Inductive Bible Studies,

[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]

PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).


Fourth Study.—Administration of Samuel.

[The material of this " study " is furnished by Professors Beecher and Burroughs. It is edited by Professor Harper.]



1. The text cited is to be studied intellectually rather than devotionally.

2. The facts and ideas of the biblical statements are to be mastered, rather than the words. One must also discriminate between primary and subordinate facts. Let the more prominent be fastened firmly in mind, and others grouped about them.

3. It is only by means of the Revised Version that the best help can be gained from these "studies," the historical and literary portions of which have been prepared with reference to its use.

4. Let there be constant exercise in asking questions. If they cannot be answered, write them down. It is not to be expected that all questions will be answered at once. Let the questions be classified according as they relate to the text, the interpretation of the text, geography, customs and manners, religious service, personal character, etc.

5. Use, but do not misuse, commentaries. They may contain information which will be valuable to you if digested and assimilated. But above all things, let not the reading of such helps be substituted for the study of the Bible itself. Depend upon no authority. Do your own thinking.


Read 1 Sam. 7:5-ch. 12;1 and study the account (1) of Samuel's career as judge, 7:5-17; (2) of the circumstances which directly led to the establishment of the monarchy, 8; (3) of the story of Saul and the asses, 9, and 10:1-16; (4) of Saul's election, 10:17-27; (5) of the beginning of his reign, 11; (6) of Samuel's address to the people, 12.


1. Samuel's Career as Judge; 7:5-17.

(1) Study the gathering, characterized by penitence, prayer and fasting, at Mizpah(7:5,6),especially the drawing and pouring out of water. Of what was this symbolic? cf. 1:15; Josh. 7:5,; Ps. 22:14; 62:8; Lam. 2:19. Add other explanatory passages. Picture the scene.

(2) What was the Hebrew conception of nature in its relation to Jehovah? cf. 7:10; 2:10; 2 Sam. 22:7-16; Ps. 29:8-10. Make this study more complete by use of the concordance, consulting particularly the Psalms.

(3) Make a study of the Amortes (7:14);their location (west of Jordan, Num. 13:2; Josh. 10:5; also east of Jordan, Num. 21:13, 26),their history in relation to the Hebrews, etc.2

(4) Form as clear a conception as possible of the functions of Samuel as judge. 3

2. Circumstances leading to the Monarchy; ch. 8.

(1) Contrast Samuel and Eli in their relation to their sons and thus to the national welfare.

(2) Make a study of the elders (8:4) in Israel; in the patriarchal form of government, in the wilderness, after the entrance into Canaan; trace historically and show the different kinds of elders and their functions. Cf. Ex. 3:16; 4:29; Lev. 4:15; 9:1; Num. 11:16,24, 26; Josh. 20:4; Jud. 8:16; 11:5; 21:16. Add other references from use of concordance, especially in regard to their continuance in later times.

(3) Notice how the statements of Samuel (vs. 11-18) are fulfilled according to other passages of Scripture. Cf. 2 Sam. 15:1; 1 Kgs. 1:5; 5:13-18; 12:4; 21:7; 2 Kgs. 1:9-14. Add other pas-sages.

(4) Consider the change of government and the establishment of the monarchy at this time in relation to the divine purpose in Israelitish history.4

3. Saul and the Asses; 9:1-10:16.

(1) Picture the times religiously from this wonderfully full and vivid narrative. Be as realistic as possible.5

(2) What various terms are applied to the prophet in the O. T.? Their meaning? See Young's Concordance, prophecy, prophesy, prophets, seer, etc. v. 9 will be considered in the sixth study; the student may, however, consult Edersheim, pp. 120-126; Briggs, pp. 14,16; Orelli, pp. 5,11,12.

(3) What may, perhaps, be imagined to be in Saul's heart (9:19) at this time? Form an opinion of his character and thoughts at this juncture.

