Samuel was miraculously born after his mother asked God for a son. She commited him to serve God all his life and brought him to the tabernacle after he was weaned. He grew up at the tabernacle ministering before God. One night while he was lying down, God called him and began speaking to him. God continued to appear and reveal Himself to Samuel, and Samuel became known as a prophet throughout all Israel.
Samuel became Israel’s final and greatest judge. He led the Israelites to victory against the Philistines and appointed his sons to be judges after him. But the people rejected his sons and asked instead for a king. So he anointed Saul to be Israel’s first king and established the monarchy under his rule. After God rejected Saul, Samuel rebuked him and anointed David to be king in his place.
You can read about Samuel in 1 Samuel 1 – 16.
Samuel and Jesus
Peter speaks of the blessings available in Jesus and says, “All the prophets from Samuel on…have foretold these days” (Acts 3:24). Samuel makes no recorded predictions about Jesus, but others in his story do. And he is a preview of Jesus in his career as judge and prophet.
“He will give strength to his king”
1 Samuel 2:1-10 records Hannah’s prayer after giving Samuel to God’s service. She praises God for reversing her fortunes and judging His enemies. She says, “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed” (verse 10). “Anointed” translates the Hebrew word mashiach, or “Messiah.” Hannah is predicting the rise and reign of a mighty Messiah-king.
“I will raise up for myself a faithful priest”
1 Samuel 2:27-36 records a man of God’s message to Eli the priest. God pledges to take the priesthood away from Eli’s house and give it to another: “But I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and it will minister before my anointed one always” (verses 35-36). “Anointed one” again translates the Hebrew word mashiach, or “Messiah.” The man of God is predicting the rise and ministry of a faithful Messiah-priest.
The Second Samuel
1 Samuel says God spoke to Samuel and Israel regarded him as a prophet. It also says Samuel made an annual circuit throughout central Israel, judging from many towns. Jesus often claims that His teaching is from God and many Jews regard Him as a prophet. He travels regularly throughout Galilee, Judea, and Samaria to proclaim God’s judgments in their towns and villages. Samuel is a preview of a traveling Messiah-prophet.
New Testament Perspective
Samuel is an Old Testament character, but we must see him from a New Testament perspective. His story gives us a complete picture of Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus combines the roles of king, priest, and prophet, the same roles that are predicted and portrayed in 1 Samuel. Samuel is more than an Old Testament hero; his career is a preview of the Messiahship of Jesus.
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