The Book of Ruth The Second Book of Samuel

THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL

This and the three following books were formerly termed the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Books of Kings; and the two Books of Samuel made, in ancient times, but one. These books are, properly speaking, a continuation of the Book of Judges, as they give us an account of the remaining judges of Israel, down to the election of Saul; and of all the kings of Israel and Judah to the Babylonish captivity.

Of this book, called the First Book of Samuel, the following are the contents: The birth and education of Samuel; the high priesthood of Eli; the Philistines attack the Israelites, overthrow them with a terrible slaughter, take the ark of the Lord, and set it up in the temple of their god Dagon; they are visited with divine judgments, and are obliged to send back the ark with offerings and presents; Samuel, long acknowledged as a prophet of the Lord, takes the government of the people. Under his wise and pious administration, the affairs of Israel become reestablished, and the Philistines are subdued. The sons of Samuel, who principally administered the secular concerns of the kingdom, acting unworthily, the people desire to have a king, who should be supreme in both civil and military affairs. Samuel, after expostulations, yields to their entreaties; and, under the direction of God, Saul, the son of Kish, while seeking the lost asses of his father, is met by the prophet, and anointed king over Israel. This man, not conducting himself in the government according to the direction of God, is rejected, and David, the son of Jesse, anointed king in his place, though Saul continues still in the government. This person soon becomes advantageously known to Israel by his single combat with a gigantic Philistine chief, called Goliath, whom he slays; on which the Israelites attack the Philistines, and give them a total overthrow. Saul, envious of David's popularity, seeks his destruction; he is in consequence obliged to escape for his life, and take refuge sometimes among the Philistines, and sometimes in the caves of the mountains of Judah, everywhere pursued by Saul, and everywhere visibly protected by the Lord. At last Saul, being pressed by the Philistines, and finding that the Lord has forsaken him, has recourse to a witch that dwelt at Endor, whom he consults relative to the issue of the present war with the Philistines; he loses the battle, and being sorely wounded, and his three sons slain, he falls on his own sword, and expires on Mount Gilboa.

The Philistines find his body, and the bodies of his three sons, among the slain; they cut off Saul's head, and affix the bodies to the walls of Beth-shan. The men of Jabesh-gilead, hearing this, go by night, and takes the bodies from the walls of Beth-shan, bring them to Jabesh, burn them there, bury the bones, and mourn over their fallen king, fasting seven days. Thus concludes the First Book of Samuel.

Concerning the author of these books there have been various conjectures. Because in most of the Hebrew copies they bear the name of Samuel as a running title, it has been generally supposed that he was the author. But his name does not appear to have been anciently prefixed to these books, at least in those copies used by the Greek interpreters, commonly called the Septuagint, as they simply term each "The History (or Book) of Kingdoms." The Jews, which contain the history of his own life and government, and what respects Saul and David during that time. The remaining four chapters they suppose were added by the prophets Gad and Nathan. This opinion is founded on what is said in 1 Chron. 29:29: "Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer." Others suppose the books to be more recent than the persons already named, but that they are compiled out of their memoirs.

But who was the compiler? Some of the most learned among the Jews supposed it to have been Jeremiah, the prophet, and that the styles bear a near resemblance to his prophecies. That they were the work of a more recent author than Samuel, Grotius thinks evident from this circumstance, that the names of the months are comparatively modern, and were not known among the ancient Jews. Others have attributed them to David; others, to Hezekiah; and others, to Ezra the scribe on his return from the Babylonish captivity.

Calmet's opinion is as probable as any, viz., "That these books were written by the same hand, though composed out of the memoirs left by persons of that time; and that the compiler has generally used the same terms he found in those memoirs, adding here and there something of his own by way of illustration."

1 Samuel 1:5-7. Why was Hannah sad?

1 Samuel 1:6-7. Who Was Hannah's Adversary and Why Was Hannah Provoked by Her?

Peninnah, the other wife, "was constantly striving to irritate and vex her, to make her fret -- to make her discontented with her lot, because the Lord had denied her children.

"As the whole family went up to Shiloh to the annual festivals, Peninnah had both sons and daughters to accompany her [see v. 4], but Hannah had none; and Peninnah took this opportunity particularly to twit Hannah with her barrenness, by making an ostentatious exhibition of her children.

"She was greatly distressed, because it was a great reproach to a woman among the Jews to be barren; because, say some, every one hoped that the Messiah should spring from her line." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:207.)

1 Samuel 1:9. What Is the Significance of Eli's Sitting upon a Seat by a Post of the Temple?

In the ancient Middle East, it was customary for certain officials to place a stool or seat in a courtyard or near the gate of the city where they could sit in judgment, hearing cases or complaints. These seats usually had no backs and were placed near a wall or post to provide a backrest. This circumstance would explain why Eli was sitting near a post. It was probably on such a backless seat that Eli was sitting when he heard the news of the death of his sons and fell over backwards, killing himself (see 1 Samuel 4:18).

1 Samuel 1:11. What vow did Hannah make to the Lord?

1 Samuel 1:12-14. What did Eli the priest say to her at first? Why?

1 Samuel 1:17. What did Eli answer her?

1 Samuel 1:20. What did Hannah name her son?

1 Samuel 1:20-28. Samuel Is Presented at the Tabernacle

"Weaning took place very late among the Israelites. According to [2 Maccabees 7:27], the Hebrew mothers were in the habit of suckling their children for three years. When the weaning had taken place, Hannah would bring her son up to the sanctuary, to appear before the face of the Lord, and remain there forever, i.e. his whole life long. The Levites generally were only required to perform service at the sanctuary from their twenty-fifth to their fiftieth year [see Numbers 8:24-25]; but Samuel was to be presented to the Lord immediately after his weaning had taken place, and to remain at the sanctuary forever, i.e. to belong entirely to the Lord. To this end he was to receive his training at the sanctuary, that at the very earliest waking up of his spiritual susceptibilities he might receive the impressions of the sacred presence of God." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:26.)

