Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah, and was born at Ramathaimzophim, among the hills of Ephraim. Before his birth, he was dedicated by his mother to the office of a Nazarite, and when a young child, he was placed in the temple, and "ministered unto the lord before Eli." It was while here that he received his first prophetic call.
He next appeared, probably twenty years afterward, suddenly among the people, warning them against their idolatrous practices. Then followed Samuel's first and, as far as we know, only military achievement, which raised him to the office of "judge." He visited, according to his duties as ruler, the three chief sanctuaries on the west of Jordan--Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh. His own residence was still his native city, Ramah, where he married and had two sons.
In his old age, Samuel shared his power with his sons, but the people, dissatisfied, demanded a king. Samuel anointed Saul under God's direction, and Samuel surrendered to him his authority, although he still remained a judge. He was consulted far and near on the small affairs of life. From this fact, combined with his office of ruler, a reverence grew around him. No sacrificial feast was thought complete without his blessing. A unique virtue was believed to reside in his intercession.
After Saul was rejected by God, Samuel anointed David in his place, and Samuel became the spiritual father of the psalmist-king. The death of Samuel is described as taking place in the year of the close of David's wanderings. It is said with peculiar emphasis, as if to mark the loss that all of Israel felt.
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