Samuel, Books of

The LXX. translators regarded the books of Samuel and of Kings
as forming one continuous history, which they divided into four
books, which they called "Books of the Kingdom." The Vulgate
version followed this division, but styled them "Books of the
Kings." These books of Samuel they accordingly called the
"First" and "Second" Books of Kings, and not, as in the modern
Protestant versions, the "First" and "Second" Books of Samuel.

The authors of the books of Samuel were probably Samuel, Gad,
and Nathan. Samuel penned the first twenty-four chapters of the
first book. Gad, the companion of David (1 Sam. 22:5), continued
the history thus commenced; and Nathan completed it, probably
arranging the whole in the form in which we now have it (1 Chr.
29:29).

The contents of the books. The first book comprises a period
of about a hundred years, and nearly coincides with the life of
Samuel. It contains (1) the history of Eli (1-4); (2) the
history of Samuel (5-12); (3) the history of Saul, and of David
in exile (13-31). The second book, comprising a period of
perhaps fifty years, contains a history of the reign of David
(1) over Judah (1-4), and (2) over all Israel (5-24), mainly in
its political aspects. The last four chapters of Second Samuel
may be regarded as a sort of appendix recording various events,
but not chronologically. These books do not contain complete
histories. Frequent gaps are met with in the record, because
their object is to present a history of the kingdom of God in
its gradual development, and not of the events of the reigns of
the successive rulers. It is noticeable that the section (2 Sam.
11:2-12: 29) containing an account of David's sin in the matter
of Bathsheba is omitted in the corresponding passage in 1 Chr.
20.