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3. Samuel

Image by Ben White

Stories About Samuel

The Books of Samuel in the Bible narrate the transition of Israel from being ruled by judges to having kings. Samuel, the last judge and the first major prophet, played a pivotal role in this transition.

  • Samuel was born to Hannah, who dedicated him to God's service from a young age. He lived with the priest Eli in Shiloh. One night, Samuel heard his name called and, after consulting Eli, realized it was God calling him. (1 Samuel 3:1-21)

  • As an adult, Samuel emerged as a leader among the people. He led them to victory against the Philistines on a hilltop. (1 Samuel 7:5-12)

  • Samuel ruled over Israel until old age, but the people desired a king. Despite Samuel's warnings about the consequences of having a king, God listened to their request. (1 Samuel 8:19-22)

  • God instructed Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. (1 Samuel 9:15-16)

  • Later, God directed Samuel to anoint David as the future king of Israel, signaling the transition from Saul's reign. (1 Samuel 16:12-13)


Samuel was a special person chosen by God to help the Israelites. He was born to a woman named Hannah, who promised to give him to God's service when he was a little boy. Samuel lived with a priest named Eli in a place called Shiloh. One night, Samuel heard someone calling his name, and he realized it was God. As Samuel grew up, he became a leader. The people wanted a king, so God told Samuel to choose Saul as their first king. Later, God chose Samuel to pick a young shepherd named David as the next king. Samuel showed that listening to God was very important.

Why do you think people wanted a king? 

Image by Mick Haupt

The Books in the Bible of 1st and 2nd Samuel include LOTS of stories about OTHER biblical people.

  • Saul (1 Samuel 9:1-2): The first king of Israel chosen by Samuel, but later rejected by God due to disobedience.

  • David (1 Samuel 16:11-13): The second king of Israel, known for his bravery, musical talents, and writing many of the Psalms.

  • Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:1-14): Saul's son and David's close friend, who showed great loyalty and bravery.

  • Eli (1 Samuel 1:9-18): The priest who raised Samuel and served at the tabernacle in Shiloh.

  • Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-20): Samuel's mother who dedicated him to God's service.

  • Nathan (2 Samuel 7:2-17): A prophet who played a key role in David's life, confronting him about his sins.

  • Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1-11): The Philistine giant whom David famously defeated in battle.

  • Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1-12): David's son who rebelled against him, leading to a tragic conflict and his eventual death.

  • Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5): The wife of Uriah the Hittite, with whom David committed adultery, leading to a series of tragic events.

  • Joab (2 Samuel 2:12-30): A commander in David's army known for his military prowess and loyalty, but also for his ruthlessness.

  • Samuel's sons (1 Samuel 8:1-3): Although not as prominent, Samuel's sons, Joel and Abijah, served as judges in Israel but did not follow their father's righteous ways.

  • Abigail (1 Samuel 25:23-35): A wise and courageous woman who became David's wife after her husband Nabal's death, demonstrating loyalty and resourcefulness.


These stories introduce some characters I wasn't familiar with until I was older, but they're pretty cool once you get to know them!

  • Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:1-14): Meet Jonathan, the fearless son of King Saul! He teamed up with his trusty armor-bearer to take down a whole army, all because he believed in God's help. 

  • Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1-12): Here's Absalom, one of King David's sons with a rebellious streak! He decided he wanted to be king instead of his dad, which led to some major family drama. Let's just say it didn't end well for Absalom in the end.

  • Joab (2 Samuel 2:12-30): Say hello to Joab, the mighty commander in King David's army! He was like a real-life superhero in battles, but sometimes he made not-so-heroic choices. Even heroes have their flaws, right?

  • Samuel's sons (1 Samuel 8:1-3): Meet Joel and Abijah, the sons of the wise judge Samuel! While their dad was busy being a great leader, these two were causing mischief and mayhem. Looks like they missed the memo on being righteous rulers!

  • Abigail (1 Samuel 25:23-35): Here comes Abigail, the clever and courageous woman who won King David's heart! When her grumpy husband, Nabal, snubbed David, Abigail stepped in with kindness and wisdom. No wonder David couldn't resist marrying her after Nabal's not-so-happy ending!

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