Icon of the prophet Samuel, 17th century.
|Born||c. before 1070 BCE|
|Died||c. 1012 BCE|
Ramah in Benjamin (traditional)
|Venerated in|| Judaism |
|Feast||August 20 (Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran & Roman Catholicism)|
July 30 (Armenian Apostolic Church)
9 Paoni (Coptic Orthodox Church)
Samuelis a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transition from the period of the biblical judges to the institution of a kingdom under Saul, and again in the transition from Saul to David. He is venerated as a prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In addition to his role in the Hebrew Scriptures, Samuel is mentioned in the New Testament, in rabbinical literature, and in the second chapter of the Qur'an, although here not by name. He is also treated in the fifth through seventh books of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews , written in the first century CE (AD). He is first called the Seer in 1 Samuel 9:9.
The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh or sometimes the Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, except for some Biblical Aramaic passages in the books of Daniel and Ezra. The Hebrew Bible is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible.
The Biblical judges are described in the Hebrew Bible, and mostly in the Book of Judges, as people who served roles as military leaders in times of crisis, in the period before an Israelite monarchy was established.
The United Monarchy is the name given to the Israelite kingdom of Israel and Judah, during the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible. This is traditionally dated between 1050 BCE and 930 BCE. On the succession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, around 930 BCE, the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south.
Samuel's mother was Hannah and his father was Elkanah. Elkanah lived at Ramathaim in the district of Zuph.His genealogy is also found in a pedigree of the Kohathites (1 Chronicles 6:3–15) and in that of Heman the Ezrahite, apparently his grandson (1 Chronicles 6:18–33).
Hannah is one of the wives of Elkanah mentioned in the First Book of Samuel. According to the Hebrew Bible she was the mother of Samuel.
Elkanah was, according to the Books of Samuel, the husband of Hannah, and the father of her children including her first, Samuel. Elkanah practiced polygamy; his other wife, less favoured but bearing more children, was named Peninnah. The names of Elkanah's other children apart from Samuel are not given. Elkanah plays only a minor role in the narrative, and is mostly a supporting character to Eli, Hannah, and Samuel.
Ramathaim-Zophim, also called Ramah and Ramatha in the Douay-Rheims, is a town that has been identified with the modern Palestinian village of Nabi Samwil, about 5 miles north-west of Jerusalem.
According to the genealogical tables in Chronicles, Elkanah was a Levite - a fact not mentioned in the books of Samuel. The fact that Elkanah, a Levite, was denominated an Ephraimiteis analogous to the designation of a Levite belonging to Judah (Judges 17:7, for example).
A Levite is a Jewish male descended patrilineally from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah. The surname Halevi, which consists of the Hebrew definite article "ה" Ha- ("the") plus Levi (Levite) is not conclusive regarding being a Levite; a titular use of HaLevi indicates being a Levite. The daughter of a Levite is a "Bat Levi".
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Judah was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
According to 1 Samuel 1:1–28, Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not. Nonetheless, Elkanah favored Hannah. Jealous, Penninah reproached Hannah for her lack of children, causing Hannah much heartache. The relationship of Penninah and Hannah recalls that between Hagar and Sarah.Elkanah was a devout man and would periodically take his family on pilgrimage to the holy site of Shiloh. The motif of Elkanah and Hannah as devout, childless parents will reoccur with Zachariah and Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist, and with Joachim and Saint Anne and the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus.
Peninnah was one of Elkanah's two wives, briefly mentioned in the first Book of Samuel. Her name may derive from פְּנִנָּה (pəninnāh), meaning "coral".
Hagar is a biblical person in the Book of Genesis. She was an Egyptian slave/handmaid of Sarai (Sarah), who gave her to Abraham to bear a child. The product of the union was Abraham's firstborn, Ishmael, the progenitor of the Ishmaelites. Various commentators have connected her to the Hagrites, perhaps as their eponymous ancestor.
Sarah is a Biblical matriarch and prophetess, a major figure in Abrahamic religions. While some discrepancies exist in how she is portrayed by the different faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all depict her character similarly, as that of a pious woman, renowned for her hospitality and beauty, the wife of Abraham, and the mother of Isaac.
