Lord calls again to tell the Lord that he was there and ready to listen to Him.
17.3. This calling of Samuel by the Lord was a calling into a personal relationship with Samuel. Up until this point in time Samuel knew about the Lord however there had never been a two way personal relationship with the Lord, for Samuel had never yet heard the Lord’s voice. However, when the Lord calls for the fourth time we see that Samuel responds to the Lord, and when he responds to the Lord he responds with a heartfelt deep commitment, calling himself the Lord’s ‘servant.’
17.4. We will see in the next verses that the calling of Samuel was not only a call to a personal relationship but also a prophetic call for the Lord gives Samuel a prophetic message to deliver to Eli.
17.5. The examples in scripture of David, Samuel, Daniel, and pastor Timothy in the New Testament show us that God can even use young men in a mighty way if they learn to follow the Lord and walk in obedience. Spiritual maturity is not based upon physical age, you see.
VS 3:11-21 - “11 The
Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am
about to do a thing in
18.1. It was mentioned at the outset of this study that Samuel was called to not only be a judge and a priest, but he was also the first called to be a prophet in the era of the prophets. These verses detail the beginning of the prophetic calling of young Samuel.
18.2. We see here that although Samuel was at first fearful to tell the message he had received to Eli, that he finally ends up being a faithful messenger and relaying to Eli this prophetic message of impending judgment to Eli’s household.
18.3. We see that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord:
18.3.1. It says here that ‘none of his words fail’ to come to fruition that he spoke prophetically. This of course was one of the essential characteristics of a man who was truly called to be a prophet of the Lord: every word he spoke came to pass.
18.3.2. Samuel was confirmed in the people’s hearts as a prophet of the Lord, for from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, everyone knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord.
19.1. As we reflect upon our study today, there are several applications to our own life that I want to remind us of:
19.1.1. Remember from Hannh’s story that there is a always a good reason why the Lord does not answer our prayers right away, or in our desired timing.
19.1.2. Remember the fruits of a godly household and the raising up children to honor and serve the Lord faithfully, as Hannah did (not Eli).
19.1.3. Remember the importance of following Samuel’s example and persevere in serving the Lord faithfully, regardless of what anyone and everyone around you may or may not do in their own lives.