1 Samuel 1:28. For how long was Samuel lent to the Lord?

1 Samuel 2:1-10. What did Hannah say in her prayers? (See also 1 Samuel 2:1c)

1 Samuel 2:11, 11a, 18. What did Samuel do? (See v. 11a)

1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22. What did the sons of Eli do to offend the Lord?

1 Samuel 2:13-36. If the Priests Were Entitled to a Portion of Certain Sacrifices, Why Were the Sons of Eli Punished?

"Of these offerings, the portion which legally fell to the priest as his share was the heave-leg and wave-breast. And this he was to receive after the fat portions of the sacrifice had been burned upon the altar [see Leviticus 7:30-34]. To take the flesh of the sacrificial animal and roast it before this offering had been made, was a crime which was equivalent to a robbery of God ... Moreover, the priests could not claim any of the flesh which the offerer of the sacrifice boiled for the sacrificial meal, after burning the fat portions upon the altar and giving up the portions which belonged to them, to say nothing of their taking it forcibly out of the pots while it was being boiled [see 1 Samuel 2:12-17]. Such conduct as this on the part of the young men (the priests' servants), was a great sin in the sight of the Lord, as they thereby brought the sacrifice of the Lord into contempt." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:35-36.)

The poor example of the priests caused others in Israel to abhor "the offering of the Lord" (v. 17). But these actions were not all, for the sons of Eli seduced women and engaged in adulterous acts at the very door of the tabernacle, evidently by misusing their office of priest to entice the women (see v. 22). Under the law of Moses, willful disobedience to parents was punishable by death, and the parents were obliged to see that the punishment was carried out. Hophni and Phinehas compounded their already serous sins by disobeying their father, and Eli failed in his parental responsibility as well as in his office as the presiding priest. Although he rebuked his sons, he took no action to see that the abomination in his family and at the tabernacle was corrected. Therefore, "a man of God" (some unnamed prophet) came to Eli and pronounced the Lord's curse upon Eli's house because "[thou] honourest thy sons above me" (vv. 27, 29). That is, Eli's relationship with his sons was of more value to him than his relationship with God.

1 Samuel 2:19. What did Hannah do for Samuel?

1 Samuel 2:21. How was Hannah blessed?

1 Samuel 2:26. With whom was Samuel in favor?

1 Samuel 2:29, 29a. Why was the Lord angry with Eli? (See v. 29a)

1 Samuel 2:34. What was to happen to Eli's two sons?

1 Samuel 2:35. Whom was the Lord raising up to replace Eli as his priest?

1 Samuel 3:1. Why was the word of the Lord "precious in those days"? (1 Samuel 3:1)

1 Samuel 3:1. "The Word of the Lord Was Precious in Those Days"

The word precious as used here means "scarce." The word of God was seldom heard in all the land. Elder Harold B. Lee explained why as follows: "The story commences with a significant statement.

"'And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.' (1 Samuel 3:1) ... That means that there was no prophet upon the earth through whom the Lord could reveal his will, either by personal experience, or by revelation. And it came to pass that Eli was laid down in his place and his eyes were dim, and Samuel the boy also lay down to his sleep, and you remember through that night there came a call, 'Samuel,' and thinking that Eli had called him he went to Eli's room to be told that Eli had not called him. And he lay down the second time again to be called, and yet the third time. And by this time Eli, sensing the fact that he was being spoken to by an unseen speaker, said, 'The next time that you hear, then you shall answer, "Here I am Lord, speak to me."' And so the next time when the call came, Samuel answered as he had been directed. Now it says, 'Samuel (up to this time) did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord revealed unto him.' And after he had recognized the Lord and said, 'Thy servant heareth,' then he was told that the Lord was to proceed to 'do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone that heareth it, shall tingle.' And then he explained the reason why Eli could not receive further messages from the Lord. 'His sons make themselves vile, and he restrained them not,' or in other words he allowed his sons to curse God and therefore were leading the people of Israel astray." ("But Arise and Stand upon Thy Feet" -- and I Will Speak with Thee, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, 7 Feb. 1956, p. 2.)

1 Samuel 3:7. Why did Samuel go to Eli when the Lord called him?

1 Samuel 3:8-9. What did Eli tell Samuel to do?

1 Samuel 3:12-14. Why was the Lord about to destroy Eli's house?

1 Samuel 3:19. The Lord Honored Samuel As He Honors All His Apostles

"You need have no fear that when one of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ delivers a prophecy in the name of Jesus Christ, because he is inspired to do that, that it will fall by the wayside. I know of more than one prophecy, which, looking at it naturally, seemed as though it would fall to the ground as year after year passed. But lo and behold, in the providences of the Lord, that prophecy was fulfilled." (Grant, Gospel Standards, p. 68.)

1 Samuel 3:20. Who knew that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord?

1 Samuel 4:2-3. Why did the people take the ark of the covenant from Shiloh?

1 Samuel 4:6-9. What did the Philistines say when they heard the shout of the Israelites? Why?

1 Samuel 4:11. What happened to the ark of God?

1 Samuel 4:15. How old was Eli when Israel lost the ark of God?

1 Samuel 4:18. How did Eli die?

1 Samuel 5:1-2. What did the Philistines in Ashdod do with the ark?

1 Samuel 5:3-8. Why did the Philistines take the ark to Gath?

1 Samuel 5:6-12; 6:1-9. What Are Emerods?

Because the word translated emerod means "an inflamed tumor," many have assumed that the Philistines were smitten with hemorrhoids and thus were motivated to send the ark back to Israel. The description of the effects of the emerods on the Philistines suggests something far more serious than hemorrhoids, however, although that ailment can be very painful. Many died, and those who did not seem to have endured great suffering (see 1 Samuel 5:10-12).

