Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > Study Guide

Why the Book of 1 Samuel is important

Many of the most important lessons in 1 Samuel become clear when we compare Saulís life with Davidís life:

(1) The life of Saul

Saulís life warns us that we must always remain loyal to God.

God appointed Saul to rule Israel (10:1) and the Holy Spirit came powerfully upon him (10:9-11). In his battle against Nahash, he acted in the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue the inhabitants of Jabesh (11:1-11).

However, at Gilgal, Saul did not obey Godís command to him (10:8). That happened because Saul was afraid (13:7-14).

After that event, Saul continued to serve God as Israelís king. He defended the nation from its many enemies (9:16; 14:47-48; 14:52). He made Israel a safer and richer country (2 Samuel 1:24), although it never knew peace during his rule.

The good part of Saulís rule ended with his war against Amalek. Saul refused to obey Godís instructions for that war; in fact, he decided on purpose not to obey God (1 Samuel chapter 15). The result was that God removed Saulís authority to rule Israel (15:26-29). Saul remained king, but God had chosen another man, David, to become king (15:28; 16:13).

After that, Saul became very evil. He acted with great cruelty (1 Samuel 16:2; 1 Samuel 22:16; 2 Samuel 21:1). Especially, he wanted to kill David, against whom he felt jealous and angry (18:8-11; 19:9-15; 20:30-31; 23:7-28).

God was still working in Saulís life; and Saul had several opportunities to return to God (19:23-24; 24:16-21; 26:21). However, Saul never did return to God. Even on the night before his death, Saul chose to use witchcraft (28:5-20). Witchcraft is a kind of magic and it is against Godís law (Deuteronomy 18:10-14).

(2) The life of David (before he became king)

On the other hand, in the life of David, we see a man who truly loved God. The Book of 1 Samuel deals only with the first part of his life, before he became king.

When David was just a boy, Samuel appointed him to be Israelís next king (16:13). David did not then try to oppose Saul or to start a revolution. Instead, he waited patiently for God to bring about what he had promised.

David served Saul loyally, firstly as his musician (16:14-23). After the defeat of Goliath (1 Samuel chapter 17), David became a commander in Saulís army (18:13-14). He was successful and he even married Saulís daughter (18:20-27). However, Saul was jealous of David; Saul became afraid and angry.

Saul tried to kill David and David had to escape for his life (19:9-12). David had to hide in the forests and later in the deserts of southern Israel. During this time, David led a group of 400 (and later 600) men. They acted as guards and they protected the south of Israel from robbers.

Saul was still trying to kill David so, in the end, David went into Philistia (27:1). However, during all this time, David remained loyal to Saul and to Israel. Davidís troubles did not disturb his trust in God. In fact, his trust in God became stronger, as the Book of Psalms shows.

Near the end of 1 Samuel, David led his men in a great battle against a very large group of robbers (1 Samuel chapter 30). The result of that battle was that David became a rich man. David was generous; he gave gifts to Judahís leaders and he shared the rewards of the battle between all his men.

At the same time as that battle, Saulís death happened during a different battle, against Philistiaís army. Soon afterwards, David would become Judahís and then Israelís king, as God had promised (2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:1-5).

Next part: 1 Samuel Ė a study guide


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© 2014, Keith Simons.