On one occasion Hannah went to the sanctuary and prayed for a child. In tears, she vowed that if she were granted a child, she would dedicate him to God as a Nazirite.Eli, who was sitting at the foot of the doorpost in the sanctuary at Shiloh, saw her apparently mumbling to herself and thought she was drunk but was soon assured of her motivation and sobriety. Eli was the priest of Shiloh, and one of the last Israelite Judges before the rule of kings in ancient Israel. He had assumed the leadership after Samson's death. Eli blessed her and she returned home. Subsequently, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel. Hannah's exultant hymn of thanksgiving resembles in several points Mary's later Magnificat.
In the Hebrew Bible, a nazirite or nazarite is one who voluntarily took a vow described in Numbers 6:1–21. "Nazarite" comes from the Hebrew word נזירnazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated". This vow required the person to:
Eli was, according to the Books of Samuel, a High Priest of Shiloh. When Hannah came to Shiloh to pray for a son, Eli initially accused her of drunkenness, but when she protested her innocence, Eli wished her well. Hannah's eventual child, Samuel, was raised by Eli in the tabernacle. When Eli failed to rein in the abusive behavior of his sons, Yahweh promised to punish his family, resulting eventually in the death of Eli and his sons. Later biblical passages mention the fortunes of several of his descendants, and he figures prominently in Samaritan tradition.
Shiloh was an ancient city in Samaria mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. It has been positively identified with modern Khirbet Seilun, a tell or archaeological mound, called in Modern Hebrew Tel Shiloh. It is located in the West Bank, to the west of the modern Israeli settlement town of Shilo and to the north of the Palestinian town of Turmus Ayya. Relative to other archaeological sites, it is south of ancient Lebonah and 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of Bethel.
After the child was weaned, she left him in Eli's care,and from time to time she would come to visit her son.
According to 1 Samuel 1:20, Hannah named Samuel to commemorate her prayer to God for a child. "... [She] called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord" (KJV). The Hebrew root rendered as "asked" in the KJV is "sha’al", a word mentioned seven times in 1 Samuel 1. Once it is even mentioned in the form "sha’ul", Saul’s name in Hebrew (1 Samuel 1:28).
According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, Samuel was a "[p]ersonal name in the Ancient Near East meaning, 'Sumu is God' but understood in Israel as 'The name is God,' 'God is exalted,' or 'son of God.'"
Samuel worked under Eli in the service of the shrine at Shiloh. One night, Samuel heard a voice calling his name. According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, Samuel was about 11 years old.Samuel initially assumed it was coming from Eli and went to Eli to ask what he wanted. Eli, however, sent Samuel back to sleep. After this happened three times, Eli realised that the voice was the Lord's, and instructed Samuel on how to answer:
Once Samuel responded, the Lord told him that the wickedness of the sons of Eli had resulted in their dynasty being condemned to destruction.In the morning, Samuel was hesitant about reporting the message to Eli, but Eli asked him honestly to recount to him what he had been told by the Lord. Upon receiving the communication, Eli merely said that the Lord should do what seems right unto him.
This event established that Samuel was now "established as a prophet of the Lord" and "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba" became aware of his prophetic calling.Anglican theologian Donald Spence Jones comments that "the minds of all the people were thus gradually prepared when the right moment came to acknowledge Samuel as a God-sent chieftain"
During Samuel's youth at Shiloh, the Philistines inflicted a decisive defeat against the Israelites at Eben-Ezer, placed the land under Philistine control, and took the sanctuary's Ark for themselves. Upon hearing the news of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant, and the death of his sons, Eli collapsed and died. When the Philistines had been in possession of the Ark for seven months and had been visited with calamities and misfortunes, they decided to return the Ark to the Israelites.
According to Bruce C. Birch, Samuel was a key figure in keeping the Israelites' religious heritage and identity alive during Israel's defeat and occupation by the Philistines. "[I]t may have been possible and necessary for Samuel to exercise authority in roles that would normally not converge in a single individual (priest, prophet, judge)."
After 20 years of oppression, Samuel, who had gained national prominence as a prophet (1 Samuel 3:20), summoned the people to the hill of Mizpah, and led them against the Philistines. The Philistines, having marched to Mizpah to attack the newly amassed Israelite army, were soundly defeated and fled in terror. The retreating Philistines were slaughtered by the Israelites. The text then states that Samuel erected a large stone at the battle site as a memorial, and there ensued a long period of peace thereafter.
