—Biblical Data:

Two books in the second great division of the canon, the "Nebi'im," or Prophets, and, more specifically, in the former of its subdivisions, the "Nebi'im Rishonim," or Earlier, Prophets, following upon Joshua and Judges; the third and fourth of the historical writings according to the arrangement of the Masoretic text. Originally the two books of Samuel formed a single book, as did the two books of Kings. In the Septuagint Samuel and Kings were treated as one continuous and complete history of Israel and Judah, and the work was divided into four books under the title Βίβλια Βασιλειῶν ("Books of Kingdoms"). This division was accepted in the Vulgate by Jerome, who changed the name to "Books of Kings." Thence it passed into the editions of the Hebrew Bible published by Daniel Bomberg of Venice in the sixteenth century; and it has since reappeared in every Hebrew printed edition though the individual books retained the captions they had in the Hebrew manuscripts, viz., "I Samuel" and "II Samuel" for the first two of the four Kings, and "I Kings" and "II Kings" for the last two. But the Masorah continued to be placed after II Samuel for both I and II.

Name and Contents.

The name "Samuel," by which the book, now divided into two, is designated in Hebrew, was construed to imply that Samuel was the author (see below). More likely, the title was chosen because Samuel is the most important of all the personages mentioned in the record, he having a prominent, even dominant, part in most of the events related in book I. The two books comprise, according to the Masoretic note at the end, thirty-four "sedarim" (the mnemonic word is given as ); in the printed editions the first book has thirty-one chapters and the second twenty-four, making fifty-five chapters in all. They give the history of Israel from the concluding days of the period of the Judges—Samuel being considered the last of them—through the reigns of the first two kings, Saul and David, and continue the story not up to the latter's death, but merely to his incipient old age, the account of his declining years forming the prelude to the history of Solomon in I Kings.

First Book of Samuel:

This book consists of three main sections, to which the following headings may respectively be prefixed: (1) Eli and Samuel, ch. i.-vii.; (2) Samuel and Saul, viii.-xv.; and (3) Saul and David, xvi.-xxxi. In detail the contents are as follows:

  • (1) Eli and Samuel: Samuel's Younger Days and the Story of Eli: Birth of Samuel and his dedication to Yhwh (i.); Hannah's song (ii. 1-10); Samuel's service in the sanctuary (ii. 11-iv. 1).The Story of the Ark: Loss of the Ark and its dire consequences (iv.); the Ark retained by the Philistines (v.); return of the Ark (vi. 1-18); the Ark at Beth-shemesh and Kirjath-jearim (vi. 19-vii. 1).Samuel as Judge: The people's sorrow (vii. 2-6); defeat of the Philistines (vii. 7-12); Samuel judges Israel (vii. 12-17).
  • (2) Samuel and Saul: Israel Clamors for a King: The desire of the people (viii. 1-5); Samuel consults Yhwh (viii. 6-9); Samuel admonishes the people (viii. 10-18); their persistence (viii. 19-22).Saul Anointed as King: Details of Saul's pedigree and character (ix. 1-2); his adventure with his father's asses and his visit to the seer (ix. 3-14); meeting of Samuel and Saul (ix. 15-21); meal set before Saul (ix. 22-24); Saul anointed by Samuel (ix. 25-x. 8); Saul's home-coming (x. 9-16).Saul's Election to the Kingship: The election by lot (x. 17-25a); dismissal of the people (x. 25a-27a).
Saul Assumes the Kingship.

The Peril of Jabesh-gilead; Saul's Valor and Its Reward—the Crown: Siege of Jabesh-gilead; outrageous conditions of peace (xi. 1-3); messengers for relief at Gibeah; Saul, stirred by the spirit, calls Israel to arms (xi. 4-8); Saul relieves the city (xi. 9-11); his kingship acknowledged and confirmed (xi. 12-15).

Samuel Relinquishes His Judgeship: Samuel's challenge to prove malfeasance in office against himself (xii. 1-6); his pleading with the people in a retrospect of Israel's history (xii. 7-15); he calls down thunder and rain upon the people, who are thereby compelled to request his intercession for them as sinners; he exhorts them to fear Yhwh (xii. 16-25).

