Week 3: 1 Samuel 7-9
Day 1: 7:1-17
Samuel was the last judge of Israel, and we see here in chapter 7 one of his last acts as the leader of the nation. He led Israel in such a supernatural and commanding victory over the Philistines that they ceased attacking Israel during Samuel’s lifetime. Not only that, but Samuel’s one victory brought about peace between Israel and the Amorites because he delivered them from the Philistines too.
At the end of the chapter we see that Samuel spends the rest of his days as a circuit riding judge, holding court for disputes in Israel.
Day 2: 8:1-9
When Eli’s sons behaved wickedly, God judged them and their father for his complicity in not stopping them. When Samuel’s sons grew wicked, God did not treat Samuel the same. Why not? Why does Samuel seem to get a pass and Eli judgment?
I think the answer lies in Samuel’s heart. Instead of doubling down on his sons’ rule of Israel, he prayed to the Lord and asked for His direction. We never see Eli doing anything of the sort.
Day 3: 8:10-22
It is interesting that the people of Israel seem to be insistent on having a king right now. Why, after centuries of God raising up judges do the people want a king now? Especially after the memory of peace brought by Samuel’s supernatural victory over the Philistines?
As with several stories in 1 Samuel, it take s little detective work made easier by reading it multiple times in a row. Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, was in the process of besieging Jabesh Gilead, one of Israel’s walled cities. Back then, it could take years to build a siege ramp big enough to scale a wall and take a city. The people of Israel saw this and realized they needed a permanent king to help lead them in their battles.
Because Samuel’s sons were more interested in bribes, they had not taken their father’s place as a military leader judge and stopped Nahash. That is why Israel asked for a king now.
Samuel proclaims to them all that Moses had said a king would do to them when they asked for one—something the Lord had told Moses they would do back in Deuteronomy 17.
Day 4: 9:1-14
The story of Saul’s lost donkeys are an interesting setup for the story to follow. One of the most interesting things we see here is just how widespread the corruption of Samuel’s sons had become. Saul’s servant told him that he had some money to offer to Samuel to inquire of the Lord for them to find the donkeys.
When Simon the sorcerer offered money to Peter for the spiritual gifts of God in the book of Acts, Peter tells him in no uncertain terms just how wicked a request that was. Offering money for judgment had become so commonplace with Samuel’s sons that Saul and his servant thought they could buy the direction of God.
Day 5: 9:15-27
Samuel had been told by the Lord already that he would meet Saul and that he would be looking for donkeys. The Lord’s choice of Saul is a very interesting one since the Bible will later tell us that God regretted His choice. Why did God choose Saul if He knew He would come to regret it?
I think the answer may lie in the fact that Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe that had almost been exterminated just a few years earlier. One of the last stories in the book of Judges is the near extinction of Benjamin and how they preserved them.
Throughout the Bible, the Lord loves to show how He chooses weak, broken people from the most unexpected places to carry out His plans, and the tribe of Benjamin couldn’t have been more unexpected a place for a king to come from.