Judges in the Bible
|Italics indicate individuals not explicitly described as judges|
|Book of Joshua|
|Book of Judges|
|First Book of Samuel|
Samuel initially appointed his two sons Joel and Abijah as his successors; however, just like Eli's sons, Samuel's proved unworthy. The Israelites rejected them. Because of the external threat from other tribes, such as the Philistines, the tribal leaders decided that there was a need for a more unified, central government,and demanded Samuel appoint a king so that they could be like other nations. Samuel interpreted this as a personal rejection, and at first was reluctant to oblige, until reassured by a divine revelation. He warned the people of the potential negative consequences of such a decision. When Saul and his servant were searching for his father's lost asses, the servant suggested consulting the nearby Samuel. Samuel recognized Saul as the future king.
Just before his retirement, Samuel gathered the people to an assembly at Gilgal, and delivered a farewell speechor coronation speech in which he emphasised how prophets and judges were more important than kings, that kings should be held to account, and that the people should not fall into idol worship, or worship of Asherah or of Baal. Samuel promised that God would subject the people to foreign invaders should they disobey. This is seen by some as a deuteronomic redaction; since archaeological finds indicate that Asherah was still worshipped in Israelite households well into the sixth century. However, 1 Kings 11:5, 33 and 2 Kings 23:13 note that the Israelites fell into Asherah worship later on.
When Saul was preparing to fight the Philistines, Samuel denounced him for proceeding with the pre-battle sacrifice without waiting for the overdue Samuel to arrive. He prophesied that Saul's rule would see no dynastic succession.
Samuel directed Saul to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites in fulfilment of the commandment in Deuteronomy 25:17–19:
During the campaign against the Amalekites, King Saul spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and the best of their livestock. Saul told Samuel that he had spared the choicest of the Amalekites' sheep and oxen, intending to sacrifice the livestock to the Lord. This was in violation of the Lord's command, as pronounced by Samuel, to "... utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (1 Samuel 15:3, KJV). Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience and told him that God made him king, and God can unmake him king. Samuel then proceeded to execute Agag. Saul never saw Samuel alive again after this.
Samuel then proceeded to Bethelehem and secretly anointed David as king. He would later provide sanctuary for David, when the jealous Saul first tried to have him killed.
Samuel is described in the biblical narrative as being buried in Ramah.According to tradition, this burial place has been identified with Samuel's tomb in the West Bank village of Nabi Samwil.
Some time after his death, Saul had the Witch of Endor conjure Samuel's ghost in order to predict the result of an up-coming battle. This passage is ascribed by textual scholars to the Republican Source. Classical rabbinical sources say that Samuel was terrified by the ordeal, having expected to be appearing to face God's judgment, and had, therefore, brought Moses with him (to the land of the living) as a witness to his adherence to the mitzvot.
Some authors see the biblical Samuel as combining descriptions of two distinct roles:
Source-critical scholarship suggests that these two roles come from different sources, which later were spliced together to form the Book(s) of Samuel. The oldest is considered to be that marking Samuel as the local seer of Ramah, who willingly anointed Saul as king in secret, while the latter presents Samuel as a national figure, begrudgingly anointing Saul as king in front of a national assembly. This later source is generally known as the Republican Source, since it denigrates the monarchy (particularly the actions of Saul) and favours religious figures, in contrast to the other main source—the Monarchial Source—which treats it favourably. Theoretically if we had the Monarchial Source we would see Saul appointed king by public acclamation, due to his military victories, and not by cleromancy involving Samuel. Another difference between the sources is that the Republican Source treats the ecstatic prophets as somewhat independent from Samuel (1 Samuel 9:1ff) rather than having been led by him (1 Samuel 19:18ff).
The passage in which Samuel is described as having exercised the functions of a (biblical) judge, during an annual circuit from Ramah to Bethel to Gilgal (the Gilgal between Ebal and Gerizim) to Mizpah and back to Ramah, is foreshadowed by Deborah, who used to render judgments from a place beneath a palm between Ramah and Bethel.Source-critical scholarship often considers it to be a redaction aimed at harmonizing the two portrayals of Samuel.
