Dating the books of the bible
First Samuel is the ninth book of the Old Testament; it follows Ruth and precedes 2 Samuel. E.) is not recorded, one assumes that 1 Samuel reached its final form sometime between these two dates (561 and 538).Ancient tradition identifies Samuel as the author of the first twenty-four chapters of 1 Samuel and asserts that the rest of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were completed by Nathan and Gad. It was written during the Babylonian exile as part of the Deuteronomistic History, though the older traditions that comprise much of the narrative are considerably earlier than this.Today, many scholars believe that 1 and 2 Samuel are part of the Deuteronomistic History (Dtr H) and that various older traditions have been gathered together and edited by a nameless exilic editor or editors. First Samuel recounts stories of Samuel, Saul, and David as they struggle with themselves, among each other, and with God, as Israel is transformed from a loose confederation of tribes led by the judges such as Gideon and Deborah to a nation ruled by a king. AUTHOR: Mark Throntveit, Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament I.The final event recorded in Kings occurred in 561 B. First Samuel looks like a history of the new institution of kingship in Israel. Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1-)First Samuel begins with the rise of Samuel the prophet and the fall of the house of Eli the priest.While important historical information is presented, some of it is at odds with the presentation found in 1 Chronicles. Sandwiched between these narratives is a rollicking account of the journeys of the ark of the covenant as it is captured by the Philistines and eventually makes its way back to the Israelites. The Rise of Samuel the Prophet (1:1-4:1a)Several anecdotes of his birth and childhood illustrate Samuel's importance.Both Chronicles and Samuel should be read as , presentations of the early years of the monarchy. His mother is barren; he is dedicated as a Nazirite, raised by a priest and as a priest, and called as a prophet. The Adventures of the Ark (4:1b-7:1)Embedded in this story about the fate of the ark of the covenant in Philistine hands is the story of the death of Eli and his wicked sons (-18). Samuel the Judge (7:2-17)Now an adult, Samuel appears as a "judge," that is, as a military leader whom God raised up to battle the Philistines. Samuel and Saul (8:1-)These five episodes alternate between negative and positive portrayals of kingship.
Seeing how God works in and through these people can help us discern the activity of God in our own relationships with the Lord and with others.When David succeeds, Saul begins to fear that all is lost. Saul Pursues David (19:1-28:2)Throughout these ten chapters, David--thanks to the efforts of his wife Michal, Samuel, Jonathan, Ahimelech, a priest at Nob, and Nabal's wife--repeatedly escapes from Saul's frantic attempts to have him killed.David twice spares the life of Saul before joining forces with the Philistines. Saul's Last Days (28:3-)The end of Saul's tragic life finds him devoid of God's direction, seeking help through the medium at Endor.In English Bibles the books of Samuel are considered part of the Historical Books. While subsequent debate regarding the date and editing of this extensive work continues, many scholars think there were at least two separate editions--one in the seventh century B. The history was written to explain why Israel had experienced exile; it traced the downfall of Israel and Judah to the people's apostasy and failure to obey the covenantal stipulations as presented in Deuteronomy, and God's consequent handing them over into the hands of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Samuel has an unusual number of "doublets," instances where the same story seems to be told twice, sometimes in different circumstances or with conflicting results:• Historicity of David.Ruth has been placed after Judges and before Samuel because of this historical understanding.• Chronology. The rather large number of discrepancies and inconsistencies in the text of Samuel and Kings has suggested to a number of recent historians that the so-called "United Kingdom" of Saul, David, and Solomon, as well as these individuals, never existed.