Josephus indicated that it was "a very destructive disease" involving dysentery, bleeding, and severe vomiting (see Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 6, chap. 1, par. 1). Josephus also mentioned a great plague of mice that accompanied the disease. Although no direct mention is made of the plague of rodents, when the Philistines sought to placate Jehovah's wrath upon them by returning the ark, they sent five golden emerods and five golden mice as well (see 1 Samuel 6:4).

The severity of the disease and the fact that rodents were involved lead many scholars to conclude that what smote the Philistines was bubonic plague. Bubonic plague gets its name from the buboes, or tumorous swellings, in the lymph glands. These tumors settle particularly in the area of the groin. This fact would explain the "secret parts" mentioned in 1 Samuel 5:9. It is well known that rats and mice are the main carriers of this disease, for the fleas that transmit the disease to man live on rodents. The disease is accompanied by great suffering and pain, and the fatality rate may run as high as 70 percent in a week's time. (See Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, s.v., "medicine," p. 598; Douglas, New Bible Dictionary, s.v. "emerods," p. 368.) Small wonder that the Philistines were anxious to return the ark to Israel.

The ancient Philistines were very superstitious. They, like many others during the world's history, believed that an image made to represent an actual object might be used to ward off evil powers. Such appears to have been their thinking in making golden images of the emerods and the mice and sending them as a "trespass offering" (v. 8) with the ark back to Israelite territory.

1 Samuel 5:9-12. What happened to the people in the cities where the ark of God was taken? (See also 1 Samuel 5:6a)

1 Samuel 6:7-12. What did the Philistines do with the ark?

1 Samuel 6:19. How many Israelites of Beth-shemish were slain? Why?

1 Samuel 6:19-21. How Many Died at Beth-shemesh When the Ark Was Returned, and Why Were They Smitten?

"Concerning the men of Beth-shemesh who were smitten for sacrilege, the Hebrew account says, 'And he smote among the people seventy men, fifty thousand men ...' It is not a proper Hebrew expression for 50,070. The 'fifty thousand men' appears to be an added phrase, or gloss. The septuagint and Josephus both have merely 'seventy men.'" (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:163.)

Exactly what they did to bring the curse upon them is not clear. If it was merely looking upon the ark, then one wonders why all were not smitten. Bible scholars have indicated that the Hebrew word translated looked actually means ďto look upon or at a thing with lust or malicious pleasure" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:69). Remembering that the lid of the ark with the cherubim on it was solid gold and the ark itself was covered with gold plating (see Exodus 25:10-18), it is possible that these residents of Beth-shemesh looked upon the ark with covetous eyes, or at least upon the golden emerods and mice that were sent with it.

But whatever the specific reason for the deaths, the lesson was clear. The ark of the covenant was a physical symbol of the living presence of Jehovah. Any unholiness, whether Philistine or Israelite, was not to be tolerated.

1 Samuel 7:3. What was required of the Israelites for them to be free of the Philistines?

1 Samuel 7:4. What did the Israelites do?

1 Samuel 7:8. What did the children of Israel ask Samuel to do?

1 Samuel 7:13-14. Who was "the hand of the Lord" against "all the days of Samuel"? (1 Samuel 7:13)

1 Samuel 8:1. What did Samuel do with his sons when he became old?

1 Samuel 8:1. What Type of Government Did Israel Have under Samuel and Those Leaders Who Preceded Him?

"Thearchy or theocracy is government by the immediate direction of God through his ministers and representatives. A state governed in this manner is called theocracy. This was the original earthly government, Adam serving as the great presiding high priest through whom the laws of the Lord, both temporal and spiritual, were revealed and administered. This type of government apparently continued among the righteous portion of mankind from the days of Adam to Enoch and the taking of Zion to the Lordís bosom.

"The great patriarchs after the flood -- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and others -- appear to have had this type of government. Righteous portions of the Jareditish peoples were undoubtedly governed on this system. Certainly ancient Israel in the days of Moses and the judges operated on a theocratic basis, and the same system prevailed among the Nephite portion of Lehiís descendants during most of their long history. When Christ comes to reign personally on earth during the millennial era, a perfect theocratic government will prevail. (D&C 38:20-22; 58:20-22.)" (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 789.)

This type of government was the ideal. During the reign of the judges, however, the wickedness of the people in general and of certain leaders in particular largely invalidated the theocratic form of government.

1 Samuel 8:3. What evil did his sons do?

1 Samuel 8:3-7. What Caused the Elders of Israel to Reject Samuel As Their Judge and Leader and Desire a King?

Samuel's sons set a poor example to the people. They turned aside from the religious truths they had learned in their youth. They used their judgeships to seek monetary gain, betraying their sacred trusts by taking bribes and giving perverted judgments. But, even more than this, the Israelites as a people had become weak and sinful and were envious of surrounding kingdoms, even though their governments were wicked and oppressive. So they used Samuel's sons as an excuse to justify their desire to be governed by the same system as the gentile nations.

"The people of Israel traced the cause of the oppression and distress, from which they had suffered more and more in the time of the judges, to the defects of their own political constitution. They wished to have a king, like all the heathen nations, to conduct their wars and conquer their enemies. Now, although the desire to be ruled by a king, which had existed in the nation even from the time of Gideon, was not in itself at variance with the appointment of Israel as a kingdom of God, yet the motive which led the people to desire it was both wrong and hostile to God, since the source of all the evils and misfortunes from which Israel suffered was to be found in the apostasy of the nation from its God, and its coquetting with the gods of the heathen. Consequently their self-willed obstinacy in demanding a king, notwithstanding the warnings of Samuel, was an actual rejection of the sovereignty of Jehovah, since He had always manifested himself to His people as their king by delivering them out of the power of their foes, as soon as they returned to Him with simple penitence of heart." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:78.)

