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Who was Samuel?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

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Although Moses was the greatest of the Jewish prophets for all time, Samuel was the first of a series of leaders who constituted the Era of the Prophets. He was advisor and spiritual counsel to the first Jewish king, Saul, and to his eventual successor, the famous not-yet-King David. His career was characterized by much fire and brimstone; but given the cataclysmic times in which he lived, G-d’s message was often necessarily tough.

Samuel was the first child of Elkanah and Chanah, a prophet and prophetess who were childless for many years. He was born in the year 931 BCE, and, while still a youth, was apprenticed to the High Priest Eli by his mother, who, when beseeching G-d for a child, made the promise to give him up to the service of G-d.

Eli noticed the leadership qualities behind Samuel’s poise and strong-mindedness, and indeed, Samuel was recognized as a leader by much of Jewish society early on, succeeding Eli as the last Judge at the age of 41.

Samuel wrote the books of Shoftim (Judges), Ruth and Samuel. He died in 877 BCE at the age of 54, four months before the war-time death of King Saul.

For more information, read “What is a prophet?” and “What is a High Priest?”, also in this section.

TAGS: samuel, shmuel

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Shmuel Hanavi's life

Posted by: Anonymous on Feb 27, 2005

was a good biography but not long enough
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Samuel
1. A prophet and judge who appointed Saul as the first king of Israel in the 9th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, named after the abovementioned Samuel, one of the main characters of the book.
Saul
First king of Israel, anointed by the prophet Samuel in 878 BCE. Was dethroned because he failed to carry out G-d's command, and the royal crown was transferred to King David and his descendents.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Ruth
1. A Moabite woman who accompanied Naomi, the Jewish mother of her deceased husband, back to Israel. She converted, married, and was the ancestor of King David. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles the events of Naomi's life.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.