STUDY Hebrews 11:32-34 F (click here for notes)

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength, and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. (NIV)



Samuel was born to Elkanah, an Ephraimite probably of Levitical ancestry, and his second wife Hannah. Elkanah's first wife Peninah had several children, but Hannah was barren. Elkanah loved Hannah and felt sorry for her barrenness, and on days of sacrifice he gave her double portions of meat.

Hannah's life was miserable because she was barren. Every year the family went to Shiloh to sacrifice and worship God, and every time Hannah entered the tabernacle to pray, Peninnah provoked her "till she wept and would not eat." (1 Samuel 1:7)

1. In desperation, what did Hannah do one year when she went to the tabernacle? (1 Samuel 1:9-11)


2. Compare and contrast the regulations for men's and women's vow-taking in the Old Testament. (see Numbers 30)


3. What was the priest Eli's reaction to Hannah, and what was the eventual outcome of her prayer and vow? (see 1 Samuel 1:12-20)


4. Using Numbers 30 as a reference for husband's roles in their wives' vows, what can we deduce about Elkanah's reaction to Hannah's vow? (see 1 Samuel 1:21-28)


5. After Samuel was weaned and Hannah took him to the temple to serve God, she prayed a prophetic prayer of praise and promise. Why is her prayer sometimes called the "Magnificat of the Old Testament"? (see 1 Samuel 2:1-11; Luke 1:46-55)


6. How is her prayer similar to Zechariah's prayer in Luke 1:67-79? To David's prayer in 2 Samuel 2:27?


7. How is Hannah's experience significant, and what historic events does it echo and foreshadow? (see Genesis 18:10-15; Judges 13:2-5; Ruth 4:13-15; Luke 1:5-7, 11-17; 26-38)


Life in the Temple

8. Eli's sons Hophni and Phineas "had no regard for the Lord" (lit. "did not know the Lord") (1 Samuel 2:12). In what sins were they indulging even though Eli rebuked them? (see 1 Samuel 2:13-17; 22)


9. According to Levitical law, what was the first thing to be done when offering a sacrifice, and how was Hophni and Phineas's behavior insulting to God? (see Leviticus 3:16; 4:10,25,31,35; 7:28, 30-31; 17:6)


10. What prophecy did a "man of God" make to Eli regarding his family's disobedience? (1 Samuel 2:27-36)


11. During Samuel's childhood, his mother and father visited him each year bearing a robe Hannah had made for him. What blessing did God grant Hannah after she gave Samuel into God's service? (1 Samuel 2:20-21)


12. During Samuel's childhood and before, "the word of the Lord was rare." Of how many prophets (besides the unnamed one who prophesied to Eli in 1 Sam. 2:27-36) during the time of the judges do we know, and how many revelations from God? (see Judges 4:4; 6:8; 2:1-3; 6:11-23; 7:2-11; 10:11-14; 13:3-21)


Samuel's Call

13. What happened to Samuel one night that signified God had chosen him to usher in a new era in Israel? (1 Samuel 3:2-14)


14. After Samuel gave Eli God's message, God continued to reveal his word to Samuel. By the time he was an adult, how did the people of Israel view Samuel? (1 Samuel 3:19-21)



15. What arrogance on the part of the Israelites resulted in the Ark of the Covenant being captured? (see 1 Samuel 4:1-11)


16. What precipitated Eli's death? (1 Samuel 4:14-18)


17. "[Eli] had led Israel forty years." (1 Samuel 4:18) The word here translated "led" can also be translated "judged". This information places Eli among what group of people? (see Judges 3:16-19)


18. After the Philistines returned the Ark, what did Samuel do that established him as a judge in Israel? (see 1 Samuel 7:2-6)


19. How did God honor Samuel's leadership? (1 Samuel 7-15)


20. What dual role did Samuel hold in Israel? (1 Samuel 3:20; 7:15)


21. Who is the only other person identified as holding these two roles? (Judges 4:4)


22. What did Samuel's leadership return to Israel? (Compare 1 Samuel 3:1 with 1 Samuel 4:1)


A New Era

23. After Samuel's leadership as a prophet and judge became established and God was blessing the nation because of Samuel's faithfulness, what deeply hurtful thing did Israel demand? (1 Samuel 8:6)