The Lord Himself said to Samuel, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them" (v. 7).

1 Samuel 8:4-5. What did the elders of Israel desire of Samuel? (See also Mosiah 29)

1 Samuel 8:7-9. What did the Lord tell Samuel to do?

1 Samuel 8:11-17. What did Samuel tell the Israelites about their future king?

1 Samuel 8:11-22. What Are the Dangers of Monarchical Government?

Samuel warned the Israelites of three principal evils of a kingly form of government: excessive taxation (see vv. 15, 17), conscription of the labor force (see vv. 11-13, 16), and seizure of private lands (see vv. 14-15). In discussing the matter, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

"The system of kingly government itself, no matter how talented or noble an individual occupant of the throne may be, does not make the best form of government, one in which the instinctive and automatic concern of government is to look after the best interests of the body of the people. It is inherent in the nature of even the best and most ideal kingly systems that special privilege and questionable adulation be heaped upon those in the ruling class ...

"It is true that the Lord on occasions, in the pre-Christian Era, administered righteous and theocratic government through kings, but no such approved kingly government has existed among men for some 2000 years. Such a system, in which the king is the Lord's representative, is patterned after the true kingdom of God and is proper government, but even then the moment an unrighteous king gains the throne, the blessings and freedoms of such a system die out. As King Mosiah said, 'Because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you. For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!' (Mosiah 29.) Pending the day in which He shall again reign, whose right it is, the saints are obliged to be subject to the powers that be." (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 414-15.)

1 Samuel 8:18. What would the Lord do when the people cried to him?

1 Samuel 8:19-20. What did the people desire of Samuel? Why?

1 Samuel 8:22. What did the Lord tell Samuel to do?

1 Samuel 9:1-17. What Kind of Person Was Saul before He Was Called to Be King?

The scriptures indicate that "there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he" (v. 2). The word goodly seems to indicate many of the qualities that made Saul a logical candidate to be Israel's first king. All that the Bible reveals indicates that Saul was honest, reliable, considerate of his parents, and altogether a very promising person for the great task ahead.

Goodly also described Saul's physical attributes. In this regard, Saul was potentially the hero and man of valour all Israel sought. He was about a foot taller than those of his generation. Yet subsequent events show that the Lord was teaching Israel a lesson about people and about kings when He chose Saul. For the Lord certainly knew the end of this thing from the beginning, as He does in all things. Though Saul had, at first, a great regard for the law of Moses and for God, yet "the consciousness of his own power, coupled with the energy of his character, led him astray into an incautious disregard of the commands of God; his zeal in the prosecution of his plans hurried him on to reckless and violent measures; and success in his undertakings heightened his ambition into a haughty rebellion against the Lord, the God-king of Israel." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:79.)

1 Samuel 9:2. What qualities did Saul have?

1 Samuel 9:5-6. Why did Saul visit Samuel?

1 Samuel 9:9-27.

A seer is one who has the ability to see the future -- he is literally a "see-er." As explained in the Book of Mormon, seers are men who possess the power to "know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come" (Mosiah 8:17). They do this in some cases with the aid of the Urim and Thummim. The possession of these instruments in ancient times made a righteous man a seer (see Mosiah 8:13-18; 28:10-16). It is in this connection, then, that a seer is greater than a prophet (see Mosiah 8:15). The means by which Samuel identified Saul is evidence of Samuel's gift of seership. Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are sustained and ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators.

1 Samuel 9:15-17. What had the Lord told Samuel about Saul?

1 Samuel 9:20. Did Israel Desire Saul to Be Their King?

This verse may be taken to mean that Saul, as the king-to-be, was the embodiment of what Israel desired even though as yet they did not know he would be their king. It also could mean, however, that his size, comeliness, and other qualities were well known and that his name was being talked about as one possibility for king.

1 Samuel 9:21. What did Saul say when he was called to be king?

1 Samuel 10:1. What did Samuel do for Saul? Why?

1 Samuel 10:1. What Was the Significance of the Ordinance of Anointing Saul?

Anointing with oil in priesthood service is as old as Adam. And, since the Lord set up the kingdom of Israel and revealed the laws that were to govern their kings, it was altogether fitting that these kings be anointed with oil.

"Anointing with oil was a symbol of endowment with the Spirit of God; as the oil itself, by virtue of the strength which it gives to the vital spirits, was a symbol of the Spirit of God as the principle of divine and spiritual power [see Leviticus 8:12]. Hitherto there had been no other anointing among the people of God than that of the priests and sanctuary [see Exodus 30:23-38; Leviticus 8:10-36]. When Saul, therefore, was consecrated as king by anointing, the monarchy was inaugurated as a divine institution, ... through which henceforth the Lord would also bestow upon His people the gifts of His Spirit for the building up of His kingdom. As the priests were consecrated by anointing to be the media of the ethical blessings of divine grace for Israel, so the king was consecrated by anointing to be the vehicle and medium of all the blessings of grace which the Lord, as the God-king, would confer upon His people through the institution of a civil government. Through this anointing, which was performed by Samuel under the direction of God, the king was set apart from the rest of the nation as 'anointed of the Lord.'" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:95.)

But Samuel anointed Saul to be "captain" even though he was later called king (see 1 Samuel 10:1). This title should have served as a reminder that the Lord was still king.

1 Samuel 10:5-6. What would happen to Saul when he met "a company of prophets"? (1 Samuel 10:5)

1 Samuel 10:9-11. What happened to Saul when he left Samuel?

1 Samuel 10:24. What did the Israelites say when Samuel announced that Saul was king?

1 Samuel 10:25.

Several books are mentioned in the Old Testament which are not a part of the present canon of scripture. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

"Reference is made in both the Old and New Testaments to books and epistles which are not now available. These include: Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:4, 7); Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18); A Book of Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41); Books of Nathan and Gad (1 Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29); Prophecy of Ahijah and Visions of Iddo (2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22); Book of Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:15); Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); Acts of Uzziah, written by Isaiah (2 Chron. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19); an epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9); an epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3); an epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16); Epistle of Jude (Jude 3); and the Prophecies of Enoch (Jude 14)." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 454.)

