Samuel: Judge, Prophet, Priest


We often wonder about the childhoods of great people. We have little information about the early years of most of the people mentioned in the Bible. One delightful exception is Samuel; he came as a results of God’s answer to Hannah’s fervent prayer for a child (In fact, the name Samuel comes from the Hebrew expression, “I heard God.”) God shaped Samuel from the start. Like Moses, Samuel was called to fill many different roles: judge, priest, prophet, counselor, and God’s man at a turning point in the history of Israel. God worked through Samuel because Samuel was willing to be one thing: God’s servant.

Samuel showed that those who God finds faithful in small things will be trusted with greater things. He grew up assisting the high priest (Eli) in the tabernacle until God directed him to other responsibilities. God was able to use Samuel because he was genuinely dedicated to God.

Samuel moved ahead because he was listening to God’s directions. Too often we ask God to control our lives without making us give up the goals for which we strive. We ask God to help us get where we want to go. The first step in correcting this tendency is to turn over both control and destination of our lives to him. The second step is to do what we already know God requires of us. The third step is to listen for further direction from his Word – God’s map for life.

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Strengths and Accomplishments

  • Used by God to assist Israel’s transition from a loosely governed tribal people to a monarchy
  • Anointed the first two kings of Israel
  • Was the last and most effective of Israel’s judges
  • Is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11

Weakness and Mistake

  • Was unable to lead his sons into a close relationship with God

Lessons From His Life

  • The significance of what people accomplish is directly related to their relationship with God
  • The kind of person we are is more important than anything we might do

Vital Statistics for Samuel

  • Where: Ephraim
  • Occupations: Judge, prophet, priest
  • Relatives: Mother: Hannah. Father: Wlkanah. Sons: Joel and Abijah
  • Contemporaries: Eli, Saul, David

Key Verses for Samuel

The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:19, 20).

His story is told in 1 Samuel 1-28. He is also mentioned in Psalm 99:6; Jeremiah 15:1, Acts 3:24; 13:20; Hebrews 11:32.

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

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Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

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