Samuel in the Bible
Samuel is a well known Biblical character and a popular name for boys. Literally translated it means ‘God has listened’ or ‘God has heard’. In Samuel’s case, God certainly did hear.
From the beginning Samuel was special. Hannah, wife of Elkanah, had been barren for years and prayed to God to give her a child. As she sits praying one night, Eli, a Shiloh priest, at first believes she is drunk. When he speaks to her, she promises to hand her child over to God.
‘Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head” ‘(1 Sam 1:1)
When Hannah is blessed with the birth of a son she deliberately names him Samuel for its meaning. Hannah keeps her promise and hands Samuel over to the care of Eli.
When Samuel reaches the age of 13, he is awakened by a voice in the night calling his name. Convinced it is Eli, he wakens him. Eli instinctively understands it is God who is calling Samuel.
‘And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.(1 Sam 3:8-9).
Unfortunately, the news isn’t good for Eli who accepts it as God’s judgment for his sons’ corruption. Eli’s sons are killed in battle against the Philistines and Eli dies when he hears the news. Samuel finally replaces Eli as priest. (1 Sam 7:2-17)
It is Samuel’s task to turn the Hebrew people away from idolatry and bring them back to God. After 40 years of trouble with the Philistines, he leads them into victory and years of peace follow. Samuel establishes regular worship at Shiloh where he builds an altar for the people. ‘Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord’ (1 Samuel 7:15-16).
Like Eli, however, Samuel’s sons don’t possess his father’s integrity and when the people see this they demand a King. With God’s blessing, Samuel anoints two kings, firstly Saul, then the revered King David.
‘Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah’. (1 Sam 8:12-13).
Samuel was seen as the last Hebrew judge and the first prophet of Israel and enjoyed great favor with God. He was also much loved by the people.
Hannah’s prayers for her son and her trust in God were rewarded. If you name your new son Samuel, be inspired by the story of his Hebrew namesake and trust that whatever you pray for him, God is always listening.
Baby Names Tags:meaning of name samuel, picture of samuel in the bible birth, praying to god, samuel biblija
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