The political background of Samuel involved the Philistines – whom were especially troublesome and in control of much of the territory controlled by the Israelites. It also involved the Tribes of Israel – who were not united, and each group sought to go its own way and protect itself, even if others of their brethren suffered. Next, we see invasions by Syrians, Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammonites – who all caused great havoc and suffering in the land. In critical hours, deliverers arose to help drive out invaders and give the land a temporary ease.
Then, came the time of the judges, to which, came into focus that those Judges were used to overthrow great hordes of evil men who had taken possession of the Land of Israel. Gideon, Deborah, Jephthah, and Samson were some of the main judges. In Egypt, the 21st dynasty was coming to the throne after a weak 20th dynasty had failed completely, to which the golden days of power and influence were gone forever. Assyria was under the reign of Tiglath Pileser, who had built up a mighty kingdom, but had not come in contact with the struggling and suffering Israelites. We see a couple more empires/kingdoms noted, including the Hittite Empire, which was in decay, and the Aramean Kingdom, who rapidly became a troublesome power.
The social background of Samuel included a constant oppression and frequent wars, which kept the people unsettled. The years of conquest and possession had introduced them to uncounted problems. They didn’t have a settled government that could be relied on to organize them together against their enemies. When Samuel came, the Philistines had reduced them to another siege of slavery – and they were even deprived of means of sharpening their farm tools. This was tragic in the life of Israel.
As for the religious background of Samuel – they didn’t see any teaching or preaching for 300 years. We see a people who had a ring of neighbors with idols, many gods, heathen rites, cults, customs, and ceremonies. With those practices came immoral conceptions and a standard that produced a lifestyle that was not conductive to holy and godly spiritual worship. These people intermarried and gathered unto themselves idols as gods. The central sanctuary was at Shiloh, where the ark was kept and a High Priest officiating at the sacred altar. His name was Eli, a grand old man of Israel – and at this moment, Samuel was born.
If Hannah had not obeyed the Lord - Would Samuel had come?
Samuel’s prized possession was a godly mother who spent her years agonizing in prayer for her boy that was left in the Temple. The influence of a godly home, the solemn dedication to the sanctuary, and the fact that he had been given as an offering before God – were great prizes to this boy/man. His mother visited year to year strengthening the impressions that were already made in his tender years. All of this made for a powerful, faithful, and dynamic man of God – Samuel the Prophet.
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, kept her vow that she would dedicate the child to the Lord for service, and therefore, she did so. Samuel was presented to the Lord at the Temple and received as a young servant by the Old Priest Eli in Shiloh. Later, Samuel hears the voice of the Lord calling him to service, as we see in the text, to which was in the night hours. Samuel did not recognize it as the voice of God and ran to ask Eli about it. Eli gave him admonition after Samuel did this a couple times. When Samuel heard the Lord’s voice for the third time, he did as Eli told him to do, and said to the Lord, “speak; for thy servant heareth.” Samuel heard the prophecy against his house, the house of Eli and Samuel had the task as a young lad to pronounce judgment upon Eli’s house. Samuel waits for Eli to inquire for he feared to tell Eli of the conversation, to which Eli pleaded with Samuel to “hide it not from me.” Samuel was then established as the Prophet of the Lord, and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh and revealed Himself to Samuel.
His Work for the Lord
Samuel’s work and ministry included many things, especially being a first leader and “father” of the School of the Prophets. Samuel was the “Seer,” “Prophet,” and “High Priest.” He was a genuine representative of which God was working through in that hour after 300 years of silent religion in the land. He attained the High office of High Priest, which was made sacred by Aaron. He was truly “Yahweh” messenger and God had honored him with a Divine Call that gave him special revelations for the people. He was successful in restoring the kingdom.
He was also the first circuit judge in the Land of Israel. Through 40 years of his adult life, beginning at about age twenty, he did this work. He continued to be a judge after Saul was chosen until the kingdom was established. He judged Israel and exercised the office of a Prophet at the same time. He was used by God to choose and anoint kings, outline the terms of the kingdom, and oversee the king in his conquests. Samuel was highly esteemed as Prophet, Teacher, Priest, and Judge in Israel until his death around 38 years after the reign of King Saul.
Samuel was a deeply religious/spiritual person from childhood, was obedient to Yahweh, as well as to Eli and his parents. He was a magnanimous person in his thoughts and acts, and was a man of outstanding integrity. His burning social passion kept him active in helping his people, and through his long life, he spent himself, carrying the nation of Israel upon his heart.
It is amazing that one person could be such a great leader doing all kinds of things for the Lord. It is inspiring to see that the Lord designed him for such a great purpose, and he was so obedient in all the things that the Lord wanted him to do according to His Will. With what he accomplished, it was great that so many lives were touched because of him.
He was needed by others - see other accounts
In 1 Chronicles 6:28, we see the sons of Samuel, which were his firstborn Vashni, and Abiah. In Psalm 99:6, we see Samuel was among Moses and Aaron & priests as the chief – to which, they would call upon the Lord…and this includes complete worship of the Lord that Samuel led them. Jeremiah 15:1 talks about even though that Moses and Samuel stood before Him just as Jeremiah was doing, He did not want them in His sight (told him to cast them out of His sight and go forth).
We look next in Acts 3:24 in Samuel’s days the word of the Lord was precious or rare. There were many prophets from Samuel, and all have foretold of these days – as it explains. Then, in Acts 13:20, we see after the judges of 450 years, Samuel the prophet came. Lastly, in Hebrews 11:32-33, Samuel was described with others that through faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, etc.
Samuel had a great following, and worked great with fellow prophets and leaders, which was very helpful in chronicling all that the Lord had done.
How Samuel compares to Jesus Christ
|The High Priest Eli blessed Hannah's son, Samuel, before his birth (1 Samuel 1:17)||An angel blessed Mary before the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:30)|
|Hannah brought Samuel along with a sacrifice to dedicate him to God (1 Samuel 1:24-28)||After purification, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple with an offering (Luke 2:22-24)|
|The parents went to the Tabernacle annually (1 Samuel 2:19)||The parents went to the Temple yearly (Luke 2:41)|
|Samuel became of service to the Tabernacle||Jesus studied and became of service in the Temple|
|Samuel would be given to Israel after a long silence||Jesus would be given to Israel after a long silence|
|A boy who grew in favor of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:26)||A boy who grew in wisdom and favor of the Lord and with men (Luke 2:52)|
|Samuel partially fulfilled God's Promise of raising a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Samuel 3:19-21)||Jesus Christ completely fulfilled God's Promise of a prophet, but this One was and is better than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)|
|Samuel established kingship in Israel (1 Samuel 10:24-25)||Jesus is the true Kingship of Israel and the world as a whole (Luke 1:32-33)|