Catholic Introduction To The Old Testament: The First Book of Samuel

Catholic Introduction To The Old Testament: First Book of Samuel
The First Book of Samuel

The book of First Samuel records the transition in Israel from the period of the judges to the monarchy. This change in Israel’s national life revolved mainly around three men: Samuel, the last of the great judges; Saul, Israel’s first king; and David, whose early adventures before coming to power are interwoven with the accounts of Samuel and Saul.

The theme of this book, like that of other historical writings in the Old Testament, is that faithfulness to God brings success, while disobedience brings disaster. This is stated clearly in the Lord’s message to the priest Eli in 2.30: "I will honor those who honor me, and I will treat with contempt those who despise me."

The book records mixed feelings about the establishment of the monarchy. The Lord himself was regarded as the real king of Israel, but in response to the people’s request the Lord chose a king for them. The important fact was that both the king and the people of Israel lived under the sovereignty and judgment of God (2.7—10). Under God’s laws the rights of all people, rich and poor alike, were to be maintained.

Outline of Contents

  1. Samuel as judge of Israel 1.1—7.17
  2. Saul becomes king 8.1—10.27
  3. The first years of Saul’s reign 11.1—15.35
  4. David and Saul 16.1—30.31
  5. The death of Saul and his sons 31.1—13


The First Book of Samuel. (1972). In Catholic (Ed.), May they be one Bible: Good news translation (2013 ed., p. 308). Philippine Bible Society.

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