God raises up two kings, one proud and the other humble.
The book of 1 Samuel is an exciting book split into two parts due to its large size. The first part is a contrasting character study of Saul and David, showing the importance of humility in God’s people.
1 Samuel Overview
The Rise and Fall of Saul
The book of 1 Samuel focuses on three characters: Samuel, Saul, and David. A poem near the start of the book reveals the book's key themes: God’s opposition to the proud, exultation of the humble, faithfulness in spite of evil, and the promise of a messianic king.
These themes are played out through the rest of the book as we see Saul rise to power, only to have his character flaws exposed as he disobeys God’s command. In contrast, God raises up David, a humble shepherd who trusts God. As the story progresses, we see these two characters in increasingly stark contrast. Saul slips into madness as David resolutely trusts in God’s timing and purposes.
Hannah and Samuel
God answers Hannah’s prayers for a son, whom she dedicates to the Lord. Samuel grows wise and becomes a prophet and leader in Israel.
God vs. the Philistines
God allows the Philistines to steal the Ark of the Covenant after Israel used it as a trophy. God defeats the Philistines and their god Dagon without Israel’s help.
Crowning a King
After the people demand a king, God allows Saul to become king over them. He’s everything they wanted in a king. What could go wrong?
The Tragedy of Saul
Saul shows promise, but he is brought low by his pride and lack of integrity. God takes the kingdom from him while he is still king and promises to give it to another, a humble servant.
The Rise of David
Samuel anoints the young shepherd David as the new king. David has a military victory and gains favor even while running from a jealous king Saul. The first part of the story concludes with Saul’s death.