Certainly the standard works do not contain all that God has ever spoken to His children, and those who say that the Bible is all there is are mistaken. The Book of Mormon itself does not contain "even a hundredth part" of all that Mormon had at his disposal to make his abridgment (3 Nephi 5:8; see also vv. 9-11).

1 Samuel 10:26. Who went with Saul to his home?

1 Samuel 10:27. What did Saul do when the children of Belial brought him no presents? (See also 1 Samuel 10:27b)

1 Samuel 11

Nahash, king of the Ammonites, and his army attacked the tribes on the east of the Jordan. No doubt he intended to enforce the claim to a part of Gilead asserted by his ancestor in the time of Jephthah (see Judges 11:13). In desperation, the men of Jabesh-gilead appealed for help from the tribes west of the Jordan. Even though Saul had been officially appointed king, the tribes seem still to have remained in their independent and self-governed state. Some even seem to have rejected Saul as king (see 1 Samuel 11:12). At this critical time Saul was at his finest. He slew his oxen and sent the pieces thereof to every tribe to dramatize that this crisis called for a united Israel (see v. 7). He joined his authority with that of Samuel in the message. Under this leadership, the armies of Israel dealt a stunning defeat to the Ammonites, and Saul gave all credit to the Lord (see v. 13). The victory provided the catalyst for uniting the tribes into one nation for the first time. So strong was the support for Saul that some suggested that those who had earlier questioned his right to rule be put to death. Saul rejected this proposal.

The ceremony at Gilgal was a wise move on Samuel's part and helped formalize the popular acceptance of Saul after his great victory.

1 Samuel 11:1-2. Upon what condition would Nahash the Ammonite refrain from destroying Jabesh-gilead?

1 Samuel 11:6-7. How did Saul unify Israel to fight?

1 Samuel 11:11. To what extent were the Ammonits scattered?

1 Samuel 11:15. What did the Israelites do with Saul in Gilgal?

1 Samuel 12.

This chapter contains Samuel's testimony of the manner in which the Lord had blessed Israel from the first. Samuel reminded the people that the Lord had always been just in His dealings with them and told them that they should likewise deal justly with one another. He then recalled the times when Israel had forgotten the Lord and experienced great calamity. He urged them to serve the Lord lest an even greater calamity overtake them.

1 Samuel 12:3-5. What was the Lord witness to?

1 Samuel 12:6-13. What did Samuel rehearse to all Israel?

1 Samuel 12:14-15. What blessing and what cursing did Samuel give the people?

1 Samuel 12:17. What wickedness had the people done?

1 Samuel 12:21. What are the vain things unable to do?

1 Samuel 12:24. What did Samuel counsel the people to do?

1 Samuel 13:1-2. How many men did Saul choose after two years?

1 Samuel 13:3-4. Why did the Philistines gather to fight against Israel?

1 Samuel 13:5. Were There Actually Thirty Thousand Philistine Chariots Prepared for Battle with the Israelites?

The Bible says that there were thirty thousand chariots, but this figure is believed to be an error in transcription. One prominent Bible scholar discussed the problem and gave the opinion that the correct figure is three thousand (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:247). Errors of this sort arose out of translation problems and perhaps also the exaggeration of later scribes who took it upon themselves to add to the record, thinking that they were adding to the glory of Israel.

1 Samuel 13:5-14. Why Did Saul Seek to Assume Samuel's Priesthood Duties?

It was not long before Saul began to have an exaggerated opinion of his power and importance. This tendency is natural to men who forget the Lord and trust in themselves. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion" (D&C 121:39). It is true that this was a time of great crisis. The Philistines were amassed in great strength and the people were deserting from Saul's army (see 1 Samuel 13:6). When Samuel was late in coming, Saul took things into his own hands and offered the sacrifices. This action was a great sin.

"Think also of Saul who had been called from the field to be made king of the nation. When the Philistines were marshalled against Israel in Michmash, Saul waited for Samuel, under whose hand he had received his kingly anointing and to whom he had looked in the days of his humility for guidance; he asked that the prophet come and offer sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of the people. But, growing impatient at Samuel's delay, Saul prepared the burnt offering himself, forgetting that though he occupied the throne, wore the crown, and bore the scepter, these insignia of kingly power gave him no right to officiate even as a deacon in the Priesthood of God; and for this and other instances of his unrighteous presumption he was rejected of God and another was made king in his place." (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 184-85.)

The circumstances were critical, but one of the purposes of mortality is to demonstrate that one will remain faithful and obedient under all circumstances (see D&C 98:14-15). Saul failed that test and thereby lost his right to be God's representative of the people.

1 Samuel 13:6-7. What did many of the Israelites do?

1 Samuel 13:8-12. Why did Saul offer a sacrifice to the Lord?

1 Samuel 13:13-14. What did the Lord do? (See also 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, 14a)

1 Samuel 13:19. Why did the Israelites lack swords and spears?

1 Samuel 13:19-21. Why Was There "No Smith" in Israel?

Scholars believe that at this time the Israelites did not know how to work with iron. The Philistines guarded the secret carefully to maintain superiority in weapons over the softer brass weapons of the Israelites. As a result, the Israelites did not have the superior chariots of iron, nor could they manufacture swords and spears of iron. The other instruments mentioned, "share," "coulter," "axe," "mattock," and "goad," had to be taken to the Philistines for sharpening. A share was a metal instrument used to plough the ground, and a coulter was a small garden hoe used to loosen the earth and weed the soil. A mattock was an Egyptian hoe or grubbing axe, and a goad was a sharp rod about eight feet long used to prod stubborn animals.

1 Samuel 14:1, 11-14. What did Jonathan do?

1 Samuel 14:15. What Were "Spoilers" among the Philistines?

In the armies of ancient times, certain men were assigned to go out and destroy crops, homes, barns, cattle, and so forth. Their prime purpose was not to take human life, but to make living difficult for the civilian population who supported the military (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:249).

1 Samuel 14:16, 20, 20b. What happened to the army of the Philistines? (See 1 Samuel 14:20b)

1 Samuel 14:19-46. Why did Saul Try to Kill Jonathan?

Saul again foolishly sought to win a battle against the Philistines by attempting to gain the Lord's intervening power in an unapproved way. The courageous attack of Jonathan and his armor-bearer on the camp of the Philistines suddenly altered the circumstances of the battle. The Philistines were thrown into disarray, and even the men who had hid themselves came forth now to join the battle (see v. 22).

In the heat of the battle, Saul had compelled his men to swear with an oath that they would fast all that day. This restriction put the men in distress, for their fasting added the weakness of hunger to the fatigue of battle. (See v. 24.)

"This command of Saul did not proceed from a proper attitude towards the Lord, but was an act of false zeal, in which Saul had more regard to himself and his own kingly power than to the cause of the kingdom of Jehovah, as we may see at once from the expression ... 'till I have avenged myself upon mine enemies.'" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:142.)

Two unfortunate incidents resulted from Saul's command to fast. First, Jonathan, who had been in the camp of the Philistines at the time Saul made his army swear not to eat, violated the oath by partaking of some wild honey (see vv. 25-27). When told about the oath, Jonathan frankly said that his father had done a foolish thing. Since his own strength had been revived by the food, he wondered aloud how much greater the victory would have been if the people had been allowed to eat instead of fighting in a state of physical exhaustion (see vv. 28-30).

The second unfortunate incident occurred later that same day when the people, faint with hunger, fell upon the animals captured from the Philistines and "did eat them with the blood" (v. 32). The animals were not properly killed to drain out their blood, which violated the Mosaic law (see Leviticus 17:10-14).

Saul immediately sought to make atonement for this violation by offering sacrifices to the Lord (see vv. 33-35). But when he sought revelation from the Lord about whether to go against the Philistines, no answer came (see vv. 36-37). Saul concluded that some other sin of the people was the cause of the lack of response from the Lord. He then directed that all the people be gathered together to meet him and Jonathan, swearing with an oath that the guilty party would be put to death. To dramatize his determination to carry through with his threat, Saul indicated he would even put his own son to death if he were proven guilty (see v. 39), quite unaware that it was indeed Jonathan who would be facing death.

"What Jonathan had done was not wrong in itself, but became so simply on account of the oath with which Saul had forbidden it. But Jonathan did not hear the oath, and therefore had not even consciously transgressed ... In the present instance, Saul had issued the prohibition without divine authority, and had made it obligatory upon the people by a solemn oath. The people had conscientiously obeyed the command, but Jonathan had transgressed it without being aware of it. For this Saul was about to punish him with death, in order to keep his oath. But the people opposed it. They not only pronounced Jonathan innocent, because he had broken the king's command unconsciously, but they also exclaimed that he had gained the victory for Israel 'with God.' In this fact (Jonathan's victory) there was a divine verdict. And Saul could not fail to recognise now, that it was not Jonathan, but he himself, who had sinned, and through his arbitrary and despotic command had brought guilt upon Israel, on account of which God had given him no reply." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:146-47.)

1 Samuel 14:24. What did Saul command the people to refrain from doing? Why?

1 Samuel 14:27. What did Jonathan do when he saw the honey? (See also v. 27a)

1 Samuel 14:45. Who rescued Jonathan from being put to death? (See also v. 45a)

1 Samuel 14:47-48. What did Saul do to all the enemies of Israel? (See also Map 6)

1 Samuel 14:52. What did Saul do when he saw any stronger or valiant man?

1 Samuel 15:1-3. What was the Lord's message that Samuel gave to Saul?

1 Samuel 15:9-11, 11a. What evil thing had Saul done? (See 1 Samuel 15:11a)

1 Samuel 15:11. What did Samuel do all that night?

1 Samuel 15:13. What did Saul say upon greeting Samuel?

1 Samuel 15:22. What is better than sacrifice and "the fat of rams"? (V. 22)

1 Samuel 15:23. What crimes are rebellion and stubbornness like?

1 Samuel 15:23. Why was Saul rejected by the Lord as king?

1 Samuel 15:24. Why had Saul failed to destroy all the animals?

1 Samuel 15:32-33. Why did Samuel slay Agag?

1 Samuel 15:35. Why did Samuel stay away from Saul? (See also v. 35a)

1 Samuel 16:1. Why did the Lord tell Samuel to go to Bethlehem?

1 Samuel 16:1-13

There verses contain the Lord's directions to His prophet in the selection of a new king. Note the Lord's special counsel in verse 7. Mortals tend to see the outward appearance, but the Lord has the power to look to the very depths of men and things. The "horn of oil" was probably a ram's horn filled with olive oil and used to anoint those chosen of the Lord (v. 13; see also v. 1).

1 Samuel 16:7. What is the difference between how a man looks on someone and how the Lord looks?

1 Samuel 16:12-13. Which of Jesse's sons did the Lord choose to be king?

1 Samuel 16:13. What came upon David "from that day forward"? (1 Samuel 16:13)

1 Samuel 16:14-15, 14c. What happened to Saul? (See v. 14c)

1 Samuel 16:14-23. Did the Lord Really Send an Evil Spirit to Trouble Saul?

Evil spirits are not sent by God, nor does God give revelations through the evil spirits which sometimes trouble men. He cast these evil spirits out of heaven long ago for their rebellion against Him. The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this passage to say, "An evil spirit which was not of the Lord troubled him" (JST, 1 Samuel 16:14; emphasis added). Recorded here are the first effects of Saul's rejection of the Lord. More and more Saul failed to find peace with himself until at last he became a miserable, guilt-ridden man.