24. On what disappointment in Samuel's life did the Israelites play? (1 Samuel 8:1-5)


25. Samuel was hurt and angered by Israel's demand, but what did God tell him lay behind their insistence? (1 Samuel 8:7-8)


26. Who did God say should be the first king, what tribe was he from, and what was he doing when Samuel met him? (1 Samuel 9:1-4)


27. Samuel was widely known and accepted as a prophet and a judge in Israel. What can we deduce about Saul's character from the fact that he didn't seem to know who Samuel was? (see 1 Samuel 9:5-7)


28. "Samuel explained to the people the regulations of the kingship." (1 Sam. 10:25) Generations before, Moses had anticipated that the people would demand a king and had set forth certain requirements for a kingdom that would keep Israel submitted to God instead of patterning their government after pagan kingdoms. What were those regulations? (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20)


29. After Samuel established Saul's monarchy he gave a farewell speech to Israel since he would no longer be their leader as he had been prior to anointing Saul. What was the essence of his speech? (see 1 Samuel 12:1-5; 11-15)


30. For what sign did Samuel pray to emphasize to Israel that their request for a king was a sign of apostasy? (1 Samuel 12:16-18)


31. What role did Samuel explain he would now play in Israel since he was no longer their leader? (1 Samuel 12:20-25)


A New King

32. When Saul had apostatized and Samuel had told him God had rejected him as king, God then gave Samuel instructions for anointing a new king-elect. Who was this new king, where did he live, what family was he from, and what was he doing when Samuel met him? How did his occupation compare with Saul's when Samuel met him? (see 1 Sam. 16:1, 11, 13; Comp. 9:3)


33. Although Samuel had felt angry and rejected when Israel wanted a king, how did Samuel grow to feel about Saul? (see 1 Samuel 15:35)


34. After Saul's defiance when he captured the Amalekite king instead killing him, thereby breaking the covenant agreement with God (see 1 Samuel 12:14-15), what serious rebuke did Samuel give him? (1 Samuel 15:23)


'35. After his anointing of David, Samuel fades from the story of Israel. The last account we have of Samuel is of his death. What does the people's national mourning for Samuel indicate about the role he played in Israel? (see 1 Samuel 25:1; Genesis 5:10; Numbers 20:29; Deuteronomy 34:8)


The Bigger Picture

36. What are the implications of Samuel's rebuke, "For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry"? (see Leviticus 19:26, 31; Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:14-15, 8-22)


37. Samuel's birth was a miracle. As he matured, he became a prophet of God, and through him the word of the Lord returned to Israel. He judged Israel, and for many years he was Israel's acknowledged leader, combining the roles of prophet and judge. Yet his authority was surpassed by a king whom he had to anoint, followed by yet another king he anointed. In the big picture, what was the work God prepared Samuel to do?


38. In what other instances did God raise up a prophet to prepare the people, to usher in a new era, and to be surpassed by his successor? (see Joshua 1:1-5; John 3:1, 11-17; Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8, 11)


39. What symbolic significance might there be in the contrast between Saul's occupation when Samuel met him and in David's? (see 1 Samuel 9:3-4; 16:11)



40. What work do you feel God has given you to do that is insignificant or unnoticed or unappreciated?


41. In what ways do you feel you have been eclipsed by another (or others)?


42. How or when has God called you without your recognizing immediately that the call was from him?


43. What difficult or painful thing has God called you to do?


44. What would you have to be willing to give up in order to say "Yes" to God's call on your life?


45. What hurt or disappointment do you need to surrender to God in order to embrace the work he has given you?


46. Ask God to reveal to you how he wants you to serve him. Ask him to show you what you need to surrender to him, and ask him to give you the humility and trust to be able to release to Jesus your dreams and your disappointments. Ask him to glorify himself through you and to make you willing to do what he gives you to do. Praise him for being sovereign and for designing you and planning for you before you were born.


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