The two books of Samuel was originally just one book in the Hebrew Bible. It was divided into two books in the Greek version of the Bible, the Septuagint. Despite its name, the Book of Samuel is not about the prophet Samuel. It is not even just about what Samuel saw, but a collection of records by prophet Samuel, Gad and Nathan. It is likely that the book is a compilation of three earlier records by the 3 prophets mentioned.
“Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,” – 1 Chronicles 29:29
I’ve been studying the book of Samuel with a group of believers in a rather time-inefficient way. We gather to read 1 or 2 chapters weekly and let the text reveal the stories to us with no preconceived notions. We avoid attaching lessons or meanings to the text before really getting the story in its context; In other words, we are trying to read the Bible for ourselves, together.
This method of Bible Study (Exegesis, not Eisegesis) really opened my eyes to a lot of details we will definitely miss if we simply rush through, or glimpsed the the Book of Samuel through major stories (ie. David & Goliath) shared from the pulpit. However, simple mathematics will tell you it is going to take about a year to cover all 55 chapters, not considering holidays. It is this realization that motivated me to do a little character study of my own and there are a lot of very interesting characters in the Book of Samuel, all with a story to tell; And I’m just really into stories these days.
So join me in a little walk back in time when giants still walk the earth, kings rule the lands, and heroes comes in all shapes and sizes.
Here’s a really good introduction of the Book of Samuel by the Bible Project to give us an overview: