Bible: 1 Samuel

(after 960 BCE)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

1 Samuel 8

1 Samuel 8 and 12 frame this segment of literature and are creations by the Deuteronomistic Historians designed to criticize the institution of kingship. In 1 Samuel 8 the people request a king from Samuel, who is a powerful prophet, judge, and military leader at the national level. God tells an unhappy Samuel that the people have rejected God by asking for a king. Samuel's speech in verses 10–18 describes the rule of Solomon, the chief example of tyrannical kingship in Israel. The significant role that Samuel played in 1 Samuel 7 inclines the reader or listener to assume that Israel does not really need a king. The rhetoric of this anti-royal chapter was quoted by the American revolutionary Thomas Paine in his famous and powerful booklet Common Sense, published in 1776, wherein he railed against the British monarchy.

1 Samuel 9–10

The narrative in 1 Samuel 9 and 10 (through verse 16) tells an old romantic tale...

Image for: Bible: 1 Samuel

A mosque built over the tomb of Samuel (Library of Congress)

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