Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 

The Book of 1 Samuel

This book starts with the birth of Samuel.  Samuel is the last judge of Israel. Samuel is also a prophet--he tells people what God wants them to know.   During Samuel's life, the Israelites decide that they want to have a king. This book tells the story of Samuel's life and the first king of Israel, Saul.

Bible Timeline
Here is a good timeline to see the book of 1 Samuel in the history of the Bible


1 Samuel 1 - 3
Hannah prays for a child.
Hannah has a son named Samuel.
Samuel lives at the temple and helps Eli the priest.
God is angry at Eli's sons.
God calls Samuel to be His prophet.



1 Samuel 1

Elkanah and his family go to Shiloh to make sacrifices.

There was a man named Elkanah. He lived i
n the place called Ramathaim-zophim on Mt. Ephraim. Elkanah's father's name was Jeroham. His grandfather's name was Elihu.  His great grandfather's name was Tohu. His great great grandfather's name was Zuph. This family was from the tribe of Ephraim.
[1] Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

Elkanah had 2 wives.  One wife was named Hannah.  The other wife was named Peninnah.  Penninah had children. Hannah did not have any children.

[2] And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.


This is the area of Shiloh today.

Every year, Elkanah went to Shiloh to worship God and make sacrifices.  The priests in Shiloh were Eli and his 2 sons, Hophni and Phinehas.
[3] And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

When Elkanah made sacrifices, he gave his wife Peninnah and her children a part of the food sacrifice. He also gave food to his other wife, Hannah. He gave Hannah better food than he gave to Peninnah.  Elkanah loved Hannah more than Peninnah. Hannah could not have children.
[4] And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
[5] But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.


Hannah prays to God for a son.

Peninnah was not nice to Hannah. She criticized Hannah because Hannah could not have children. Every year when they went with Elkanah to Shiloh, Peninnah did this. This year, Hannah cried, and she would not eat.

[6] And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
[7] And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

Elkanah talked to Hannah. He asked her why she was crying and why she wouldn't eat. He asked why she was upset. He felt that he should mean more to her than 10 sons.
[8] Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

After everyone ate and drank, Hannah got up and went to the tabernacle, God's holy place.  The priest's name was Eli.  Eli sat on a seat by a post.
[9] So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

Hannah was very depressed. She cried a lot and prayed to God.

[10] And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.


Hannah prays.
From the
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod web site

Hannah made a promise to God. She prayed that if God will give her a son, her son will serve God. He will serve God for his whole life. He will never cut his hair.
[11] And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head.

When Hannah prayed, she did not talk out loud. She was moving her lips, but she was praying with no voice. Eli the priest saw her mouth moving, but he did not hear her voice.  He thought she was drunk.
[12] And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
[13] Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

Eli asked Hannah how long she would be drunk. He told her to put her wine away.
[14] And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

Hannah said that she was not drinking wine or any alcohol. She said she was very sad. She said she was praying to God. She was telling God why she was sad. She said that she was not a bad woman. 
[15] And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
[16] Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

Eli told her to leave and to stop worrying.  He said that God will give her what she prayed for.
[17] Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

Hannah thanked Eli for being nice to her.  Then she left and ate. She was not sad anymore.
[18] And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.


Hannah has a son named Samuel.

The next day, Elkanah and his family worshiped God. Then they left Shiloh and went back home to Ramah. Later, God answered Hannah's prayer.  She became pregnant and had a baby boy.  Hannah named the boy Samuel. The word "samuel"  means "asked of God."  Hannah said she asked God for Samuel.  
[19] And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
[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.

It was time for Elkanah and his family to go back to Shiloh. It was time for their yearly offering.  But Hannah did not go with them. She said she will wait and go to Shiloh later.  After Samuel is old enough to eat food, she will take him to Shiloh. Samuel will stay in Shiloh and work at God's place for his whole life.  
[21] And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
[22] But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

Elkanah told her this was good. She should wait until the right time. God will help her keep her promise. Hannah continued to feed Samuel milk.
[23] And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.


Samuel goes to live in Shiloh and work at the tabernacle.

Later, Samuel was old enough to eat food. Hannah took Samuel to God's place in Shiloh. She also took 3 bulls, some flour, and some wine.  They sacrificed the bull.  She took Samuel to Eli.

