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Tuesday, July 24 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel
Eli and Samuel
The Tabernacle ("tent") that housed the Ark of the Covenant (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD) and served as the prophetic religious focal point for all of humanity (see The Holy Place In History And Prophecy, The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today and The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God) was constructed, according the instructions of the LORD, by Moses, in the Sinai (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Sinai Journey), about a year after the Exodus (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus).
The Tabernacle, and the Levite priesthood that was established at the same time as the Tabernacle (see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood) operated throughout the forty years that the Israelites remained in the Sinai, after they refused their first opportunity to enter the Promised Land (see A Journey Without A Destination) and was thereafter set up in the land of Canaan after the Israelites took possession of it (see From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar). The first encampment of the Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal; the tabernacle remained for seven years (Joshua 4:19). It was then moved to Shiloh (Joshua 18:1), where it remained through the era of the Judges, until the time of Eli, the High Priest.
Samuel was a pivotal figure in Biblical history, after the time of Moses (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses), Joshua (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua) and the Judges (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges), and before the establishment of the Israelite monarchy - of which Samuel anointed both of Israel's first two kings, Saul, and then David (which will be covered in the next study in this series). In preparation for that task, in the time of Eli, Samuel was chosen, by the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?), as a prophet of the LORD (there is not a single true prophet of God recorded in the Holy Scriptures who was self-appointed, or appointed by some other human). He is therefore regarded as the last of the Judges before the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.
Samuel's birth was miraculously enabled after a plead by childless Hannah.
"1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk.
Hannah named her son accordingly; "Samuel," from the Hebrew name pronounced shaw-moo-ale, means his name is the LORD (the "el" is found other names, as a prefix or as a suffix e.g. Eli, Elizabeth, Michael, Daniel; see El).
"1:20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD." (1 Samuel 1:20 KJV)
As she pledged to do, Hannah dedicated the child, that the LORD gave to her, to the service of the LORD (see Hannah's Dedication to see how Hannah was later rewarded for her faith, not only in contact with Samuel, but with other children also).
"1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. 1:25 And they slew a bullock [see also The Blood Of Bulls And Goats], and brought the child to Eli.
Eli had apparently served the LORD well, but his sons, who would have succeeded him, were immoral men who refused to be corrected by their father. In the mean time, "Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men."
"2:22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [see The Church In The Wilderness]. 2:23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 2:24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD people to transgress. 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.
As declared by the LORD, Eli's failure to correct his sons brought about the destruction of them all.
"3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel [see also Where Jacob Became Israel], at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
Eli's two sons were killed in battle against the Philistines, after they presumptuously removed the Ark from the Tabernacle and carried it into battle - they arrogantly thought that they couldn't lose if the Ark was with them, even though they had unlawfully removed the Ark from the place where the LORD had commanded it to remain at all times. As a lesson to the Israelites, and to the Philistines, the LORD permitted the Ark to be captured by the Philistines, briefly - after which the Philistines were very eager to return it (see Raiders Of The Lost Ark to understand how no one could have looted the Ark at any time in history). When Eli heard all of the disastrous news, he died.
"4:10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
Samuel The Judge and Prophet Of Israel
The people of Israel were given to recognize that Samuel was a righteous servant of the LORD. When the time came, Samuel would be ready to fulfill the responsibilities that Eli had allowed to diminish - in the eyes of the LORD, and in the eyes of the people.
"3:19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
Samuel thereafter successfully served as a judge (a circuit judge i.e. "he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places," see verses below), a prophet and a battle commander for Israel.
"7:13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
When Samuel became old, he encountered with his sons the same problem that Eli had - "his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." The people of Israel then demanded a king to succeed Samuel when the time came.
"8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
Samuel reported the people's demand to the LORD. The LORD declared that He would permit the people to have a king, with the warning that a human king would use the nation as if it were his own - as happened throughout Israel's, and then Israel and Judah's, kingdoms (as we will cover in detail in subsequent studies in this series).
"8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
Samuel spent the rest of his life witnessing the impending conflict between Saul and David. Samuel died without seeing the outcome, but, as the LORD had made clear to him, Samuel surely knew that David would reign in place of Saul.
"25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran." (1 Samuel 25:1 KJV)
The "Spirit" Of Samuel
The incident of Saul's supposed contacting the "spirit" of Samuel is one of the most controversial of the Bible. The Scriptures are however very plainly stated as to what happened, and who it was that Saul contacted.
As we will cover in the next study in this series, when the LORD withdrew His favor from Saul, because Saul was misusing and squandering the blessings that he was given, Saul sought advice from a witch - more proof of what a faithless man that he was, or had become. Saul then held a seance to contact the dead prophet Samuel.
"28:7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her.
The dead are dead ("For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing," Ecclesiastes 9:5; see also What Happens When You Die?), however from the Scripture account it seems that the essence of the person that awaits their resurrection (see Resurrections) can be contacted - something that the LORD commanded not to do because it is an "abomination unto the LORD":
"18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 KJV)
Nevertheless, Saul consulted a necromancer (i.e. someone who practices divination by conjuring up the dead) with the intent of contacting Samuel.
"28:12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
Although some are of the opinion that it was not Samuel that was awakened, the Scripture account does not say that it was a fraud, or a demon impostor. The Scriptures plainly say "Samuel said to Saul." It's also very important to keep in mind that the "Samuel" that was contacted accurately delivered a prophecy from the LORD about Saul's own impending death, or rather death penalty, for doing such evil things as conducting a seance.
"28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?
Fact Finder: What capitals of Israel were in Samaria?
This Day In History, July 24
1132: The Battle of Nocera between Ranulf II of Alife and Roger II of Sicily began.
1411: The Battle of Harlaw; it was one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier, while on the first of his three voyages to North America, erected a cross at Gaspe, claiming the land for Francis I of France.
1567: Mary Queen of Scots abdicated; James VI became King of Scotland at the age of 1.
1701: French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (the Cadillac automobile is named after him) founded a trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later became the city of Detroit.
1704: Britain captured Gibraltar from Spain.
1759: The French garrison at Fort Niagara, under the command of Pierre Pouchot, fell to British and native forces under the command of Sir William Johnson.
1791: Robespierre expelled all Jacobins that were opposed to the principles of the French Revolution.
1799: Napoleon gained his last victory during his occupation of Egypt, defeating the Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) at the Battle of Aboukir.
1918: On Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, the cornerstone for Hebrew University was laid by Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Dr. Weizmann was later elected as the first President of the present-day state of Israel (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism).
1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Operation Gomorrah began. British and Canadian warplanes bombed Hamburg, Germany by night, while U.S. bombers did so by day. The bombings killed over 30,000 people and destroyed nearly 300,000 buildings.
1946: The U.S. conducted the first underwater test of an atomic bomb, off Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
1967: French President Charles de Gaulle, while visiting Montreal, Canada, made a speech that ended with "Vive le Quebec libre" ("Long live free Quebec" - an incitement for the province of Quebec to leave Canada) for which he was promptly rebuked by Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson and cut short his meddling visit.
1969: After completing the first manned moon landing, Apollo 11 returned to earth with a splash-down in the Pacific Ocean.
1977: The Libyan-Egyptian War ended after 4 days.
1990: Prior to their invasion, Iraqi military forces began massing on the Kuwait-Iraq border.
2001: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the former Tsar of Bulgaria, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria. He thereby became the first king in history to regain political authority through democratic election to a different office.