1 Samuel 16:15-19, 151. What did Saul's servants say to Saul? (See v. 15a)

1 Samuel 16:17-19. Why did Saul send for David?

1 Samuel 17:4. "And There Went Out a Champion ... Named Goliath"

"Our word champion comes from campus, the field; ... 'Champion is he, properly, who fights in the field; i.e., in camps.' A man well skilled in arms, strong, brave, and patriotic.

"But is this the meaning of the original ... ish habbenayim, a middle man, the man between two; that is, as here, the man who undertakes to settle the disputes between two armies or nations. So our ancient champions settled disputes between contending parties by what was termed camp fight; hence the campio or champion." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:261.)

Although it seems peculiar in this day of modern warfare, in ancient times it was not unusual for opposing armies, which were generally quite small, to select one representative from each side to fight a personal contest. The outcome of that contest determined the winner of the battle. (Compare this verse with 2 Samuel 2:12-17, in which is recorded a similar choosing of representatives to battle for each side.

1 Samuel 17:4-11. How Big Was Goliath and How Heavy Was His Armor?

According to this passage, Goliath's height was six cubits and a span. The most widely accepted opinion of the length of a cubit is about eighteen inches or, roughly, the distance from the elbow to the tip of the extended middle finger. A span is said to be one-half the distance from the thumb to the end of the little finger when the fingers are spread as wide as possible. These measurements would make the height of Goliath approximately nine feet, nine inches! It is not too surprising that the Philistines would have picked such a champion or that no man in Israel wanted to be Saul's champion.

It is unusual that anyone today is over seven feet tall, but it is commonly believed there were men in ancient times whose height far exceeded seven feet. There are references in the scriptures to giants in the earlier periods of history: in the time of Enoch (see Moses 7:15), in the days of Noah (see Moses 8:18; Genesis 6:4), and in the time of the Israelites (see Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10-11; Joshua 15:8). Called Anakim (meaning "long-necked" or "tall" in Hebrew) by the Israelites, this race of giants seems to have been virtually destroyed in the conquest of Canaan under Joshua (see Joshua 11:21). In fact, it is recorded that none of the Anakim were left except in Gaza, Ashdod, and Gath (see Joshua 11:22), which was Goliath's hometown (see 1 Samuel 17:4).

Experts have estimated the weight of Goliath's armor to be about 150 pounds (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:261). A weaver's beam is a strong, thick piece of wood on which thread is strung in preparation for weaving. The weight of Goliath's spearhead has been estimated from twelve to twenty-six pounds, depending on which authority is consulted and what weight he selects for a shekel. (See the table on weights and measures in Maps and Charts.) A greave is a protective piece of armor that fits on the front of the leg and extends from just below the knee to the ankle.

1 Samuel 17:8-10. What did Goliath say to the army of Israel?

1 Samuel 17:11. What was the reaction of the Israelite army?

1 Samuel 17:16. For how many days did Goliath present himself?

1 Samuel 17:17

The ephah was a dry measure roughly equivalent to three fifths of a United States bushel, or about 22 liters. (See the table on weights and measures in Maps and Charts.)

1 Samuel 17:17-18. Why did David return to the army of Israel?

1 Samuel 17:20-51. "I Come to Thee in the Name of the Lord of Hosts"

The story of David and Goliath is so well known that some readers take David's courage for granted. But his courage was not born of self-confidence alone, although he did believe in his own skills in battle. As a young shepherd, he had much practice at slinging stones. It was an effective way both to keep wolves and other vicious animals away from the sheep and to attract the attention of straying sheep and drive them back to pasture. As a result of his experience, David had confidence in his skills, but the true source of his courage was faith in the power of the living God. In fact, the contrast between David and the other Israelites was as great in terms of faith as in courage. David was incensed that "this uncircumcised Philistine [one not of the covenant but of the world] ... should defy the armies of the living God" (v. 26). There was no similar anger in the men of Israel, only a quaking fear because of Goliath's size and strength. And David's answer to Goliath's laugh of derision at the unprotected boy who came out to accept the challenge provides a classic study in faith as well as in courage. "Thou comest to me," he said to Goliath, "with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts ... This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand, ... that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel ... for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands" (vv. 45-47).

1 Samuel 17:25. What reward did Saul promise the man who killed Goliath?

1 Samuel 17:26. What did David say to the men who stood by him?

1 Samuel 17:32-37. What did David say to Saul?

1 Samuel 17:40. What did David take with him to battle?

1 Samuel 17:43-44. What did Goliath say to David?

1 Samuel 17:45-47. What did David say to Goliath?

1 Samuel 17:49. The Shepherd's Bag and Sling

Shepherds of David's time carried a sling and a small leather or woolen wallet or bag in which food or stones could be carried to the place where the sheep grazed. In the King James Version of the Bible, this bag is called a scrip. When Jesus sent His disciples forth without purse or scrip (see Luke 10:4), they went without a bag in which to keep money or food. David used his shepherd's scrip to hold the stones he obtained from the brook.

Slings were made from various materials, the most common being leather. Hair, wool, animal sinews, or rushes were used to make the pouch that held the stones. The pouch had strings attached on each side and was whirled until a certain speed was reached. When one string was released, the stone was hurled from the pouch toward its mark. Any variation from perfect roundness affected the accuracy of a stone. Uniform weight and size of the stones were also important. Anciently, slingers, particularly shepherds with time on their hands, developed great accuracy and skill in slinging stones. When not in use, the slings were carried by shepherds around their foreheads or waists.