[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.
[25] And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.


Samuel is presented to Eli.
From the LaVista Church of Christ web site

Hannah reminded Eli that she was the woman who prayed with him there in the past. She said that God answered her prayers. God helped her to have a baby boy.  Now she will let the boy stay and work in God's tabernacle in Shiloh.
[26] And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
[27] For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
[28] Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.


1 Samuel 2

Hannah prays to thank God for Samuel.

Hannah prayed to God. She said that her heart was very happy.  God has made her proud. Her enemies (Peninnah and others) made fun of her in the past. But now Hannah laughs at them. She is happy because God saved her.
[1] And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

No one is as good as God. No one is equal to God.  No one protects us like God protects us.
[2] There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

No one should brag or be too proud.  God knows everything. He will judge everyone's actions.
[3] Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

The strong soldiers' bows (bow and arrows) are broken.  But the weak people become strong.
[4] The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

People who had a lot of food in the past are now poor.  They work to get food. The people who were hungry in the past are not hungry anymore.  The woman who did not have children now has 7 children.  The woman who had many children now has no children.
[5] They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

God takes life, and God gives life. God makes some people die, and He makes some people alive.
[6] The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

God makes some people poor, and He makes some people rich. He makes some people have high positions, and He makes other people to be in low positions.
[7] The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

God helps the poor people. He lifts them up and makes them equal to the rich people. God made the world. God made the earth. His power supports the world.
[8] He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them.

God will protect the good people. The bad people will disappear in the dark. People will not win just because they are strong.
[9] He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

God's enemies will be broken. God will defeat them with thunder from Heaven. God will judge everything in the world. He will make His king strong. God will make his special king proud.
[10] The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.


Elkanah and his family go back home.

Elkanah went home to Ramah.  Samuel stayed and helped Eli the priest.
[11] And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.


Eli's sons do bad things.

Eli's sons were bad. They did not worship God.
[12] Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

Eli's sons did bad things when the Israelites were making sacrifices of meat.  When someone was boiling meat for a sacrifice, Eli's sons sent their worker. The worker would put in a fleshhook (like a big fork) and pull out some meat. The worker said the meat on the fleshhook was for the priests.  
[13] And the priests' custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
[14] And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.

Sometimes an Israelite was making a sacrifice and planned to burn the fat on the meat first. The priests' worker would come and want the meat first.  The Israelite would tell the worker that he wanted to burn the fat and cook the meat first. But the priests' worker said no. He said he wanted the meat now. He did not want to wait.
[15] Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
[16] And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.

Eli's sons were very bad. They did not respect God's offerings.
[17] Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

Hannah and Elkanah visit Samuel.

Samuel continued to help in God's holy place. He wore a special linen cloth robe.

[18] But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.


Hannah and Elkanah visit Samuel.
From the LaVista Church of Christ web site

Every year, Hannah and Elkanah went to sacrifice at Shiloh. Hannah brought Samuel a new coat every year.
[19] Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Eli blessed Elkanah and Hannah. He asked God to give them more children because they let Samuel stay at the tabernacle.  Then Elkanah and Hannah went back home to Ramah.
[20] And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.

God was good to Hannah. She had 5 more children.  She had 3 sons and 2 daughters.  Samuel continued to live at God's holy place with Eli.

[21] And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.


Eli and his sons.

Eli was very old. He heard about what his sons were doing at the tabernacle. He heard that they were having sexual relations with women who came to the tabernacle.

[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.

Eli asked his sons why they were behaving badly. He said he was hearing about the bad things they did. Eli said that when they behave badly, it causes other Israelites to behave badly, too.
[23] And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
[24] Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD's people to transgress.

Eli said that when one man does something bad to another man, a judge decides who is right and wrong. God can help the man.  But when a man does something bad to God, no one can help him.  Eli's sons didn't pay attention to him. God was already planning to kill Eli's sons, so He caused them not to listen.
[25] If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.


Samuel continues to grow.

Samuel continued to grow.  God was happy with him. Other people were happy with him, too.

[26] And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.


God promises to punish Eli and his sons.