War Against the Philistines: Saul begins his reign(xiii. 1); war breaks out; the people in distress hide for their lives (xiii. 2-7a); Saul's failure; his rejection at Gilgal (xiii. 7b-15); Philistines in possession of the mountains of Ephraim (xiii. 16-18, 23); the people of Israel are unarmed, the Philistines having forbidden work at the smithies (xiii. 19-22); Jonathan's great feat of arms (xiv. 1-15); battle with the Philistines (xiv. 16-24); Saul's curse on the man that should eat, and Jonathan's violation of the prohibition (xiv. 25-30); Saul prevents the people from eating blood (xiv. 31-35); discovery of Jonathan's transgression; his rescue by the people (xiv. 36-45); brief exposition of Saul's wars; names of his sons and daughters; and other details (xiv. 46-52).

War Against the Amalekites; Saul's Rejection: Command to Saul to destroy Amalek (xv. 1-3); the war; Saul disobeys by sparing Agag and the flocks (xv. 4-9); Samuel's censure and menace for this disobedience (xv. 10-23); Saul, repentant, pleads for mercy (xv. 24-31); death of Agag (xv. 32-33); Samuel's complete separation from Saul (xv. 34-35).

  • (3) Saul and David: David's Family and Qualifications: Selection and consecration of David, the son of Jesse, after the rejection of his brothers (xvi. 1-13); David, as a cunning player on the harp, is brought to Saul to drive away the evil spirit from the king (xvi. 14-23); David's valor; his victory over Goliath (xvii. 1-54); David becomes Jonathan's friend and a general of Saul (xvii. 55-xviii. 5).
Saul's Jealousy of David.

David Distrusted by Saul; His Flight: Saul's jealousy; the women's song, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands"; the king hurls his spear at David; the latter is relieved of the duty of attending on Saul; David is loved by all Israel and Judah; Saul attempts to lure David to his death at the hands of the Philistines by the promise of his elder daughter, Merab, in marriage; David weds Michal, the king's younger daughter, in spite of the dangerous conditions Saul imposes for the marriage (xviii. 6-30); Jonathan's intercession leads to a reconciliation between Saul and David; futile attempt by Saul to assassinate David; the latter, aided by a ruse of Michal, flees (xix. 1-17); David with Saul at Ramah; Saul repeatedly attempts to seize him, but is foiled (xix. 18-24); David and Jonathan (xx.); David at Nob with Ahimelech the priest; he eats the Showbread, feigns madness before Achish (King of Gath), takes refuge in the cave of Adullam, and goes to Mizpah of Moab; he returns to Judah upon the advice of the prophet Gad; Saul's revenge against Ahimelech, who is killed under his orders by Doeg (xxi.-xxii.).

David a Freebooter in Philistia: David and the city of Keilah; Saul threatening to besiege him there, David consults Abiathar's ephod and at the oracle's advice departs (xxiii. 1-13); David's adventures while pursued by Saul in the wilderness of Ziph and in the strongholds of En-gedi (xxiii. 14-xxiv. 23); Samuel's death (xxv. 1a); David in the wilderness of Paran; his dealings with Nabal and Abigail (xxv.); his night visit to Saul's camp (xxvi.); his escape into the land of the Philistines, where he finds protection at the hand of Achish at Gath, receiving later Ziklag as a gift; he dwells in the land a year and four months, raiding his neighbors, while duping the king into the belief of his loyalty to him and in his active hostility to the people of Judah (xxvii.).

Closing Days of Saul's Reign.

Saul's End: War breaks out between Achish and Philistia, and Saul of Israel (xxviii. 1-2); Saul and the witch of En-dor (xxviii. 3-25); Achish, upon the complaint of his chieftains, who distrust David, dismisses him to Ziklag (xxix.); David's expedition against the Amalekites, who, during his absence, had raided Ziklag and set it on fire, taking large booty and carrying off among the women David's wives. Consulting the ephod, David pursues the marauders. Meeting on the way an Egyptian slave abandoned by the Amalekites, David is led by him to where the enemies are feasting. He fights them till sundown, slaying or capturing all save 400, and recovering his own; David's ordinance concerning the division of the spoils; his gifts to the elders of Judah (xxx.); the last battle of Saul; death of his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchi-shua; Saul, after the refusal of his armor-bearer to kill him, dies by falling upon his own sword; his body and those of his sons are stripped; Saul's head is cut off, to be sent as a trophy into the cities of Philistia; his body is fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, whence it is recovered by the men of Jabesh-gilead, who burn it, together with the remains of his sons, at Jabesh, and later bury the bones under a tamarisk-tree (xxxi.).