The Book(s) of Samuel variously describe Samuel as having carried out sacrifices at sanctuaries, and having constructed and sanctified altars. According to the Priestly Code/Deuteronomic Code only Aaronic priests/Levites (depending on the underling tradition) were permitted to perform these actions, and simply being a nazarite or prophet was insufficient. The books of Samuel and Kings offer numerous examples where this rule is not followed by kings and prophets, but some critical scholars look elsewhere seeking a harmonization of the issues. In the Book of Chronicles, Samuel is described as a Levite, rectifying this situation; however critical scholarship widely sees the Book of Chronicles as an attempt to redact the Book(s) of Samuel and of Kings to conform to later religious sensibilities. Since many of the Biblical law codes themselves are thought to postdate the Book(s) of Samuel (according to the Documentary Hypothesis), this would suggest Chronicles is making its claim based on religious motivations. The Levitical genealogy of 1 Chronicles 4 is not historical, according to most modern scholarship.
According to the documentary hypothesis of Biblical source criticism, which postulates that "Deuteronomistic historians" redacted the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings), the Deuteronomists idealized Samuel as a figure larger than life, like Joshua. For example, Samuel's father Elkanah is described as having originated from Zuph, specifically Ramathaim-Zophim, which was part of the tribal lands of Ephraim, while 1 Chronicles states that he was a Levite.Samuel is portrayed as a judge who leads the military, as the judges in the Book of Judges, and also who exercises judicial functions. In 1 Sam 12:6–17, a speech of Samuel that portrays him as the judge sent by God to save Israel may have been composed by the Deuteronomists. In 1 Samuel 9:6–20, Samuel is seen as a local "seer". According to documentary scholarship, the Deuteronomistic historians preserved this view of Samuel while contributing him as "the first of prophets to articulate the failure of Israel to live up to its covenant with God." For the Deuteronomistic historians, Samuel would have been an extension of Moses and continuing Moses' function as a prophet, judge, and priest, which makes the nature of the historical Samuel uncertain.
According to the Book of Jeremiahand one of the Psalms , Samuel had a high devotion to God. Classical Rabbinical literature adds that he was more than an equal to Moses, God speaking directly to Samuel, rather than Samuel having to attend the tabernacle to hear God. Samuel is also described by the Rabbis as having been extremely intelligent; he argued that it was legitimate for laymen to slaughter sacrifices, since the Halakha only insisted that the priests bring the blood (cf Leviticus 1:5, Zebahim 32a). Eli, who was viewed negatively by many Classical Rabbis, is said to have reacted to this logic of Samuel by arguing that it was technically true, but Samuel should be put to death for making legal statements while Eli (his mentor) was present.
Samuel is also treated by the Classical Rabbis as a much more sympathetic character than he appears at face value in the Bible; his annual circuit is explained as being due to his wish to spare people the task of having to journey to him; Samuel is said to have been very rich, taking his entire household with him on the circuit so that he didn't need to impose himself on anyone's hospitality; when Saul fell out of God's favour, Samuel is described as having grieved copiously and having prematurely aged.
His yahrzeit is observed on the 28th day of Iyar.
For Christians, Samuel is considered to be a prophet, judge, and wise leader of Israel, and treated as an example of fulfilled commitments to God. On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, as well as the Lutheran calendar, his feast day is August 20. He is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the commemoration of the departure of Samuel the Prophet is celebrated on 9 Paoni.
Herbert Lockyer and others have seen in Samuel's combined offices of prophet, priest, and ruler a foreshadowing of Christ.
This section uncritically uses texts from within a religion or faith system without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. (October 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Samuel (Arabic : صموئيل, romanized: Ṣamūʾīl) is seen as a prophet and seer in the Islamic faith. The narrative of Samuel in Islam focuses specifically on his birth and the anointing of Talut. Other elements from his narrative are in accordance with the narratives of other Prophets of Israel, as exegesis recounts Samuel's preaching against idolatry. He is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an, but referred to as a "prophet" instead.
In the Islamic narrative, the Israelites after Moses wanted a king to rule over their country. Thus, God sent a prophet, Samuel, to anoint Talut as the first king for the Israelites. However, the Israelites mocked and reviled the newly appointed king, as he was not wealthy from birth. But, assuming Talut to be Saul, in sharp contrast to the Hebrew Bible, the Qur’an praises Saul greatly, and mentions that he was gifted with great spiritual and physical strength. In the Qur’anic account, Samuel prophesies that the sign of Talut's kingship will be that the Ark of the Covenant will come back to the Israelites.