A prophet is someone who tells what God says. A prophet came to see Eli.  He said that God told him what to say. God asked if Eli's ancestors saw Him back in Egypt.  He asked if He picked Aaron and his descendants to be the priests.  He asked if  he picked Aaron's descendants to make the sacrifices, burn incense, and wear special clothes. He asked if He gave the priests the Israelites' sacrifices.

[27] And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?
[28] And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?

God asked why Eli allows his sons to take the best parts of the offerings.
[29] Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

God said that from now on, Aaron's descendants will not be the priests. God will honor the people who honor Him. But Eli's sons have shown that they do not honor God.
[30] Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

God will kill Eli and his sons. God will not let any of Eli's descendants live long lives.
[31] Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.

God will give good things to the Israelites. But Eli and his descendants will not have good things.  None of the descendants will live long lives.
[32] And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

God will let one of Eli's descendants be the priest. But he will have a very bad life. The other descendants will die when they are young.
[33] And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.

Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day. Then Eli will know that God is doing everything He said He will do.
[34] And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.

God will choose a new priest. The new priest will be faithful to him. The new priest will obey God. God will help the new priest have many descendants. God will choose a king. The new priest and his descendants will always obey the king forever.
[35] And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

All of Eli's descendants will beg for food and money. They will beg to help the new priest so that they can eat something.
[36] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.


1 Samuel 3

God speaks to Samuel for the first time.

Samuel continued to serve God. He helped Eli at the tabernacle. During that time, there were no prophets (people who told the other people what God said). God did not speak to prophets as much as before. People didn't have many dreams when God talked to them.
[1] 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.

Eli's eyes were going blind. He did not see well. He was in his bed sleeping. Samuel was sleeping in another place.  The fire in the lamp could not burn all night. Very, very late at night, the lamp went out.

[2] And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
[3] And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;


"The Voice of the Lord"
J. James Tissot
From the Christian Theological Seminary web site

God called Samuel's name.  Samuel said, "Here I am." Then Samuel went to Eli to see what he wanted. He thought Eli called his name. Eli said that he did not call Samuel. He told Samuel to go back to bed. Samuel went back and laid down.
[4] That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
[5] And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

God called Samuel again. Samuel again thought it was Eli. He got up and went to Eli's room. Samuel said, "Here I am." Eli said again that he did not call Samuel. He told Samuel to go back and lie down.
[6] And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

God had never talked to Samuel in the past, so Samuel did not know God's voice.
[7] Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

God called Samuel again for the 3rd time. Samuel got up again and went to Eli. He said, "Here I am." He told Eli that he had called him.  Now Eli realized that God had called Samuel.
[8] And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.

Eli told Samuel to go and lie down again. He said if God calls him again, he should tell God that he is listening.  So Samuel went back and laid down.
[9] Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

God called Samuel again. Samuel answered God. He said that he was listening and was ready for God to talk to him.
[10] And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

God said that he was ready to do something.  He will do something that will shock everyone who hears about it.
[11] And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

God said that he will punish Eli and his sons. God will do what He told Eli He will do.  He will do everything from beginning to end. Eli's sons did bad things. Eli knew about them, but he did not stop them. God is punishing all of them.  
[12] In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
[13] For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Before, God told Eli that He would punish him. Eli and his sons cannot make sacrifices to ask for forgiveness. They have done very bad things and making sacrifices will not help them.
[14] And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Samuel was awake until morning. Then he got up and opened the doors of the tabernacle. He was afraid to tell Eli what God said.
[15] And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

In the morning, Eli called Samuel.  Samuel said, "Here I am."
[16] Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.

Eli wanted to know what God told Samuel. Eli told Samuel not to keep anything secret. If he does not tell Eli everything, Eli will ask God to punish him.
[17] And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

Samuel told Eli everything that God told him. He did not keep anything secret.  Eli said that God should do whatever he He thinks is right.
[18] And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.


Samuel grows up.

Samuel grew and became a man.  God was with him. God helped him to say the right things. Everything that Samuel said came true.

[19] And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

Everyone in all areas of Israel knew about Samuel. They knew that he was a prophet. They knew that God talked to Samuel in Shiloh. God told Samuel what to say.
[20] And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
[21] And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

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