12 interesting facts about the prophet Samuel

Samuel is one of the most intriguing Old Testament figures (to me, at least). He’s a star player in the story of David and Saul: the first two YAHUAH-anointed kings of Israel.

We meet him as a baby. We see him as a national leader, intercessor, and even a ghost.

Here are a few interesting Scriptural facts about the prophet Samuel.

(Special thanks to Logos Bible Software on this: that tool makes it really easy to find how certain characters are mentioned across the Scriptures.)

1. Samuel is a miracle child.

The Scripture tells of many significant adults, but only a handful of significant pregnancies. Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob & Esau, Perez, Samson, John the Baptist, and YAHUSHA are the others.

We meet Samuel’s parents before we meet him. His mother Hannah cannot have children, but YAHUAH hears her prayers and opens her womb, blessing her with the child Samuel.

2. Samuel’s name means “name of ELOHIM.”

The translation of Samuel (sometimes spelled “Samual” when spelled in the English alphabet) literally means “name of ELOHIM,” or “ELOHIM has heard.”

3. Samuel is from the tribe of Levi.

Not only was Samuel from the tribe of Levi, but he may have had Ephraimite blood, too (1 Ch 6:33–38, 1 Sa 1:1). This qualified him to serve in the temple, but Samuel was much more than a priest (see below).

4. Samuel is the last judge.

You can read about most of the judges in the book of—you guessed it!—Judges. After Yahusha (Joshua) dies, the nation of Israel enters the “days of the judges,” (Ru 1:1) when there was no centralized government.

During this time, YAHUAH would raise up individuals to deliverer Israel from her enemies (Jdg 2:16). The book of Judges tells us about 12 judges, and First Samuel introduces two more: Eli and Samuel.

Why is Samuel the last? Because after Samuel, Israel is led by kings (Ac 13:20).

5. Samuel anoints the first two kings of Israel: Saul and David.

When the people demand a national king, YAHUAH directs Samuel to anoint Saul, a tall man from the tribe of Benjamin. Saul doesn’t turn out so well, and so YAHUAH has Samuel anoint a young shepherd named David as the future king: not the king Israel needs, but the king they deserve. You can read all about that in First Samuel.

Samuel is qualified to do this because of another office the holds . . .

6. Samuel is the first of the prophets.

In the book of Acts, Peter also considers Samuel to be the first of the prophets—after Moses, that is (Ac 3:24).

A prophet is someone who speaks on behalf of YAHUAH. Samuel isn’t the first person to be called a prophet in the Scriptures (Moses is both earlier and greater), but as far as we can tell, he lead an order of prophets in Israel (1 Sa 19:20).

Samuel’s prophetic ministry is significant because it begins at a time when words from YAHUAH are rare and infrequent (1 Sa 3:1). 

But after Samuel, Israel’s history comes alive with prophetic revelation: much of which is recorded in the prophetic books of the Scriptures.

7. Samuel is a priest.

He begins his ministry serving the chief priest in the tabernacle (1 Sa 3:1). Samuel makes sacrifices on behalf of the people, and offers intercessory prayers to YAHUAH for them (1 Sa 7:9.)

8. Samuel is a Nazarite.

Like the mighty Samson, Samuel is dedicated to YAHUAH as a child. This dedication was for life, and so he never cuts his hair (1 Sa 1:11, Nu 6:1–21).

9. Samuel is the only ghost we meet in the Scriptures.

After Samuel dies, Saul meets with an Ewok—er, a witch of En-dor (1 Sa 28:7). The medium conjures up the spirit of Samuel, who isn’t too happy about what Saul has done. You can read the whole story in First Samuel chapter 28.

10. Samuel led the greatest Passovers.

Hundreds of years after Samuel’s death, a king named Josiah celebrates the Passover. It’s such an affair, the author says it’s the greatest Passover ever—well, ever since Samuel’s day (2 Ch 35:18).

11. Samuel is remembered for his prayers.

The psalmist who penned Psalm 99 ranks him with Moses and Aaron as one who called upon YAHUAH’s name (Ps 99:6).

12. YAHUAH calls Samuel by name—twice

Samuel is one of 8 people in the Scriptures that YAHUAH calls by name … twice. The others are Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Martha, Simon, “My ELOHIM,” and Saul.

How old was prophet Samuel when he died?

The annals of the world records the high priest Eli died in 1117 BC. Prophet Samuel must have been a teenager of at least 13 years. If so he was born in 1130 BC. King David was born in 1085 BC and died in 1015 BC at the age of 70. King David collected everything required for the Temple. His last act was to set all courses of the priests, musicians and Temple guards along with prophet Samuel according to I Chronicle 9:22. They together made Heman the grandson of Prophet Samuel as the music director. If Prophet Samuel was still alive when King David was old then most likely Prophet Samuel was around 110 years old if he died in 1020 BC.

I Samuel 25:1 records that Samuel died when David was still on the run from King Saul. If one study the events and language carefully we can see that verse one was added by some one later as there is no continuity of subject and language of the last verse of chapter 24 and first verse of chapter 25. If we omit verse one then we can see the story as a continuous one.

Remember the chapter division and verse division came several centuries in to the Christian Era.

Edited by GWT


12 interesting facts about the prophet Samuel

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