Slings were used fairly commonly in the ancient Near East. The Israelites, who did not often use chariots in war, employed many trained slingers. The same was true of peoples from surrounding areas.

1 Samuel 17:49-51. How was Goliath killed?

1 Samuel 17:52-53. What did the men of Israel do?

1 Samuel 18:1-4. How did Saul's son Jonathan receive David?

1 Samuel 18:5, 14. How did David act as a servant of Saul?

1 Samuel 18:5. How was David accepted?

1 Samuel 18:6-9. What aroused Saul's jealousy of David?

1 Samuel 18:10-11. What did Saul try to do to David?

1 Samuel 18:12-15, 28-29. Why was Saul afraid of David?

1 Samuel 18:20-21. Why did Saul consent to give his daughter Michal as a wife to David?

1 Samuel 18:25. What dowry did Saul ask of David?

1 Samuel 18:30. Why was David's name adored? (See also 1 Samuel 18:30a)

1 Samuel 19:1. What did Saul say to his son Jonathan and to all his servants?

1 Samuel 19:4-5. What did Jonathan say to Saul?

1 Samuel 19:6. What did Saul do?

1 Samuel 19:9-10. Why did David flee from Saul? (See also 1 Samuel 19:9a)

1 Samuel 19:18. To whom did David flee?

1 Samuel 20:5-7. What did David ask Jonathan to do?

1 Samuel 20:18-22. By what sign was David to know if he should flee or stay?

1 Samuel 20:31. What did Saul command Jonathan to do?

1 Samuel 20:42. What covenant did David and Jonathan make?

1 Samuel 21:6, 9. What did David take from the priest at Nob?

1 Samuel 21:10-13. What did David do in Gath because of his fear of the king?

1 Samuel 22:1-2. Who came to help David?

1 Samuel 22:3-4. What did David do to protect his parents?

1 Samuel 22:10, 16-19. What did Saul do to the priest Ahimelech who helped David and to all the house of Ahimelech's father? Why?

1 Samuel 23:1-4. Why did David inquire of the Lord?

1 Samuel 23:4-5. How did David save the inhabitants of Keilah?

1 Samuel 23:10-12. What did the Lord tell David about Saul and the men of Keilah?

1 Samuel 23:13. Why did Saul not go to Keilah?

1 Samuel 23:16-18. What did Jonathan say to David?

1 Samuel 23:21-23. What did Saul tell the Ziphites who came to him?

1 Samuel 23:27-28. Why did Saul stop pursuing David?

1 Samuel 24:4-6. Why did David feel remorse for cutting off the skirt of Saul's robe? (See also 1 Samuel 24:4a)

1 Samuel 24:8-15. What did David say to Saul? (See also D&C 64:9-11)

1 Samuel 24:16-21. What did Saul say to David?

1 Samuel 24:21-22. What did David swear to Saul?

1 Samuel 25:1. Why did all the Israelites gather to lament?

1 Samuel 25:3. Describe Abigail.

1 Samuel 25:3. Describe Nabal. (See also 1 Samuel 25:3a, 25a)

1 Samuel 25:8. Why did David send ten young men to Nabal?

1 Samuel 25:10-11, 14. How were these young men received by Nabal? (See also v. 14b)

1 Samuel 25:23-31. What did Abigail say to David?

1 Samuel 25:32-35. How did David receive Abigail's message and gift?

1 Samuel 25:37-38. When did Nabal die?

1 Samuel 25:39. What did David say when he heard of Nabal's death?

1 Samuel 25:39-42. What did David do after Nabal died?

1 Samuel 26:2. How many men did Saul take with him to slay David?

1 Samuel 26:8-11. What did David say when Abishai wanted to kill Saul?

1 Samuel 26:11-12. What did David and Abishai take with them?

1 Samuel 26:14-16. What did David say to Abner?

1 Samuel 26:17-20, 22-24. What did David say to Saul?

1 Samuel 26:21, 25. How did Saul receive David's message?

1 Samuel 27:2-3. Who went with David to Achish, king of Gath?

1 Samuel 27:5. What did David ask of Achish?

1 Samuel 27:12. What did Achish say after David had made his raids? (See also 1 Samuel 27:10a)

1 Samuel 28:1-2. What did Achish desire of David?

1 Samuel 28:3. Whom had Saul banished from the land? (See also 1 Samuel 28:3a)

1 Samuel 28:4-5. Why did Saul inquire of the Lord?

1 Samuel 28:6-7. Why did Saul seek "a woman that hath a familiar spirit"? (V. 7)

1 Samuel 28:11. To whom did Saul want to speak? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 768, s.v. "Samuel")

1 Samuel 28:15. What did Saul say to Samuel?

1 Samuel 28:17-18. To whom had the Lord given the kingdom? Why?

1 Samuel 28:19. What did Samuel say would happen the next day?

1 Samuel 29:3-5. What did the princes of the Philistines say to Achish?

1 Samuel 29:6-7. What did Achish say to David?

1 Samuel 29:8. What did David reply?

1 Samuel 29:9-10. What did Achish answer?

1 Samuel 30:1-3. What did the Amalekites do to Ziklag before David returned?

1 Samuel 30:4. What did David and his men do when they returned?

1 Samuel 30:7-8. How did David know what to do?

1 Samuel 30:15. Upon what condition did the young Egyptian agree to show David where the Amalekites were?

1 Samuel 30:17. What did David do to the Amalekites when he found them? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 629, s.v. "Camel")

1 Samuel 30:26-31. To whom did David send part of the spoil? (See 1 Samuel 30:31a)

1 Samuel 31:1. What did the men of Israel do in the battle with the Philistines?

1 Samuel 31:2. What happened to the sons of Saul?

1 Samuel 31:3-4. How did Saul die?

1 Samuel 31:8-13. What happened to their bodies?


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