Samuel, books of

Samuel, books of
Originally, with 1 and 2 Kgs., one book in Hebrew but divided first into two, then in the LXX into four; this arrangement has been generally continued. The books were named ‘of Samuel’ because Samuel is the first major character to appear. In the Hebrew canon they are numbered among the books of Former Prophets [[➝ prophets]]. The work has been compiled and edited by the Deuteronomic school, probably about 560 BCE, but many units of material have been utilized. There are local traditions preserved at shrines (e.g. Mizpah) and also from a group deriving from Shiloh (1 Sam. 1–3), some of which concern the fortunes of the Ark [[➝ ark]]. Some of the stories, such as the account of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15–18), may reflect popular legend rather than recorded history.
There seem to be two sources describing the accession of Saul: in one he is presented unsympathetically, the prophet Samuel is the hero, and God regrets having established the monarchy; a second set of narratives (1 Sam. 9:1–10, 16; 11:1–15) offers a more attractive portrait of Saul—he is a charismatic figure of great promise, and excels in battle.
Some of the narratives about Davide.g. the account of the Ammonite [[➝ Ammonites]] war in 2 Sam. 10:1–19—read like a contemporary description. Other David stories must have been assembled by a collector not later than the time of Solomon. The Succession Narrative (most of 2 Sam. 9–20, and 1 Kgs. 1–2) describes the intrigues of David's sons and the final triumph of the Solomon party. There are also three poems in 2 Sam.: the elegy over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, David's last words, and a variant of Ps. 18 which is inserted into 2 Sam. 22.
The Deuteronomic [[➝ Deuteronomist]] editors have stamped their theological interpretation on 1 and 2 Sam. The affairs of the nation have been guided by God, especially through David. But even David committed sins; and for these he was punished, as was Eli, at the beginning of the book. But the nation prospered and expanded under David because he was chosen by God and responded. He captured Jerusalem and under him it began to be the centre of the nation's worship. It was there God had chosen ‘to put his name’.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Samuel, Books of —    The LXX. translators regarded the books of Samuel and of Kings as forming one continuous history, which they divided into four books, which they called Books of the Kingdom. The Vulgate version followed this division, but styled them Books of… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Samuel, books of — ▪ Old Testament       two Old Testament books that, along with Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and 1 and 2 Kings, belong to the tradition of Deuteronomic history first committed to writing about 550 BC, during the Babylonian Exile. The two books,… …   Universalium

  • SAMUEL, BOOKS OF —    two books of the Old Testament, originally one, and divided in the Septuagint into two, entitled respectively the First and Second Books of Kings; the narrative embraces a period of 125 years, and extends from the time of the Judges to the… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Books of Samuel — The Books of Samuel (Hebrew: Sefer Sh muel ספר שמואל) are part of the Tanakh (part of Judaism s Hebrew Bible) and also of the Christian Old Testament. The work was originally written in Hebrew, and the Book(s) of Samuel originally formed a single …   Wikipedia

  • Samuel — /sam yooh euhl/, n. 1. a judge and prophet of Israel. I Sam. 1 3; 8 15. 2. either of two books of the Bible bearing his name. Abbr.: I Sam., II Sam. 3. a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning name of God. * * * I (с 11th century BC) Old… …   Universalium

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