Second Book of Samuel:

This book likewise readily lends itself to a division into three main parts: (1) David as king (i.-viii.); (2) David and his crown princes (ix.-xx.); and (3) complementary appendixes consisting of various historical glosses (xxi.-xxiv.). The details are as follows:

  • (1) David as King: David Learns of Saul's Death: Arrival of the messenger (i. 1-5); he reports that he had slain Saul at the latter's own request (i. 6-10); David mourns for Saul and Jonathan (i. 11-12); he directs that the messenger, "the son of a stranger, an Amalekite," be surreptitiously killed (i. 13-16).The Lament ("Ḳinah") of David for Saul and Jonathan: Superscription, with note that the lamentation is written in the Book of Jashar (i. 17-18); the lamentation (i. 19-27).
David in Hebron.

David Reigns in Hebron; War Against Abner, Ishbosheth's (Esh-baal's) Captain: Upon Yhwh's advice, David goes up to Hebron with his two wives, his men, and their households; he is anointed king by the men of Judah (ii. 1-4); he sends a message of approval to the men of Jabesh-gilead for having buried Saul (ii. 5-7); Abner is loyal to Saul's son Ish-bosheth or Esh-baal (ii. 8-11); Abner meets Joab, David's captain, by the pool of Gibeon, where twelve young men on each side engage in a trial by combat, all twenty-four falling; Abner is defeated in the battle which ensues (ii. 12-19); Abner is pursued, but slays Asahel, his pursuer, after vainly imploring him to desist (ii. 20-23); Joab, after parleying with Abner, blows the trumpet as a signal for the pursuit to cease (ii. 24-32).

The Extermination of Saul's House: War between the house of Saul and that of David (iii. 1, 6a); enumeration of David's sons (iii. 2-5); relations betweenAbner and Ish-bosheth disturbed by suspicions on the latter's part (iii. 7-11); Abner makes treasonable overtures to David, inducing him to demand his wife Michal from Ish-bosheth, who takes her away from her second husband, Paltiel, and sends her to David (iii. 12-16); Abner urges the elders of Israel to go over to David; he himself pays a visit to him and promises to deliver over to him all Israel (iii. 17-21); Abner is treacherously slain by Joab (iii. 22-30); David mourns for Abner; he refuses to eat until sunset, which pleases the people (iii. 31-39); Ish-bosheth is assassinated; and his head is taken to David, who, however, causes the assassins to be killed (iv. 1-3, 5-12; verse 4 is a gloss giving an account of the escape of Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, when five years old, and of his fall from the arms of a nurse, which resulted in his lameness).

David and Jerusalem: David is made king over all Israel (v. 1-3); his age and length of reign (v. 4, 5); he takes Jerusalem from the Jebusites; comment on David's growing power (v. 6-10); Hiram of Tyre sends materials and workmen and builds David a house (v. 11-12); David increases his harem; names of his sons born in Jerusalem (v. 13-16); war with the Philistines leading to their defeat (v. 17-25).

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem.

Removal of the Ark: The Ark is brought on a new cart out of the house of Abinadab, David and the Israelites playing before it on all sorts of instruments; its arrival at the thrashing-floor of Nachon; Uzzah, to save the Ark from falling when the oxen stumbled, puts forth his hand, for which act he is smitten dead (vi. 1-8); David, afraid to remove the Ark to Jerusalem, carries it aside to the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite, where it remains for three months (vi. 9-12); hearing that Obed-edom has prospered in consequence, David brings the Ark to Jerusalem, offering sacrifices along the way; David dances before the Ark, which causes Michal to despise him; the Ark is set in the midst of a tent, David offering "'olot" and "shelamim" before Yhwh, and the people receiving a share of the sacrificial meal; Michal's censure of David; her reproof and punishment (vi. 13-23).

