A character in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Actually he's a pretty major character since he has two long chapters in his name. Samuel is the son of Hannah and Elkanah. His name means "I have asked him of the Lord" or perhaps "I have borrowed from the Lord". Hannah was barren before she gave birth to Samuel and so promised God that if he would just give her a male child she would set him aside as a nazirite. Hannah did, and so as promised she delivered Samuel to the temple when he was weaned.

Samuel remained at the Temple where served under the priest Eli. When Samuel was twelve he received his first revelation from God. His first revelation was about Eli's sons who had sinned in the eyes of the Lord, and so were to be punished.

Samuel grew up to become a judge of Israel. In his time, right before the monarchic period, judges served to do more than just judge. They also would act as generals in times of war, as well as lead their people. While he was a general/judge he led the Israelites to victory over the Philistines. Samuel had a son Joel and Abijah who were made judges after him. His sons were not as just as Samuel, they took bribes and "perverted justice"

The people of Israel asked Samuel for a king, and reluctantly Samuel anoited Saul to be their king. (There is an interesting contrast between the view of kingship in 1 Samuel 8 and 1 Samuel 9: In chapter 8 the king is a punishment for the Israelites since their request for a king offends God. In chapter 9 Samuel is happy about anointing a king and Saul is the chosen of God, and is generally positive towards the monarchy. Bible scholars attribute this to a source critical problem)

Samuel later criticizes Saul for a sacrifice Saul made, and anoints David as king in Saul's place. Samuel then supported David in his overthrow of David, and continued to condemn Saul. Samuel even comes back from the dead to condemn Saul!

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