Before jumping right into how Hannah’s prayer changed the course of history forever (see 1 Samuel 1:9-18), I’d like to share a little background on what was going on in the culture and history of the time.
Though the book of Ruth comes immediately before 1 Samuel in our Bibles, that’s not the case in the Talmud (our Christian Bible places it in this location to provide chronological context since Ruth’s grandson was King David’s father).
I read somewhere that, “If Judges is a book of failure, then Ruth is a book of quiet victory!” I love that.
The book of Judges is a stark contrast to Joshua. In the book of Joshua, we learn about the man who took over for Moses and lead an obedient group of people who put their trust in the power of God. And because of their confident expectation in Him, Jericho crumbled and then Canaan itself was conquered, bringing fulfillment to God’s promise generations before, as Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt.
Sadly, though as the years progressed, God’s people tumbled back into their old familiar patterns and this dark time in Israel’s history shows repeated periods of chaos, political discord, tumultuous divisiveness between themselves, invasions from other nations, and spiritual and moral depravity.
Over and over, the Israelites broke their covenant with God and shut their eyes to their true identity as His chosen people. And yet over and over, God raised up good men and women to help deliver them when they cried out for aid.
Want to study further?
Each Judge God appointed to bring deliverance to His people were likened to that of a governor, responsible for law and order, diplomacy, taxation, and such. These judges were both spiritual and political deliverers. Therefore, the judges portray the role of Christ as the Savior-King of His people.
Seventeen judges are mentioned during this time. Some are warrior-rulers (Othniel and Gideon), one is a priest (Eli, who we’ll learn more about in 1 Samuel) and one is a prophet (Samuel).
I have put together a guide listing the traditionally talked about twelve judges during this time, in case you’d like to do some further study before delving into 1 Samuel next week. Come on...get a taste of what life was like in Israel during this time! It's actually pretty crazy. Lots of drama and action here, folks!
(Want to print out the below worksheet? Head to The Library to do so!)
It is in this time of deep darkness that 1 Samuel begins, and covers the ninety-four-year period from the birth of Samuel to the death of Saul.
I absolutely cannot wait to start in on it next week!
If you live here in the Denver area and would like to take part in person…click here to sign up!
Otherwise, head back here to the blog toward the middle/end of next week and I’ll have Week One of the online version ready for you to do on your own. Or to start your own group with!
Want more information (including a little video) on our study without signing up? Head over here.