1 Samuel 9:1-10:16

This passage describes Saul’s private anointing to be king.
10:20-24 describes his public identification by lot as the man of God’s choice. 11:14, 15 describes his public enthronement.


  1. 9:1-14. What encouragement can we take from the fact that the free movements of young men and girls, of donkeys and God’s prophet, are overruled here to bring about God’s purposes?
  2. What three confirmatory signs were given to Saul?
    How would they give him assurance that Samuel’s words in 10:1 were indeed true?
    How would this section also show that when God calls, he equips?


  1. 10:3, 4. It remarkable that the men should give Saul part of the offering that they probably intended to sacrifice at the sanctuary.
  2. 10:8. Cf. 13:8-14. The event of 11:14, 15 is an interlude and not the visit to Gilgal referred to in 10:8.

1 Samuel 7:3-8:22

  1. How does the story of chapter 7 reveal the conditions of victory even on the field of former defeats?
    Have you had some such experience?
  2. Wanting a king was not necessarily wrong (cf. Deut. 17:14, 15), especially in view of the situation described in 8:1-3.
    Why then did God, while granting their request, at the same time rebuke the people for making it? Why was the desire to be like ‘all the other nations’ (8:5, 10) wrong?
    Contrast Samuel’s actions with the attitude of the people.


  1. 7:6. The pouring out of water symbolized separation from sin.
  2. 8:7 The ‘you’ and me’ in the last clauses are emphatic.
    The people were rejecting God (cf. 10:19), as later Saul did (15:23)
  3. 8:10-18. The behavior described is typical of oriental despots.


1 Samuel 5:1-7:2

  1. Read the story of 5:1-5 in the light of Jer. 10:1-16.
    Contrast the idols with the Lord of hosts.
    How ought such evidence to influence our fear and our faith?
  2. Because the ark of the Lord was associated with his law (cf. Deut. 31:9), it was also associated with judgment – as in this passage.
    Why did such a dire punishment fall on the men of Beth Shemesh, and with what result?
    Cf. Exod. 19:21; Heb. 12:28, 29; and see Note 2 below.


5:6, 12; 6:4,5. The association of tumours and mice suggests an outbreak of bubonic plague.

6:19. The ark, according to God’s command, was to be kept closely covered, when not in the Holy of Holies. Cf. Num. 4:5, 6, 15, 20.

1 Samuel 4:1-22

  1. Try to picture what a crushing blow these events were for Israel. What is the right answer to the question ‘Why?
    In verse 3?
  2. The ark was the visible symbol of the Lord’s ‘glory’ or manifested presence (see verses 21, 22).
    Why, then, did the Israelites’ use of it prove unavailing?
    In what ways can Christmas today make a similar mistake?

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1

  1. Notice the expressions used about Samuel in 2:18, 21; 3:1, 7, 19. What new thing came into Samuel’s life in the experience described in 3:1-14?
    Why did Samuel have to tell the vision (3:15-18)?
    Cf. 1 Cor. 9:16.
  2. What was lacking in Israel at this time, and what did God do to meet the need?
    3:2, 3; Rom. 10:14, 15.


3:1. In those days there was no prophet regularly active to give the people messages from God; contract 3:20 – 4:1a.

3:10. ‘The Lord came and stood there’. This vivid language is paralleled in Job 4:15, 16.


1 Samuel 2:12-36

  1. What aspects of the sins of Eli’s sons were specially grievous in God’s sight
  2. How did Eli fail?
    Cf. Prov. 29:17; Matt. 10:37. Over against 2:31 and 3:14 set 2:35.
    What can we learn from all this concerning the ways of God? Cf. 16:1.


  1. Verses 12-17. The misappropriation of Eli’s sons (‘the men’ of verse 17) was twofold. They took what they wanted rather than what was offered them; and they insisted on receiving their raw portion, before the Lord’s portion – the fat (Lev. 3:3-5) – was burned on the alter.
  2. Verses 18, 28. The ‘ephod’ was an item of priestly dress or equipment.
  3. Verse 25. The tense shows that Eli’s sons habitually did not listen to their father. Notice that it was the Lord’s will to slay them for disobedience, but not the Lord’s will that they should be disobedient.
  4. Verse 30. ‘Minister before me for ever’: a phrase describing the enjoyment of God’s favour. Cf. verse 35.

1 Samuel 2:1-11

This Old Testament ‘Magnificat’ (cf. Luke 1:46-55) possesses an astonishing range of ideas concerning the character of God, his dealings with all sorts of men even to the ends of the earth, and the coming of his anointed king.

  1. Compare the exaltation of verse 1 with the dejection of 1:6-10. What or who should be the object of our joy?
    Cf. Pss. 9:1, 2; 5:11, 12; 1 Pet. 1:8.
  2. What does Hannah say about:
    (a) God’s character, and
    (b) the way in which time and again he reverses the lot of men?
    What will be the final end as described in verses 9, 10?
    What warning and what encouragement do you take from these truths?
    Cf. Ps. 2:11.12.

Note. Verse 6. ‘Grave’ (=sheol’) was the Hebrew name for the place where the dead go.