(4) Make a further study (see previous study) of the rite of anointing (10:1). Signification of the rite? Who were anointed? Inference as to the Messiah; the Anointed Cf. Ex. 40:15; Lev. 8:12; 1Kgs. 19:16. Make a word-study, using concordance, anoint, anointed.

(5) What was "a company of prophets" (10:5?)6

(6) Meaning of 10:6,9? Make a word-study of the scriptural expression heart.

(7) Explain 10:11,12,and expressions therein used.

4. Saul's Election; 10:17-27.

(1) Determine the nature of the national assembly of Israel (10:17).Its composition? Its functions? etc. Cf. Num. 1:2, 3; Ex. 19:3-9; 24:3; Num. 27:18-23; Josh. 9:15, 18; Judges 22:1,etc. Add references in subsequent books.

(2) Form a general conception of the political organization of the Hebrew tribes previous to the establishment of the monarchy. Cf. 8:4; 10:17; 10:19-21,etc.

(3) Explain the nature of the lot as found in the Scriptures. In reference to what was it employed? Cf. Prov. 16:38; Josh. 7:14; 18:10; Judges 20:9,10; Lev. 16:8,10, etc.

(4) The Urim and Thummim, what? Manner of use? 10:22, asked of the LORD; cf. 22;10; 23:9;28:6; 30:7:Ex.28:30; Num. 27:21; Jud. 1:1; 20:18,etc.

(5) What inference may legitimately be drawn from 10:25a?

5. Beginning of Saul's Reign; ch. 11.

(1) Compare11:1 with 12:12, note LXX. reading in margin of 11:1 (Revision); draw an inference.

(2) Make a study regarding the history of the Ammonites in relation to Israel. Jud. 8:12-14; 10; 11; 2 Sam. 10:1 seq.; 12:26; 2 Chr. 20; 26:8; 27:5; Neh. 4:7, 8, etc.

(3) Meaning of 11:6? Make a word-study of spirit of God, spirit of the LORD, in relation to individuals, in O. T. Scriptures.

(4) Look up the question of numbers (11:8) in this and the preceding study; draw inferences.

(5) Compare the Hebrew and Roman divisions of time (10:11, watch); Lam. 2:19; Jud. 7:19; Matt. 14:25; Mk. 13:35; Acts 12:4, etc.

6. Samuel's Address; chap. 12.

(1) Make an analysis.

(2) Consider the importance of this juncture in Israelitish history.

(3) What two-fold trial is here, in figure, conducted (vs. 3, 7)?

(4) On verse 22, cf. Deut. 7:6-11; Ex. 32:12; Num. 14:13-24, etc. Distinguish between the right and wrong reliance upon this idea, both generally and specially in concrete instances in Israelitish history.

(5) Make a careful and thorough character-study of Samuel, noticing

(a) his judgeship,

(b) his relation to the monarchy,

(c) his relation to prophecy, and making use of the statements which follow in this study, and the results of your reading.7

(6) In what respects has this character failed to receive its true prominence in Israelitish history?


Indicate the location of

(1) Mizpah, 7:6;

(2) of the route of the Philistines, 7:11;

(3) of Samuel's circuit, 7:16, 17 (Ramah near Bethlehem, Gilgal in the Jordan valley);

(4) of Saul's route, 9 and 10;

(5) of the country of the Ammonites, and Saul's operations in defense of Jabesh-gilead, 11.


1. The statement that "Samuel judged the sons of Israel in Mizpah," 7:6, does not necessarily mean that he then became judge; but that is the best understanding of it. His judging Israel " all the days of his life," 7:15, implies that after Saul became king, Samuel continued to be judge, though the judge was now outranked by the king, and was no longer chief magistrate. When Samuel broke off relations with Saul, 15:35, his position of judge may have become merely nominal.

2. The independence from the Philistines continued "all the days of Samuel," 7:13. The natural meaning of this is not all the days of his life, but of his administration as chief magistrate. This agrees with the facts as stated in the following chapters.8 After Saul's accession, and before Samuel's death, there was a time of Philistine oppression worse than those that had preceded it, 13:5-22. But the magnitude of the preparations made by the Philistines for this conquest shows what a formidable enemy Israel had become, under Samuel.

