2 Responses to “Bible Study on Life and Times of Samuel: Background & Introduction to Main Characters”

  1. John from Australia says:

    Hi John,

    In an earlier post you wrote:

    “Even Samuel, who was both judge and prophet, was a Benjamite. He was not a Levite…” (“Just What Is a Prophet, Anyhow? What Is an Apostle?, January 6, 2013).

    In reply to my post concerning that statement you wrote:

    “@John from Australia: There probably was more than one Ephrath, which is why I concentrated upon Ramah for the location. Samuel was likely either a Benjamite, given the location, or an Ephraimite, which would have been near Ramah. The translation you chose identifies him as an Ephraimite, while the KJV says Ephrathite. Even then, that is referring to his great, great grandfather!

    “So, if this was the same Samuel as the list in 1Chr 6, then it begs the question why wasn’t he identified as a Levite in 1Samuel?”

    Now you write:

    “He lived in Ephraim, but it is important to remember that he was a Levite”.

    If you can change your position on Samuel’s heritage – not a Levite, now a Levite – then there may yet be a hope that you can change your position on premillennialism, even answering your own doubting questions on the alternative’s validity. Smile.

    Regards from Kiwi John – who emigrated to Australia from New Zealand over 30 years ago.

    PS: Another example of the telescopic concept – two horns:

    1Sa 2:1 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.
    1Sa 2:10 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.

    “2:9-10… We are told at the conclusion of the song (v.10) that the rule of Yahweh is in the strength of the king. How odd! At the very beginning of the book of Samuel, long before Saul or David or any kings appears in Israel, the poetry has Hannah assert that the coming king will be an agent for the poor, needy, hungry barren (cf. Ps. 72:1-4, 12-14). This poem anticipates the hope placed in kingship for time to come. The poem, moreover, articulates the criteria by which subsequent kings are to be evaluated. “All this is placed on the grateful, expectant lips of Hannah.

    “We had thought this was Hannah’s song about her son. It is. It concerns her “horn.” The song, however, breaks out beyond Hannah. It now trusts in and anticipates the “horn of David,” who is the true horn of Israel. It anticipates that Yahweh will reorder social reality, precisely in the interest of those too poor and too weak to make their own way.

    “In the first instance this poem is indeed Hannah’s song. It is the voice of a joyous woman stunningly rescued from barrenness. It is at the same time, however, a powerful poem that has futures well beyond Hannah. Childs has observed (pp.272-273) that his song provides an “interpretive key” for the books of Samuel. That is, the power and willingness of Yahweh to intrude, intervene, and invert is the main theme of the narrative. We watch while the despised ones (Israel, David) become the great ones. At the center of this one startling inversion is the eighth son (16:11-12), who sits with princes and inherits a seat of honor (2:8).

    “This song becomes the song of Mary and the song of the church (Luke 1:45-55), as the faithful community finds in Jesus the means through which Yahweh will turn and right the world. The Song of Mary, derived from Hannah, becomes the source for Luke’s portrayal of Jesus. This song becomes a source of deep and dangerous hope in the world wherever the prospect and possibility of human arrangements have been exhausted. When people can no longer believe the promises of the rulers of this age, when the gifts of well-being are no longer given through established channels, this song voices an alterative to which the desperate faithful cling” (Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, IABC, pp.20-21).

    • John D says:

      John from Australia wrote: “If you can change your position on Samuel’s heritage – not a Levite, now a Levite – …”

      And why not? If my understanding were perfect, there would be no need for a study, and if anyone else’s understanding is perfect, there would be no need for them to read it or study on their own.

      Both idolaters and critics of HWA alike have one thing in common: They miss the most important aspects of his legacy. If he were in it for the money, he would have not changed the doctrine of a Monday Pentecost. At the same time was WCG blessed because HWA had every jot and tittle down pat at some arbitrary point in time, or could it simply be his attitude of “blow the dust off your Bibles”?

      We must not just repent at baptism but be willing to do so wherever and whenever we are wrong.

      At any rate, there does seem to be agreement that there is more than one Ephrath. In addition, Elkanah wasn’t an uncommon name, so I don’t feel bad for missing the other lineage.

      “then there may yet be a hope that you can change your position on premillennialism, even answering your own doubting questions on the alternative’s validity. Smile.”

      Smiling is good. Holding your breath would not be advisable. :)