Author: Not stated. Samuel himself was likely involved, though some of the history of 1 Samuel occurs after the prophet’s death.
Date: Approximately 1100-1000 BC.
In Ten Words or Less: Israel’s twelve tribes unite under a king.
Details: An infertile woman, Hannah, begs God for a son, promising to return him to the Lord’s service. Samuel is born and soon sent to the temple to serve under the aging priest, Eli. Upon Eli’s death, Samuel serves as judge, or deliverer, of Israel, subduing the nation’s fearsome enemy, the Philistines. As Samuel ages, Israel’s tribal leaders reject his sinful sons and ask for a king. Samuel warns that a king will tax the people and force them into service, but they insist and God tells Samuel to anoint the notably tall and handsome Saul as Israel’s first ruler. King Saul starts well but begins making poor choices - and when he offers a sacrifice to God, a job reserved for priests, Samuel tells Saul that he will be replaced. Saul’s successor will be a shepherd named David, who with God’s help kills a giant Philistine warrior named Goliath and becomes Israel’s hero. The jealous king seeks to kill David, who runs for his life. David rejects opportunities to kill Saul himself, saying, “I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed” (26:23). At the end of 1 Samuel, Saul dies battling the Philistines, making way for David to become king.
From Know Your Bible, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.