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samuelmore about samuel

samuel


  2  definitions  found 
 
  From  Easton's  1897  Bible  Dictionary  [easton]: 
 
  Samuel 
  heard  of  God.  The  peculiar  circumstances  connected  with  his 
  birth  are  recorded  in  1  Sam.  1:20.  Hannah,  one  of  the  two  wives 
  of  Elkanah,  who  came  up  to  Shiloh  to  worship  before  the  Lord, 
  earnestly  prayed  to  God  that  she  might  become  the  mother  of  a 
  son.  Her  prayer  was  graciously  granted;  and  after  the  child  was 
  weaned  she  brought  him  to  Shiloh  nd  consecrated  him  to  the  Lord 
  as  a  perpetual  Nazarite  (1:23-2:11).  Here  his  bodily  wants  and 
  training  were  attended  to  by  the  women  who  served  in  the 
  tabernacle,  while  Eli  cared  for  his  religious  culture.  Thus 
  probably,  twelve  years  of  his  life  passed  away  "The  child 
  Samuel  grew  on  and  was  in  favour  both  with  the  Lord,  and  also 
  with  men"  (2:26;  comp.  Luke  2:52).  It  was  a  time  of  great  and 
  growing  degeneracy  in  Israel  (Judg.  21:19-21;  1  Sam.  2:12-17, 
  22).  The  Philistines,  who  of  late  had  greatly  increased  in 
  number  and  in  power,  were  practically  masters  of  the  country, 
  and  kept  the  people  in  subjection  (1  Sam.  10:5;  13:3). 
 
  At  this  time  new  communications  from  God  began  to  be  made  to 
  the  pious  child.  A  mysterious  voice  came  to  him  in  the  night 
  season,  calling  him  by  name  and  instructed  by  Eli,  he 
  answered,  "Speak,  Lord;  for  thy  servant  heareth."  The  message 
  that  came  from  the  Lord  was  one  of  woe  and  ruin  to  Eli  and  his 
  profligate  sons.  Samuel  told  it  all  to  Eli,  whose  only  answer  to 
  the  terrible  denunciations  (1  Sam.  3:11-18)  was  "It  is  the 
  Lord;  let  him  do  what  seemeth  him  good",  the  passive  submission 
  of  a  weak  character,  not  in  his  case,  the  expression  of  the 
  highest  trust  and  faith.  The  Lord  revealed  himself  now  in  divers 
  manners  to  Samuel,  and  his  fame  and  his  influence  increased 
  throughout  the  land  as  of  one  divinely  called  to  the  prophetical 
  office.  A  new  period  in  the  history  of  the  kingdom  of  God  now 
  commenced. 
 
  The  Philistine  yoke  was  heavy,  and  the  people,  groaning  under 
  the  wide-spread  oppression,  suddenly  rose  in  revolt,  and  "went 
  out  against  the  Philistines  to  battle."  A  fierce  and  disastrous 
  battle  was  fought  at  Aphek,  near  to  Ebenezer  (1  Sam.  4:1,  2). 
  The  Israelites  were  defeated,  leaving  4,000  dead  "in  the  field." 
  The  chiefs  of  the  people  thought  to  repair  this  great  disaster 
  by  carrying  with  them  the  ark  of  the  covenant  as  the  symbol  of 
  Jehovah's  presence.  They  accordingly,  without  consulting  Samuel, 
  fetched  it  out  of  Shiloh  to  the  camp  near  Aphek.  At  the  sight  of 
  the  ark  among  them  the  people  "shouted  with  a  great  shout,  so 
  that  the  earth  rang  again."  A  second  battle  was  fought,  and 
  again  the  Philistines  defeated  the  Israelites,  stormed  their 
  camp,  slew  30,000  men,  and  took  the  sacred  ark.  The  tidings  of 
  this  fatal  battle  was  speedily  conveyed  to  Shiloh;  and  so  soon 
  as  the  aged  Eli  heard  that  the  ark  of  God  was  taken  he  fell 
  backward  from  his  seat  at  the  entrance  of  the  sanctuary,  and  his 
  neck  brake,  and  he  died.  The  tabernacle  with  its  furniture  was 
  probably,  by  the  advice  of  Samuel,  now  about  twenty  years  of 
  age,  removed  from  Shiloh  to  some  place  of  safety,  and  finally  to 
  Nob,  where  it  remained  many  years  (21:1). 
 
