Samuel tells the story of the Israelites’ first two kings, Saul and David. Break down the main events in this simple, visual printable.
THE BEGINNING OF A MONARCHY
I’ve been looking forward to outlining this section of the Bible since I started my timelines a year ago. This is where the organization nerd in me gets all excited and starts to take these complicated concepts and break them down in a way that makes you go, OOOHHH! So that’s what they were talking about in Sunday school…
Truthfully, I never understood the historical context of the Bible growing up. To me, it was a book of short stories, like fairy tales. All set in the same land, but completely unrelated to one another. The story of Jesus was the only thing I knew connecting these Bible stories. After all, you never seemed to get the answer wrong in class if you raised your hand and said, God or Jesus.
But let’s dig in a little deeper than our 5th grade selves. It’s time for us to understand historically what the Bible is talking about in addition to it’s spiritual revelations. This may seem boring to you (and it did once to me as well!), but trust me, it will only enrich your understanding of your favorite “go-to” Bible verses. They aren’t just one-offs, cutesy little verses to go on coffee mugs (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for those too!), but they are deep truths–usually a prophecy being foretold or one coming to fruition.
So strap in, the book of Samuel sets the basis for the rest of the Old Testament. Here we go!
THE 1ST KING OF ISRAEL
Once upon a time in a faraway land (1060 BC in Israel to be exact), there was a woman named Hanna who couldn’t have any children. She prayed to God that if only he would give her a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord. She became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel, and true to her word, gave him over to be raised by the high priest, Eli.
Samuel grew to be a leader for the Israelites, but they demanded a real king—Israel’s first. He anointed a man named Saul to be their first king, and while Saul started out as a good man, most of his rule, he was an evil and jealous king. When God saw that Saul continued to be disobedient, he had Samuel anoint another in secret as Israel’s 2nd king. Instead of a strong warrior, God chose David, a shepherd, and the youngest of 8 sons of Jesse.
(Side-note: Ruth from the last book is David’s great grandmother!)
THE 2ND KING OF ISRAEL
You probably know the story of how David defeats Goliath from Sunday school, and because of his great fame after that occurred, Saul grew jealous of David and tried to kill him several times!
At one point, David sneaks up on Saul and cuts a piece of his cloak to let him know he could have killed him, but he chose not to, so that Saul would back down. It only lasted for a moment before Saul was after him again.
Eventually Saul’s sons are killed in battle and when he’s about to be captured he commits suicide, leaving David to finally become king. Because David is such a good man, he mourns Saul instead of celebrating (a theme which occurs throughout his life).
Overall David is known to be a good king, but seems to fail at being a good husband and father when you look into the stories of Bathsheba, Absalom and Amnon. But he must have done something right when he raised his son Solomon to be humble enough to ask God for wisdom instead of riches (wait for this in 1 & 2 Kings).
David wrote the book of Psalms during this time, which I will dissect later, but for now, this is as simple as the Kingdom of Israel will be for a long time. Up next is 1 & 2 Kings where we find out what happens to David, how King Solomon acts as a leader, and the ultimate division of the Kingdom into north and south. It’s going to get messy….
THE BOOKS OF 1 & 2 SAMUEL PRINTABLE
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You can find all of my Bible Timelines as I work my way through the ENTIRE BIBLE in my shop.
For more history before the books of Samuel, check out these other posts:
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