Plans to Build Temple: Nathan and David; the prophet recalls that no permanent sanctuary has existed during Israel's history, and bids David desist from his plan to build one (vii. 1-12); the prophet promises that David shall have a successor, who will be permitted to carry out his (David's) plans (vii. 13-17); David's prayer of thanks for his own elevation and for the divine promise that his dynasty shall continue to rule (vii. 18-29).

Data Concerning David's Reign: David's wars (viii. 1-6); the spoils of gold and silver vessels dedicated to Yhwh (viii. 7-12); other military records (viii. 13-14); David as a just ruler; details of the administration and the names of his chief officers (viii. 15-18).

  • (2) David and His Crown Princes: The Story of David and Jonathan's Son: Ziba, a servant, upon David's inquiry, reveals the existence and place of sojourn of Mephibosheth (ix. 1-5); David sends for him, receives him graciously, assigns him Ziba for a body-servant, restores to him all of Saul's lands, and accords him a place as a daily guest at the royal table (ix. 6-10a); Ziba, his fifteen sons, and twenty retainers serve Mephibosheth and his son Micha (ix. 10b-13).
David and Uriah.

The Expeditions Against Ammon and Syria: The first campaign; the provocation: Ammon's king having died, David sends a deputation to present his condolence to Hanun, the son and successor; his envoys are grossly insulted, and are sent back with one-half of their beards shaved off, and their clothes cut off in the middle, so that they have to wait at Jericho until they obtain fresh garments and their beards are grown (x. 1-5); the first battle: Ammon hires Syrian mercenaries, against whom David sends Joab and an army of mighty men; with fine strategy Joab and his brother Abishai defeat the enemy (x. 6-14); the second battle: Hadarezer leads the Syrians, against whom David in person takes the field, marching to Helam, where he defeats them (x. 15-19); war against Ammon is renewed, but David remains at Jerusalem; he sins with Bath-sheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, who is with the army (xi. 1-5); to hide his sin David commands Uriah to return home, but is foiled in his designs (xi. 6-13); Uriah delivers to Joab a letter from David containing an order to place Uriah in the forefront of the battle so that he may be killed; this is done, and Uriah falls (xi. 14-17); Joab sends a report to David (xi. 18-25); David takes Bath-sheba into his house, where she gives birth to the first son born unto him while king; Yhwh is displeased (xi. 26, 27); Nathan's parable: "Thou art the man"; Nathan rebukes the king; David confesses (xii. 1-15); the child sickens; David fasts; death of the child; David, to the surprise of his servants, now eats; his explanation (xii. 16-23); Solomon born of Bathsheba; Nathan gives him the name "Jedidiah" (xii. 24-25); Joab calls upon David to join the army lest all the glory of the victory fall to his (Joab's) name; David captures Rabbah, taking the king's crown for himself, and treating the prisoners most cruelly; end of the war (xii. 26-31).

Amnon and Absalom: Amnon, in love with Tamar, the sister of his half-brother Absalom, upon the counsel of his cousin Jonadab feigns sickness and secures his father's consent for Tamar to nurse him; he outrages her, and sends her off with insults (xiii. 1-19); Absalom, seeing her grief, consoles her, takes her to his house and awaits an opportunity to take revenge (xiii. 20-22); two years later Absalom invites the king and his sons to a sheep-shearing feast in Baal-hazor, in which Amnon, after the king's refusal to attend, takes part; at the bidding of Absalom, Amnon is killed at the table (xiii. 23-29a); the king's sons fleeing, David hears that all have been killed; Jonadab reassures him, revealing to him Absalom's plot; Absalom takes refuge with Talmai, King of Geshur, remaining in exile three years (xiii. 29b-38); the king yearns for Absalom; Joab's ruse in sending for a wise woman from Tekoah, who feigns to be a widow and to having had an experience with her two sons similar to that of the king; extracting a promise from David that the avenger of blood shall destroy no more, she invokes the promise in Absalom's case; she confesses to be in leaguewith Joab (xiii. 39-xiv. 20); Absalom is granted complete immunity; Joab is sent to bring him home; Absalom is bidden to stay in his own house without seeing the king (xiv. 21-24); Absalom's beauty; his sons and daughter (xiv. 25-27); Absalom, after living two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king, in order to force an interview with Joab sets fire to the latter's field; Joab meets Absalom, and at his bidding intercedes in his behalf with David; David pardons Absalom (xiv. 28-33).