Actors who have portrayed Samuel include Leonard Nimoy in the 1997 TV-film David ,Eamonn Walker in the 2009 TV-series Kings and Mohammad Bakri in the 2016 TV-series Of Kings and Prophets .
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Samuel .|
The Books of Samuel, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, form part of the narrative history of Israel in the Nevi'im or "prophets" section of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, called the Deuteronomistic history, a series of books that constitute a theological history of the Israelites and aim to explain God's law for Israel under the guidance of the prophets. According to Jewish tradition, the book was written by Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan. Modern scholarly thinking is that the entire Deuteronomistic history was composed in the period c. 630–540 BC by combining a number of independent texts of various ages.
David is described in the Hebrew Bible as the third king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah, after Ish-bosheth. In the biblical narrative, David is a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion Goliath. He becomes a favorite of King Saul and a close friend of Saul's son Jonathan. Worried that David is trying to take his throne, Saul turns on David. After Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle, David is anointed as King. David conquers Jerusalem, taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and establishing the kingdom founded by Saul. As king, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband Uriah the Hittite. Because of this sin, God denies David the opportunity to build the temple, and his son Absalom tries to overthrow him. David flees Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion, but after Absalom's death he returns to the city to rule Israel. Before his peaceful death, he chooses his son Solomon as successor. He is honored in the prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of a future Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.
Obadiah is a Biblical theophorical name, meaning "servant of God" or "worshiper of Yahweh". The form of Obadiah's name used in the Septuagint is Obdios; in Latin it is Abdias; in Arabic it is عبداللّٰهʿAbdullah. The Bishops' Bible has it as Abdi.
Saul, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first king of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, supposedly marked a transition from a tribal society to statehood.
Nevi'im is the second main division of the Hebrew Bible, between the Torah (instruction) and Ketuvim (writings). The Nevi'im are divided into two groups. The Former Prophets consists of the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; while the Latter Prophets include the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets.
Bethel is a toponym often used in the Hebrew Bible. At first, it was a place where Jacob dreamt of seeing angels and God, which he therefore named Bethel, which means "House of God." The name is further used for a border city located between the territory of the Israelite tribe of Benjamin and that of the tribe of Ephraim, which first belonged to the Benjaminites and was later conquered by the Ephraimites.
Obed-Edom is a biblical name which in Hebrew means "servant of Edom," and which appears in the books of 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Chronicles. The relationship between these passages has been the subject of scholarly discussions which express uncertainty and disagreements about the relationships between various passages that use the name.
Jesse, or Yishai is a figure described in the Bible as the father of David, who became the king of the Israelites. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse". The role as both father of King David and ancestor of Christ has been used in various depictions in art, e.g. as the Tree of Jesse or in hymns like "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming."
The name Aphek or Aphec refers to one or several locations mentioned by the Hebrew Bible as the scenes of a number of battles between the Israelites and the Arameans or Philistines:
King David is a musical, sometimes described as a modern oratorio, with a book and lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Alan Menken. The musical is based on Biblical tales from the Books of Samuel and 1 Chronicles, as well as text from David's Psalms.
Ramah was a city in ancient Israel in the land allocated to the tribe of Benjamin, whose names means "height". It was located near Gibeon and Mizpah to the West, Gibeah to the South, and Geba to the East. It has been identified with modern Er-Ram, about 8 km north of Jerusalem.
Mizpah was a city of the tribe of Benjamin referred to in the Hebrew Bible.
The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to more than fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable, important differences sometimes emerge. The versions written in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament predate the Quran's versions. As such, Christians regard the Quran's versions as being derived directly or indirectly from the earlier materials. Muslims understand the Quran's versions to be witness accounts from an omnipotent God. As such, Muslims generally hold that the earlier versions are distorted through flawed processes of transmission and interpretation, and understand the Quran's versions to be more accurate to the actual events.
The Legends of the Jews is a chronological compilation of aggadah from hundreds of biblical legends in Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash. The compilation consists of seven volumes synthesized by Louis Ginzberg in a manuscript written in the German language. In 1913, it was translated by Henrietta Szold. It was published in Philadelphia by the Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909-38,
|Judge of Israel||Saul was Anointed king|