The Book(s) of Samuel (known in modern Bibles as 1 and 2 Samuel) is a historical book in the Old Testament. Samuel chronicles the history of Israel during the end of the judges period and the early monarchy up through David’s reign. A large part of the book is dedicated to the reign of King David, but also chronicles the events preceding his reign- including the events surrounding life of Samuel, the reign of King Saul and the challenges to David assuming the throne. In modern Bibles, Samuel is divided into two volumes at the death of Saul, however, the book was originally one single book.
The book begins with the circumstances surrounding the birth and boyhood of Samuel, then covering early conflicts with the Philistines- particularly over theArk of the Covenant . Following this, Samuel describes Israel’s desire for a king and the subsequent reign of Saul. Concurrent to a depiction of Saul’s failure as king of Israel, David is anointed future king and shown as an ideal hero. After gaining popularity in Israel, Saul becomes jealous of David and a large part of the narrative is spent describing David’s flight and challenge to the throne. After Saul’s death, David is coronated over the Tribe of Judah and then rest of Israel several years later. After documenting the early successes of David’s reign- matters take a turn for the worse after David commits adultery withBathsheba . From this point on, the narrative focuses on the downfall and subsequent turmoil in the kingdom and in David’s family as a result of his sin. Samuel ends with a historical appendix, featuring accounts out of chronological order and several records pertaining to David’s life including: the taking of the census and the consecration of Mount Moriah , the avenged Gibeonites , the last words of David, his song of deliverance and the records of Israel’s most elite warriors.