David and Absalom.

Absalom's Rebellion: Outbreak of the rebellion at Hebron (xv. 1-12); David has to leave Jerusalem; incidents of the flight; Ittai; Zadok and the Ark; Ahithophel and Hushai; Ziba reveals Mephibosheth's plot against David, and is rewarded; Shimei curses David, who, however, will not have him punished (xv. 13-xvi. 14); Absalom at Jerusalem; Hushai joins him; Ahithophel advises Absalom to seize the harem (in token of his being the ruling sovereign), and asks to be allowed to pursue David; Hushai counsels that Absalom should go out in person at the head of all Israel; Hushai's advice is followed; Hushai sends to Zadok and Abiathar asking them to warn David; Jonathan and Ahimaaz, the messengers, are seen by a lad who betrays them, but they are hidden in a well by a woman, and Absalom can not find them; they warn David, who passes over the Jordan; Ahithophel commits suicide (xvi. 15-xvii. 23); David at Mahanaim; Absalom crosses the Jordan with Amasa as his general; Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai provide beds and food (xvii. 24-29).

The Battle and Absalom's Death: David not allowed to go into battle; he gives orders to deal gently with Absalom; the battle in the forest of Ephraim; Absalom is defeated; he is caught by his hair in the boughs of an oak while his mule passes from under him; Joab, learning of this, takes three darts and thrusts them into Absalom's heart; this ends the pursuit (xviii. 1-16); glosses concerning Absalom's monument and grave (xviii. 17-18); Joab sends the Cushite to the king; Ahimaaz, after having been refused by Joab, is allowed to follow the Cushite, whom he outruns; Ahimaaz informs the king of the victory; David inquires after Absalom, and receives from Ahimaaz an evasive answer; the Cushite arriving, David learns of his son's fate; David's lamentation (xviii. 19-33); the people mourn, the soldiers entering the city as though they had been defeated; Joab forces David to show himself to the people (xix. 1-9); David returns at the solicitation of the people and the priests; Shimei supplicates for pardon; Mephibosheth, whose appearance shows grief, pleads that his servant deceived him; Ziba and he are told to divide the land; Barzillai invited to live at court; he declines, pleading old age, and begging that Chimham may take his place; jealousy between Judah and Israel (xix. 10-44).

Sheba's Uprising and Amasa's Violent Death: Sheba instigates a rebellion on the part of Israel (xx. 1-2); David's return to Jerusalem; treatment of his concubines (xx. 3); Amasa, bidden to call the Judeans together, exceeds the prescribed limit of three days; Abishai given command to pursue Sheba; at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa meets them; Joab in full equipment salutes him, and thrusts a sword into his bowels, killing him; kindness of a young man to the dying Amasa (xx. 4-13); Sheba besieged in Abel; the wise woman's parley with Joab to save the city; Joab asks that Sheba be delivered up, and the woman promises that his head shall be thrown to Joab over the wall; she induces the people to kill Sheba, and his head is cast out to Joab; the siege is raised (xx. 14-22); repetition of viii. 16-18 (xx. 23-26).

  • (3) Complementary Appendixes: Famine and the extermination of Saul's house (xxi. 1-14); the four giants and their capture (xxi. 15-22); David's song of triumph (xxii.); his last words (xxiii. 1-7); his thirty-three "mighty men" (xxiii. 8-39); census (xxiv. 1-9), plague (xxiv. 10-17), and erection of the altar (xxiv. 18-25).
Complex Documentary Sources. —Critical View:

Rabbinical tradition assigns to Samuel the prophet the authorship of ch. i.-xxiv. (his own biography up to his death), while, on the strength of I Chron. xxix. 29, it credits Gad and Nathan with having written the remainder of the book (I and II forming one book in the Jewish canon; B. B. 14b, 15a; see Biblical Data, above). In so far as tradition recognizes that the books of Samuel are not by one author, it accords with the conclusions of the critical schools. It is, however, needless to add that modern scholars reject the theory of the joint authorship of Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. As preserved in the canon, the books of Samuel are clearly not the work of men contemporary with the events chronicled. Behind these documents lie various and conflicting traditions which, in keeping with the method of early Hebrew historiography, the compiler has to a certain extent incorporated in his work without making any attempt to harmonize discrepancies. Thus, in recording how Saul was chosen king, the first book in ch. ix., x. 1-16, xi. 1-11, 15, xiii., and xiv. 1-46 proceeds on the theory that Yhwh had appointed a king over the people in order to liberate them from the yoke of the Philistines, commanding the seer to anoint young Saul, who had come to him while seeking his father's asses (ix. 15 et seq.). In the war against the Ammonites, Saul proves himself a hero and is chosen king by the people (xi.), after which he leads them against the Philistines (xiii. et seq.). It is for this war that he enlists young David's services (xiv. 52). An altogether different sequence of events and ideas is unfolded in vii. 2 et seq., viii., x. 17-24a, xii., and xv. Samuel the judge is remembered as having finally and conclusively driven off the Philistines. Ungrateful Israel, in order to be like the other peoples, compels Samuel in his old age to yield to their clamor for a king; and Yhwh, though greatly incensed, at last gives His consent (viii., x. 17 et seq.). With due solemnity Samuel relinquishes the office which he has administered so faithfully, but reserves for himself the post of censor and counselor, and interceder with Yhwh (xii.). At the first test Saul is discovered to be disobedient and is rejected by Yhwh (xv.).

In the story of David a similar duplication and divergence are easily established. In xvi. 14-23 David is called to Saul's court to dispel the king's evilmoods by playing on the harp. He is a young but tried warrior, and is at once appointed armor-bearer to the monarch. In ch. xvii. David is a lad who, up to the time when the story opens, tended his father's flock. He is not inured to war and kills Goliath with a stone from his shepherd's sling. This feat of valor attracts to him the attention of Saul, who has him trained subsequently for a warrior's career. Analysis with reference to both the content and the religious conception thereby disclosed, and also to stylistic and linguistic peculiarities, makes it apparent that the books of Samuel in their present form are a compilation from various written and oral sources, their last editor being post-Deuteronomic.

Oldest Literary Strata.

Undoubtedly, the oldest literary documents are David's elegies (on the death of Saul and Jonathan, II Sam. i. 18 et seq.; on Abner, a fragment, II Sam. iii. 33-34). Next in age are those portions which are assigned to the "Jerusalem" cycle of stories. This cycle takes its name from the fact that the scene of the happenings it purports to describe is always Jerusalem. It gives a history of David and his house, and is probably the work of a Judean writing shortly after Solomon (II Sam. v. 3-16, vi. 9-20). To the ninth century, and to a Judean, or perhaps a Benjamite, author, are credited the fragments of Saul's (I Sam. ix. 1-x. 16, xi., xiii., xiv.) and David's histories (I Sam. xvi. 14-23; xviii. 6-11, 20, 27; xx. 1-3, 11, 18-39; xxiii.-xxv.; xxvii.-xxxi.; II Sam. i.-iv.; v. 1, 2, 17-25; xxi. 15-22; xxiii. 8-39).

Story of the Ark.

The story of the Ark (I Sam. iv. 1-vii. 1) displays a character of its own; it interrupts the story of Samuel begun in the preceding chapters; the punishment of Eli and his sons, which, according to ch. iii., might be expected to be the central event, is treated as a mere incident, the whole of Israel being involved in the catastrophe. Moreover, the fate of the Ark does not emphasize the misfortune of Israel nearly as much as it does the triumph of Elohim, and the episode seems to have been written to bring the latter idea into bold relief. In this account the Ark is regarded as a tribal or national palladium, not as a mere case for the tablets of the Decalogue. This part exhibits the coloring of a situation in which a resident of the Northern Kingdom, before the cruder conceptions of the Deity had given way to higher ones, would most likely be interested. For this reason it has been held to be a fragment from a history of sanctuaries of northern origin.

