Book Review: Samuel

10 AM February 12, 2003

One advantage to travelling on the train is that I have lots of good reading time. I've been reading a few different things, including 1 & 2 Samuel.

Quick Summary

1 & 2 Samuel were originally one book. The book is set 1200BC-ish - Samuel is a priest and the last of the judges that God appointed to look after his people, the Israelites. The books of Samuel document the life and times of Israel's first two kings, Saul and David.

Like Genesis and Judges, the book of Samuel is non-stop action. It is so fast that I had to put some effort into maintaining a mental timeline as the book spans about a hundred years of history. The author tends to deal with one plot at a time, although there are several themes that the author returns to time and time again: Gods' holiness, his judgement, his patience and the way he keeps promises.

Noteworthy Bits

There are plenty of good commentaries available on the books of Samuel, so I'll spare you further detail. However, there are lots of memorable things. Here is my list from 1Samuel.

  • God chose Saul. But when Saul rejected God, God rejected Saul. Did God make a wrong choice?
  • David and Goliath is a great story. When the entire Hebrew army is halted out of fear of a single man (the giant king Goliath), a shepherd boy delivering lunch to his brothers saves the day.
  • Even though Saul goes stark raving mad and tries to kill David, David does not defend himself, except to run away. David is driven by a deep respect for God - God had chosen Saul as king and David will not disrespect God by disrespecting the king.
  • There are two good stories about David counting coup on Saul while Saul is hunting down David with an army.
  • Samuel makes an after-death reappearance via seance.

2Samuel is about David's tumultuous reign. David alternately excels and stumbles. The stories of David's taking of Bathsheba and Amnon's rape of his sister Tamar are particularly poignant.

All in all, Samuel is definitely worth a read. Lots to learn about how God dealt with his people in Old Testament times, and lots to ponder about what it means to us in New Testament times.

By alang | # | Comments (4)
(Posted to Christian Life)
© 2003-2006 Alan Green