Old Testament Survey I Samuel

Introduction: Beginning in I Samuel and continuing through II Chronicles – we have the record of the rise and fall of Israel’s monarchy.  I Samuel covers the first period of about 115 years. – from the birth of Samuel to the death of Saul.

Here, we have the transition from theocracy and the judges to the monarchy under kings.  Samuel was the last of the judges. This Book records the moral failure of the priesthood under Eli. In the prophetic office, Samuel was faithful and he begins the line of the writing prophets. In this Book, the line of Judges end’s and the line of Kings begins with Saul.

In the Book of Judges, we saw Israel under the theocracy: God was the King. Israel constantly turned away from their King and turned to false gods. Compromise and disobedience brought chastisement and, after a time, deliverance.

God established the school and office of the prophets through Samuel. He also instituted reforms to restore the religious moral life of Israel. The school of the prophets taught the true doctrines of God which brought true worship and a return to Godly morality. It also raised the mental state of the nation through reading and writing. This produced educated leaders that were truly able to lead an educated nation.

God also used Samuel to set up a constitutional monarchy. Saul was to have been a king in obedience to God’s Law: this did not happen until David became king.

King Saul could not read or write. When David, raised in the educational system of Samuel, became king,  Israel had a king who was in subservience to God’s Law, on the throne.

Author: The Holy Spirit

Human writer: Samuel

Divisions Of I Samuel

  1. I Samuel – chap. 1-7

         His life and ministry

  1. Saul – chap. 8-15

   His life and ministry

III. David – chap. 16-31   

   His life and ministry


The First Section

I Samuel – chap. 1-7

I. Samuel Was The First To Use The Term – “Lord Of Hosts.”

  1. I Samuel 1:3 – this recognizes God as the Sovereign of all hosts
  2. earthly hosts – army of Israel
  3. celestial host – sun, moon, stars
  4. heavenly host – heavenly beings
  1. Beginning here, “Lord of hosts”  is used 235 times in the Bible
  2. Hebrew = Jehovah Sabaoth
  3. primary meaning of Jehovah = “the self-existent one.”
  4. Exodus 3:14 – Literally – He that is who He is OR the eternal “I AM”
  5. it is the name  of Jehovah in manifestation of power
  6. the “Lord of hosts” is the “King of glory” – Psalms 24:10
  7. This Name is revealed in Israel’s time of need
  8. it is never found in the Pentateuch
  9. not directly found in Joshua or Judges
  10. it occurs rarely in the Psalms
  11. Jeremiah, the prophet, uses the name about 80 times
  12. Haggai – in 2 chapters – uses the name 14 times
  13. Zechariah – in 14 chapters – uses the name approximately 50 times
  14. Malachi uses the name about 25 times


  1. Samuel: The Last Judge Of Israel
  2. I Samuel 7:6 – God raised him up during the darkest days of Israel after they had been in                                    the Promised Land
  1. the 6th servitude was going strong – the Philistines were gaining strength
  2. it now look as if God’s light to the world – through Israel – was about to be put out
  3. at this point – God raised up Samuel – I Samuel 3:3
  4. The time period of Judges saw Israel fall into 6 major apostasies
  5. this resulted in being slaves to their enemies or captures
  6. the Lord delivered them from 5 of them through the Judges

The Second Section  – I Samuel – chap. 8-15

Notes: God told Samuel to give Israel their earthly king> God told Samuel to warn them that this king does not give; he takes: I Samuel 8 1-22. Part of the reason they wanted an earthly king was because of the ungodly character of Samuel’s sons who would have followed him as judges over Israel.  However, they showed a lack of faith in God, their Heavenly King.

Samuel dies during the reign of Saul: I Samuel 25:1. This was after David’s anointing; I Samuel 16:13 and during the time when David was a fugitive from Saul.

In this section, we see the life and ministry of Saul – he was the first of Israel’s kings.

II. Saul was to be a theocratic king that would rule in cooperation with the priests and prophets. He was to rule under God’s Law as written in the “manner of the kingdom,” as well as other rules and proclamations that were revealed through the mouths of his prophets. This did not happen until David became the king of Israel after Saul died.

  1. Saul’s Career As King
  2. Anointed king
  3. oil – a symbol of the Holy Spirit chap. 10:1
  4. vs 6 – the Spirit of the Lord –
  5. vs 6 – turned into another man – II Cor. 5:17
  6. another heart – a heart to serve and live for God – vs 9
  7. Saul’s self will chap. 13
  8. the battle vs. 4-7
  9. Saul foolishly does the job of the priest – vs 9-10
  10. divine rejection of Saul – vs 13-14
  11. Saul’s disobedience – chap. 15
  12. vs 1-3 – Saul was to obey the voice of the  words of the Lord – I Samuel 15:22
  13. vs 9 – partial obedience is disobedience
  14. vs 10-11 – God is never pleased in partial obedience = disobedience
  15. vs 15 – Saul kept the best of the worst. Vs 3 – destroy it ALL – here, Saul keeps what he wants.
  16. vs 19 – sin is evil.
  17. vs 23 – sin is rebellion – stubbornness results in iniquity = breaking God’s laws which                                   leads  to idolatry.
  18. vs 35 – God was sorry He made Saul king over Israel
  19. Saul’s sin of disobedience robbed Saul of God’s blessings
  20. Saul’s sin sets Saul aside for service – David will now be God’s king over Israel
  21. If we do not follow the Lord- obey – do His will – God can set you aside for service and choose someone else to do that work and receive God’s blessings


III. David – chap. 16-31 – I Samuel chaps. 16-31

Here, we read about David’s life and ministry – he became the greatest king of Israel. David was also known as the sweet Psalmist of Israel. In Matthew chapter 1, we read of the lineage of Christ and find that David was a forefather of Christ. In Luke 1:32, we read that Jesus is heir to the throne of David.

  1. David Anointed King By Samuel – 16:1-13 (VS13)
  2. David was a young, innocent looking, boy; he was not tall: vs 6-7
  3. God chooses the unlikely: I Corinthians 1:26-29
  1. David And Goliath – chap. 17
  2. David defends Israel
  3. the enemy (Goliath) is 9’3” tall – vs 4
  4. your enemy may be big and loom over you and seem like defeat is eminent
  5. our strength is from the Lord – vs 42-47
  6. the challenge – vs 8-10
  7. The battle and the victory
  8. vs 49-51
  9. David fights an impossible battle – impossible odds – not equipped with the worlds                                      weapons, but he wins. How? I Thessalonians 5:22

III.  Saul Plots Against David – chap. 18 – 19

  1. Covenant of David and Jonathan – chap. 18:1
  2. Saul’s jealousy – vs 8-9
  3. David marries Michal: Saul’s daughter – vs 20-21
  4. David condemned to death by Saul – chap. 19:1
  5. Saul seeks to kill David – vs 10
  6. David flees – vs 18
  7. Saul sends messengers to capture David
  1. David Is In Exile – chap. 19:18- chap. 30
  2. Saul seeks advice from the witch of Endor 28:7-18
  3. Saul pays the price – vs 18-19
  1. Death Of King Saul – chap. 31
  2. He takes his own life – vs 4
  3. This chapter contains the death of Saul and his sons – vs 6

Lessons: Respect God’s anointed as David did Saul. Let God control to course of events which includes taking care of our enemies. Never forget – God is in control. God placed David in a place of safety. If he had stayed with Saul, he would have, most likely, died with Saul and his sons. God preserved David through the dangers and guided him away from destruction.