Archive | 1 Samuel

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A battle of champions

A battle of champions. To save lives, the outcomes of battles were at times decided by one-on-one combat (17:4). A champion was selected from the opposing armies to fight each other. Both sides assumed that the gods had thereby determined the winning side.

Why did Saul spare the Kenites

Why did Saul spare the Kenites? Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was a Kenite. Jethro and his son were helpful and kind to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. Because of this, David also showed favor to the Kenites when he became king.

Jonathan shows his trust in God

Jonathan shows his trust in God when he says, “nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few” (14:6). The Lord blesses him and gives him victory over the Philistine army (14:1–23). In contrast, Saul disobeys God and loses his kingship.

Lord of lords

Lord of lords. Beginning with Saul and David, kings ruled over Israel. But kings did not have supreme authority. That position still belonged to the Lord. Any king who undermined the authority of the Lord or the words he sent through his prophets would eventually see his kingdom fail.

A king is crowned

A king is crowned. Saul becomes the first king of all 12 tribes of Israel in ch. 12. Only three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon) ruled the entire nation before the people divided into the nations of Israel and Judah.

Musical instruments

Though musical instruments were used to induce trances in pagan worship, the Israelites used them for pleasing the Lord. The instruments used by the prophets in 10:5 were the same ones used during feasts (Isa. 5:12).

A gift for the prophet

A gift for the prophet. Gift-giving was an important custom in the social dealings of the ancient world, as is often the case today in various cultures around the world. It was expected that a person seeking knowledge from a prophet would give a gift in exchange (9:6–8).


Ebenezer (7:12) means “stone of help.” The monument was raised to remember the victory of the Israelites over the Philistines. Samuel chose to name it after the place where the Philistines first defeated the Israelites. This monument represented a chance of a fresh start for Israel because God had changed their circumstances and restored them […]

Why the offering of golden mice and tumors?

Why the offering of golden mice and tumors? The tumors that afflicted the Philistines were most likely inflamed lymph nodes. This is the most common symptom of bubonic plague, which is often spread through rodents such as mice. Therefore, in order to appease the God of Israel, the Philistines sent gold replicas of the mice […]

The term “Hebrews”

The term “Hebrews” is used in 4:6 by the Philistines to describe the Israelites as an ethnic group. The term literally means “descendants of Eber” (Gen. 10:21–25). After David established the monarchy, the nation was referred to as “Israel” rather than “the Hebrews.”