  The  Philistines  followed  up  their  advantage,  and  marched  upon 
  Shiloh,  which  they  plundered  and  destroyed  (comp.  Jer.  7:12;  Ps 
  78:59).  This  was  a  great  epoch  in  the  history  of  Israel.  For 
  twenty  years  after  this  fatal  battle  at  Aphek  the  whole  land  lay 
  under  the  oppression  of  the  Philistines.  During  all  these  dreary 
  years  Samuel  was  a  spiritual  power  in  the  land.  From  Ramah,  his 
  native  place  where  he  resided,  his  influence  went  forth  on 
  every  side  among  the  people.  With  unwearied  zeal  he  went  up  and 
  down  from  place  to  place  reproving,  rebuking,  and  exhorting  the 
  people,  endeavouring  to  awaken  in  them  a  sense  of  their 
  sinfulness,  and  to  lead  them  to  repentance.  His  labours  were  so 
  far  successful  that  "all  the  house  of  Israel  lamented  after  the 
  Lord."  Samuel  summoned  the  people  to  Mizpeh,  one  of  the  loftiest 
  hills  in  Central  Palestine,  where  they  fasted  and  prayed,  and 
  prepared  themselves  there  under  his  direction,  for  a  great  war 
  against  the  Philistines,  who  now  marched  their  whole  force 
  toward  Mizpeh,  in  order  to  crush  the  Israelites  once  for  all  At 
  the  intercession  of  Samuel  God  interposed  in  behalf  of  Israel. 
  Samuel  himself  was  their  leader,  the  only  occasion  in  which  he 
  acted  as  a  leader  in  war.  The  Philistines  were  utterly  routed. 
  They  fled  in  terror  before  the  army  of  Israel,  and  a  great 
  slaughter  ensued.  This  battle,  fought  probably  about  B.C.  1095, 
  put  an  end  to  the  forty  years  of  Philistine  oppression.  In 
  memory  of  this  great  deliverance,  and  in  token  of  gratitude  for 
  the  help  vouchsafed,  Samuel  set  up  a  great  stone  in  the 
  battlefield,  and  called  it  "Ebenezer,"  saying,  "Hitherto  hath 
  the  Lord  helped  us"  (1  Sam.  7:1-12).  This  was  the  spot  where 
  twenty  years  before  the  Israelites  had  suffered  a  great  defeat, 
  when  the  ark  of  God  was  taken 
 
  This  victory  over  the  Philistines  was  followed  by  a  long 
  period  of  peace  for  Israel  (1  Sam.  7:13,  14),  during  which 
  Samuel  exercised  the  functions  of  judge,  going  "from  year  to 
  year  in  circuit"  from  his  home  in  Ramah  to  Bethel,  thence  to 
  Gilgal  (not  that  in  the  Jordan  valley,  but  that  which  lay  to  the 
  west  of  Ebal  and  Gerizim),  and  returning  by  Mizpeh  to  Ramah.  He 
  established  regular  services  at  Shiloh,  where  he  built  an  altar; 
  and  at  Ramah  he  gathered  a  company  of  young  men  around  him  and 
  established  a  school  of  the  prophets.  The  schools  of  the 
  prophets,  thus  originated,  and  afterwards  established  also  at 
  Gibeah,  Bethel,  Gilgal,  and  Jericho,  exercised  an  important 
  influence  on  the  national  character  and  history  of  the  people  in 
  maintaining  pure  religion  in  the  midst  of  growing  corruption. 
  They  continued  to  the  end  of  the  Jewish  commonwealth. 
 
  Many  years  now  passed,  during  which  Samuel  exercised  the 
  functions  of  his  judicial  office,  being  the  friend  and 
  counsellor  of  the  people  in  all  matters  of  private  and  public 
  interest.  He  was  a  great  statesman  as  well  as  a  reformer,  and 
  all  regarded  him  with  veneration  as  the  "seer,"  the  prophet  of 
  the  Lord.  At  the  close  of  this  period,  when  he  was  now  an  old 
  man,  the  elders  of  Israel  came  to  him  at  Ramah  (1  Sam.  8:4,  5, 
  19-22);  and  feeling  how  great  was  the  danger  to  which  the  nation 
  was  exposed  from  the  misconduct  of  Samuel's  sons,  whom  he  had 
  invested  with  judicial  functions  as  his  assistants,  and  had 
  placed  at  Beersheba  on  the  Philistine  border,  and  also  from  a 
  threatened  invasion  of  the  Ammonites,  they  demanded  that  a  king 
  should  be  set  over  them  This  request  was  very  displeasing  to 
  Samuel.  He  remonstrated  with  them  and  warned  them  of  the 
  consequences  of  such  a  step.  At  length,  however,  referring  the 
  matter  to  God,  he  acceded  to  their  desires,  and  anointed  Saul 
  (q.v.)  to  be  their  king  (11:15).  Before  retiring  from  public 
  life  he  convened  an  assembly  of  the  people  at  Gilgal  (ch.  12), 
  and  there  solemnly  addressed  them  with  reference  to  his  own 
  relation  to  them  as  judge  and  prophet. 
 
  The  remainder  of  his  life  he  spent  in  retirement  at  Ramah, 
  only  occasionally  and  in  special  circumstances  appearing  again 
  in  public  (1  Sam.  13,  15)  with  communications  from  God  to  king 
  Saul.  While  mourning  over  the  many  evils  which  now  fell  upon  the 
  nation,  he  is  suddenly  summoned  (ch.16)  to  go  to  Bethlehem  and 
  anoint  David,  the  son  of  Jesse,  as  king  over  Israel  instead  of 
  Saul.  After  this  little  is  known  of  him  till  the  time  of  his 
  death,  which  took  place  at  Ramah  when  he  was  probably  about 
  eighty  years  of  age.  "And  all  Israel  gathered  themselves 
  together,  and  lamented  him  and  buried  him  in  his  house  at 
  Ramah"  (25:1),  not  in  the  house  itself  but  in  the  court  or 
  garden  of  his  house.  (Comp.  2  Kings  21:18;  2  Chr.  33:20;  1  Kings 
  2:34;  John  19:41.) 
 
  Samuel's  devotion  to  God,  and  the  special  favour  with  which 
  God  regarded  him  are  referred  to  in  Jer.  15:1  and  Ps  99:6. 
 
 
  From  Hitchcock's  Bible  Names  Dictionary  (late  1800's)  [hitchcock]: 
 
  Samuel,  heard  of  God;  asked  of  God 
 




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