The remaining portions of the book reflect the views of prophetism. The histories of Saul and Samuel are rewritten from a very rigid, prophetic point of view (I Sam. i.-iii.; viii.; x. 17-24; xv. [perhaps]; xvii. 1-xviii. 5 [for the most part], 12-19, 28-30; xix. [most]; xxi. 2-10; xxii.; xxvi.; II Sam. i. 6-10, 13-16). Ch. xv. seems to be planned to connect the older Saul story with this newer prophetic reconstruction. It presupposes the details of the former (xv. 1, 17 [Saul's anointment] refers to x. 1; the phraseology of xv. 19 recalls xiv. 32), but the prophetic reconstruction of this chapter appears not to have been known when the old Saul story was incorporated. Otherwise there would have been no occasion for the elaborate justification of Samuel's right to counsel and command Saul. Still, the point of view is similar to that of the prophetic reconstruction. Samuel is the king's superior. He is not the seer, but the prophet, of the type of Amos and Hosea. The story emphasizes the teaching that obedience is more precious than sacrifice (comp. Jer. vii. 21-26).

Supposed Time of Redaction.

These various components were probably gathered into one compilation shortly before the Exile. The redactor (Rd) traces of whose hand are found mainly in I Sam. ii. 27-36, vii. 2b-16, xii., and II Sam. vii., is held to have been under Deuteronomic influences, and thus to have been antecedent to the redactor whose views reflect those of the Priestly Code and through whose hands all of the historical books passed, though in Samuel there are few indications of his revisions, among them the glosses in I Sam. ii. 22b and the introduction of the Levites in I Sam. vi. 15 and II Sam. xv. 24. Additions in loose connection are noticeable that can not be classified; for instance, I Sam. xix. 18-24 and xx. They break the sequence of the narrative and introduce several contradictions. Ch. xix. 18-24 is an attempt to explain a proverbial idiom ("Saul among the prophets"), and, as such, is a double to I Sam. x. 11. According to ch. xv. 35, Samuel never saw Saul again, but here Saul appears before him. Ch. xx., an account David's flight, is similar to xix. 1-7. Among such additions, gleaned from popular traditions or merely literary embellishments, are reckoned I Sam. xxi. 11-16 and II Sam. ii. 13-16, viii., xxi.-xxiv. The song of Hannah (I Sam. ii. 1 et seq.), the psalm in II Sam. xxii., and David's "last words" (II Sam. xxiii. 1 et seq.) are very late. These additions may have been made at various periods, but they antedate the final redaction as a part of the second larger division of the canon.

Historically, the prophetic reconstruction is entitled to the least confidence. So strongly is the "Tendenz" impressed upon the narratives of this group that some recent critics have come to the conclusion that they do not represent an originally independent source, but are due to the literary activity of the Deuteronomic redactor. Being more naively primitive, the Saul and David histories reflect actual occurrences, colored, however, by the desire to exalt the national heroes. The Jerusalem cycle intends to glorify David's dynasty as the legitimate royal family of all Israel.

The Masoretic text is highly corrupt; that underlying the Septuagint version is more nearly correct. The literalism of the Greek has enabled scholars in many instances to reconstruct a text much nearer the original than is the extant Hebrew. Unfortunately, the Greek text of the Septuagint itself requires careful editing. In many passages the Septuagint shows interpolations based on the Masorah, so that it presents duplicate versions, while in others the original independent Greek has been replaced by the translated Hebrew of the Masoretic text. The various Septuagint codices are not of equal value for purposes of textual criticism. The "Codex Vaticanus B" is the most important for the books ofSamuel while the Alexandrinus, itself shows too many emendations of the Greek after the extant Hebrew to be of much aid.

Bibliography: Textual criticism:
  • Friedrich Böttcher, Neue Exegetisch-Kritische Aehrenlese zum A. T. 1863, vol. i.;
  • Julius Wellhausen, Der Text der Bücher Samuelis, 1871;
  • S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Book of Samuel, 1890;
  • R. Kittel, Textkritische Erläuterungen (appendix to E. Kautzsch, Die Heilige Schrift des Alten Testaments, 1896);
  • Karl Budde, in S. B. O. T.;
  • A. Mes, Die Bibel des Josephus, 1895;
  • H. Oort, Texti Hebraici Emendationes, 1900.
  • Commentaries: Otto Thenius, Die Bücher Samuels, 1898;
  • August Klostermann, Die Bücher Samuelis und der Könige, 1887;
  • H. P. Smith, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Samuel, 1899;
  • Karl Budde, Die Bücher Richter und Samuel, 1890;
  • idem, Die Bücher Samuel (in K. H. C.);
  • Bleek, Einleitung, 1878;
  • Guthe, Kurzes Bibelwörterbuch, 1903.
E. G. H.