1 Samuel 4:1 - And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

The Prophet Samuel

And moving on we come to Samuel who was the first of Israel's great prophets, and the last of the judges. Samuel's mother Hannah (who was barren) had prayed for a son.

1 Sam 1:10-11 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life. . ."

She praised God when He answered her prayer and gave her a child. Hannah gave Samuel to the priest, Eli, so he could be taught to serve the Lord. As a child, Samuel, heard from God that he was going to be a prophet and judge in Israel. Before Samuel's time, a prophet was called a "seer." But Samuel was not just a forecaster of the future but became a "mouthpiece" for God. He was used by God to inform Eli that his house would be punished for the abuses and the perversions of his sons who were the priests of the people. The priest was a mediator for God to the people and for the people to God. But they were completely corrupt. Samuel also rebuked the nation about their evil ways.

The Philistines and other enemies oppressed Israel so severely that they became disheartened. They complained that the nation had no hope of survival as long as it remained a collection of tribes. They were tired of being a theocracy under God. They wanted something more tangible. They wanted a monarchy. They cried for a king. They longed for a strong nation headed by a warrior king. The more Samuel tried to wed them closer to Jehovah and His direct rule over them, the more discontent they became. They wanted what the other nations had, an earthly king. At last, a broken-hearted Samuel let them have their way. (1 Sam 1-8).

1 Sam 8:4-22 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. "According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day-- with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods-- so they are doing to you also. "Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. "He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. "He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. "And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. "He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. "And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. "He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. "And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. So the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed their voice, and make them a king."