3. The events of Samuel's administration are so briefly narrated, that we are in danger of failing to take in their full importance. Eli's death left Israel under oppression, a humiliated and ravaged country. Samuel's reign began by a swift, well-ordered, and entirely successful blow for independence, and then kept Israel in a condition of peace, territorial integrity, and prosperity. A comment on this is the fact that Saul, at the beginning of his reign, when he had no prestige, could suddenly raise 300,000 (or 830,000) men, 11:8.

4. The time of Samuel's administration, obtained by subtracting the sum of the other numerals for the period from the exodus to the temple from the 480 of 1 Kgs. 6:1, is about twenty years. This is in addition to the preceding twenty years of waiting. (See note on previous study.) This agrees entirely with the statements of the history. These represent Samuel as a young man at the death of Eli, and as an old man, with grown sons, but with many years yet to live, at the accession of Saul. About forty years is a time long enough for these changes, and not too long.

5. An exceedingly important event in Samuel's career, though described in only a single sentence, was the establishment of amicable relations with such of the old Amorite inhabitants of the land as yet remained, 7:14.

6. The following additional statements concerning Samuel, may be verified by references:

(a) After the confirming of the kingdom, Samuel was associated with Saul in the government; but in time, differences arose between them, 7:15; 13:8-15.

(b) After the war with Amalek, he withdrew from the administration, ch. 15, especially verses 26-31 and 35.

(c) Afterward, he privately anointed David as king, and later, helped David, though both he and David maintained a true allegiance to Saul, 16:1-13; 19:18-24.

(d) He died, greatly lamented, in the later years of Saul, who afterward had a real or pretended interview with him, 25:1; 28:7-20.

(e) He was awriter,10:25; 1 Chron. 29:29.

(f) He was a Levite, and his grandson was the distinguished singer Heman, 1 Chron. 6:28, 33, and context.

(g) His influence was afterward recognized, both in the establishment of David's kingdom, and in the preparations David made for building the temple, 1 Chron.11:3; 9:22; 26:28. (h) Samuel and his times were remembered in Israel as worthy to be mentioned along with Moses and his times, Jer. 15:1; Ps. 99:6; 2 Chron. 35:18.


1. From the study of the outcome of life, as seen particularly in the case of Samuel, show the necessity of a rounded manhood, both moral and spiritual, for true influence.

2. From the same character, emphmaize the power of religious personality; the temptations to be met in building it up, the methods by which it is to be built up and strengthened.

3. Notice the qualities of Saul, as he appears in this " study." Enumerate such as were calculated to fit him for noble service. Show what dangers assailed them.

4. What, in general, are the lessons of this " study " as to equipment for Christian work?


1) See Geikie's "Hours with the Bible," vol. 3,pp.40-92;Stanley's " Jewish Church," lects. 18,19, 20, "Samuel and The Prophetic Orderand Teaching;" Edersheim's "Prophecy and History in relation to the Messiah," pp. 232-249,a picture of the times; Delitzsch's " . T. History of Redemption" pp. 75-83.,etc.

2) See Young's concordance for a valuable summary.

3) Questions suggested by 7:16,17,will be more fully considered in the sixth study.

4) See especially Introduction to Kirkpatrick's " Samuel," chap. 4, The Place of the Books of Samuel in the History of the Kingdom of God.

5) It is not supposed that the student will be able to answer all the queries thus suggested.

6) See Kirkpatrick's Samuel, Introduction, chap. 6; Edersheim, pp. 122-124; Briggs, p. 24 seq; Delitzsch, "O.T. History of Redemption," pp. 81-83.

7) For an excellent epitome see Kirkpatrick's 1 Samuel, Introd., ch. 5.

8) It would be inconsistent with 1 Sam. 10:5, if it were necessary to hold that the "garrison" there spoken of was a military post, and was at that time occupied by Philistine soldiers; but that is not necessary.