The Philistines had all their soldiers and chariots, “numerous as the sands of the seashore”, and the Israelites were running scared and running out of places to hide. Somehow Saul managed to muster up his troops who were still quaking in fear. He patiently waited seven days for Samuel to arrive and perform his priestly obligations, but after waiting for so long in fear, he finally gave up on waiting for Samuel and performed the offertory ceremony himself. I’ve often asked myself, why was Samuel late and why does Saul after having waited for seven days couldn’t wait a few more hours for Samuel to arrive?
In his farewell speech Samuel recounted all the good that God had done for His people and how they had always reciprocated His grace on them with betrayal at every corner. He warned them not to test the anger of the Lord and reminded them of all the destruction that came upon them when they walked away from God and held on to their precious idols.
Israel’s desire to be like other nations led them to reject God and have a mortal human ascend the throne. Samuel was handed the task of finding Israel a new king, one that would lead them to battles. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin was one of the smallest with a history of seditious revolt against the other eleven tribes. However, God’s ways are unfathomable to us, as no one would have expected the first king of Israel to come from the tribe of Benjamin.
The Israelites put away all their gods and gave their loyalty to Yahweh, but a plot to overthrow their eternal king was soon to enter their minds.
The Israelites mourned that the Ark had departed from them but the Glory had long been departed from their midst.
Eli was a Levite from the priestly clan of Israel and was used by God to lead Israel for forty years. But along the way something happened in his life that He had started taking the Lord for granted and not payed heed to His warnings.
For all the accounts of great wars and conquests recorded in the book of Samuel, it still starts with the story of humble beginnings from a lowly town in the hill country of Ephraim.