32 Facts About Samuel


Samuel is a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transition from the biblical judges to the United Kingdom of Israel under Saul, and again in the monarchy's transition from Saul to David.

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Samuel is venerated as a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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Samuel is treated in the fifth through seventh books of Antiquities of the Jews, written by the Jewish scholar Josephus in the first century.

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Samuel's genealogy is found in a pedigree of the Kohathites and in that of Heman the Ezrahite, apparently his grandson.

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From its appearance, the name Samuel appears to be constructed from the Hebrew Samu + ?El, meaning "God has set" or "God has placed".

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Samuel worked under Eli in the service of the shrine at Shiloh.

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Samuel initially assumed it was coming from Eli and went to Eli to ask what he wanted.

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Once Samuel responded, the Lord told him that the wickedness of the sons of Eli had resulted in their dynasty being condemned to destruction.

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Samuel grew up and "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba" came to know that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.

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The text then states that Samuel erected a large stone at the battle site as a memorial, and there ensued a long period of peace thereafter.

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Samuel initially appointed his two sons Joel and Abijah as his successors; however, just like Eli's sons, Samuel's proved unworthy.

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Samuel interpreted this as a personal rejection, and at first was reluctant to oblige, until reassured by a divine revelation.

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Samuel warned the people of the potential negative consequences of such a decision.

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Just before his retirement, Samuel gathered the people to an assembly at Gilgal, and delivered a farewell speech or coronation speech in which he emphasised how prophets and judges were more important than kings, that kings should be held to account, and that the people should not fall into idol worship, or worship of Asherah or of Baal.

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Samuel promised that God would subject the people to foreign invaders should they disobey.

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When Saul was preparing to fight the Philistines, Samuel denounced him for proceeding with the pre-battle sacrifice without waiting for the overdue Samuel to arrive.

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Samuel prophesied that Saul's rule would see no dynastic succession.

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Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience and told him that God made him king, and God can unmake him king.

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Samuel then proceeded to Bethlehem and secretly anointed David as king.

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Samuel is described in the biblical narrative as being buried in Ramah.

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Samuel was angered by his recalling, and told Saul that the Lord had left him.

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Passage in which Samuel is described as having exercised the functions of a judge, during an annual circuit from Ramah to Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah and back to Ramah, is foreshadowed by Deborah, who used to render judgments from a place beneath a palm between Ramah and Bethel.

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Book of Samuel variously describe Samuel as having carried out sacrifices at sanctuaries, and having constructed and sanctified altars.

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For example, Samuel's father Elkanah is described as having originated from Zuph, specifically Ramathaim-Zophim, which was part of the tribal lands of Ephraim, while 1 Chronicles states that he was a Levite.

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Samuel is portrayed as a judge who leads the military, as the judges in the Book of Judges, and who exercises judicial functions.

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Samuel is described by the Rabbis as having been extremely intelligent; he argued that it was legitimate for laymen to slaughter sacrifices, since the Halakha only insisted that the priests bring the blood.

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Eli, who was viewed negatively by many Classical Rabbis, is said to have reacted to this logic of Samuel by arguing that it was technically true, but Samuel should be put to death for making legal statements while Eli was present.

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Christians, Samuel is considered to be a prophet, judge, and wise leader of Israel, and treated as an example of fulfilled commitments to God.

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Herbert Lockyer and others have seen in Samuel's combined offices of prophet, priest, and ruler a foreshadowing of Christ.

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Samuel is seen as a prophet and seer in the Islamic faith.

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Samuel is not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, but referred to as a "prophet" instead.

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Actors who have portrayed Samuel include Leonard Nimoy in the 1997 TV-film David, Eamonn Walker in the 2009 TV-series Kings and Mohammad Bakri in the 2016 TV-series Of Kings and Prophets.

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