Bible Book Summaries: Old Testament Books
The book of Samuel begins with the story of barren Hannah who prays to God for a son. She promises to lend him to the Lord if God answers her prayer.
She conceives, names him Samuel and brings him to Eli the priest when she finishes weaning him. God gives Hannah five more children.
Eli’s sons took the best offerings for themselves and sinned with the women. God judged Eli for not restraining his sons. God called Samuel as a prophet.
Israel went to battle with the Philistines and lost. They killed Eli’s two sons and captured the Ark of the Covenant. Upon hearing the news, Eli fell and broke his neck and died. His pregnant daughter-in-law gave birth and named the child Ichabod, which means the glory of the Lord has departed from Israel.
The Philistines brought the Ark to Dagon’s temple before Dagon. The next morning Dagon was bowing before the Ark of the Covenant with a broken head and hands. The people of Ashdod broke out with tumors so they gave the Ark back to the Philistines. In each land they brought the Ark the people suffered such great plagues they returned the Ark back to the Philistines. They sent it back to Beth She Mesh with a sin offering to the God of Israel of five golden tumors and five golden rats. Those people looked into the Ark and God killed them. They brought the Ark to Eleazar the son of Abinadab and he kept it.
Samuel judged Israel and defeated the Philistines. As he grew older his sons judged Israel but they were corrupt and the Israelites asked God for a king. Despite Samuel’s warning of the actions of a king, they demanded one and rejected God as their King. God instructed Samuel and he brought him and Saul together and Samuel anointed Saul as Israel’s commander. Saul saved the people of Jabesh Gilead by defeating the Ammonites and the people made him their King. Saul defeated the Philistines. When a large army gathered to fight Israel and Samuel was late in meeting him, Saul took it upon himself to offer a burnt offering to the Lord. When Samuel met up with Saul and learned of his act, speaking for God, he told him his kingdom would not continue.
Saul’s son Jonathon- without telling his father- took his armor bearer on a covert mission and defeated Philistines. Saul made a foolish oath commanding no one to eat until he defeated the Philistines and Jonathan broke it by eating honey. God told Saul to totally destroy Amalek and its possessions but Saul spared its King and took the best of the flocks for himself. God told Samuel that he regretted making Saul King. Samuel rebuked Saul for not obeying God and he killed King Agag of Amalek.
God sent Samuel to Jesse’s sons and when he met the youngest, God told Samuel to anoint him. A distressing spirit from God tormented Saul and David was sent to play his harp and he became Saul’s armor bearer. The Philistines gathered against Israel and the giant and champion Goliath challenged Israel. David stood up to fight Goliath with a sling shot and five smooth stones. He slung one shot to Goliath’s head and killed him. Saul took in David and he and Jonathan became best friends. After hearing women sing to David for this victory, Saul set out to kill David.
Saul promised his daughter in marriage to David providing he brings back 100 Philistine foreskins. Saul hoped that David would die in the battle. David came back with 200 foreskins and married Michel. Jonathan spoke to his father on behalf of David to spare his life. Saul attempted to kill David and Jonathan protected him. David fled and went to the temple and ate showbread and the Priest gave David Goliath’s sword. He went to Achish king of Gath and pretended to be insane. David gathered a band of poor and disgruntled persons and became their captain. A prophet told him to depart and go to Judah.
Saul heard of the Priest’s actions and killed all of the Priests and their families, but Abiathar one of the sons escaped and told David. The Philistines were fighting Keilah and robbing their food. David inquired of God and fought the Philistines and defeated them. Saul learned of David’s location and he fled to the wilderness. Saul sought David daily, but God protected him.
The Ziphites told Saul where David was hiding. He pursued him and David fled but Saul had to go and fight the Philistines. David went to the wilderness of En Gedi and Saul hunted him there. David hid in a cave and Saul went in to go to the bathroom. David cut off a portion of Saul’s robe. He would not kill Saul because he was God’s anointed. David called to Saul. He showed him the piece of the robe and declared that he is not Saul’s enemy and asked why Saul was pursuing him. Saul wept and repented of his actions. He made David swear that when he became king, he would not blot out his name or his kill his descendants. Samuel died.
David went to Nabal for water and food and Nabal insulted him. As David prepared to war against Nabal and his men, Abigail came to him with food and water. She talked him out of killing Nabal and made up for the sin of her husband. Nabal on hearing the news had a heart attack and ten days later died and David married Abigail.
Saul gave David’s wife Michel to another man and he pursued him in the wilderness. David went to Saul’s camp and took his sword and water jug while he slept. David called to Saul to reason with him. David gave him back his sword but did not trust Saul so he went to Gath the land of the Philistines and fought the nations on the outskirts. Achish went to fight Israel with David at this side but the leaders did not want David there so he left.
When the Philistines gathered, Saul went disguised to a medium– he previously banished them from the land–and he had her ask for Samuel. Samuel came up and spoke to him and told him he and his sons would die at the hand of the Philistines. When David went back to his camp, Ziklag had invaded and taken David’s wives and all of their goods. David attacked Ziklag and rescued his wives and recovered his possessions. The Philistines pursued Saul and his sons. The archers hit Saul with an arrow. Saul being severely wounded fell on his sword to prevent his enemies from killing and abusing him, and his armor bearer did the same. The book of 1 Samuel ends with the death and burial of Saul and his sons.