About this book
The First Book of Samuel is actually the first half of a single book that was divided into two parts,1 and 2 Samuel, because together they were too long to fit on one scroll. The books are named after one of the main characters, who was a prophet and also the last judge to lead Israel.
The first part of 1 Samuel (1—7) tells about the life of Samuel and how he helped Israel's army fight against enemies that were making raids in Israel. But when he grew old, the people decided to ask the Lord for a king who could lead the army.
In the second part of this book (8.1—15.35) the Lord told Samuel to appoint Saul son of Kish to be the first king of Israel. Saul and his eldest son Jonathan won several battles against the Ammonites and Philistines, but Saul did not completely obey the Lord.
In the third part of the book (15.35—31.13), the Lord told Samuel to secretly appoint a young man named David to be the next king. The book tells how David soon became a national hero after he killed the giant Philistine warrior, Goliath from Gath. But as David continued to become more popular, Saul became suspicious of David. Saul tried to have him killed, even though David was married to Saul's daughter Michal and was best friends with Saul's son Jonathan. The rest of 1 Samuel tells how David escaped and became the leader of his own small army in the desert. Saul continued to hunt for David, and so David finally had to lead his followers to Philistia to be safe from Saul.
The book concludes with the death of Saul and his sons in a battle with the Philistine army. The Lord was keeping his promise to make David the king of Israel:
I've rejected Saul, and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him … go and visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem. I've chosen one of his sons to be my king.
A quick look at this book
1. The birth and early childhood of Samuel (1.1—2.10)
2. Samuel at the sacred tent (2.11—4.1)
3. The sacred chest is captured and returned (4.1—7.2)
4. Samuel as the leader of Israel (7.3–17)
5. Saul, the first king of Israel (8.1—11.15)
6. Samuel's farewell speech (12.1–25)
7. Saul disobeys the Lord, and the Lord rejects him as king (13.1—15.35)
8. The Lord chooses David to be the next king (15.35—16.13)
9. David plays the harp for Saul (16.14–23)
10. David kills Goliath (17.1—18.5)
11. Saul tries to kill David (18.6–30)
12. Jonathan, Michal, Samuel, and Ahimelech help David (19.1—21.9)
13. David runs from Saul (21.10—22.5)
14. Saul kills the priests of the Lord (22.6–23)
15. David refuses to kill Saul (23.1—26.25)
16. David in Philistia (26.25—27.12)
17. Saul talks with Samuel's ghost (28.1–25)
18. David rescues the families of his troops (29.1—30.31)
19. Saul and his sons die in battle against the Philistines (31.1–13)