Index: 1 Samuel

1 Samuel is a historical narrative that likely originated with separate oral units of history that were combined into a written volume.

1 Samuel 2:8
Does this verse teach a supported earth?
1 Samuel 2:35
I will raise up a faithful priest (Samuel) who shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in mind; and I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before mine anointed forever. One Skeptic says, "Although Samuel was the faithful priest that was set up to replace Eli, he had no sure house built up, and his sons were almost as bad as Eli’s....Moreover, neither Samuel nor his descendants walked before God’s anointed forever, unless "forever" means a very short time."

Actually "for ever" here is kol yowm, the latter being the word for "day," so that "every day" is a better understanding. As for the "house" the term has a broad application that refers as well to the religious cultus (the house of the Lord).

1 Samuel 5:9-6:12
"Isn't this story actually sort of ridiculous?"
1 Samuel 9:1
Who was Kish's dad, Abiel or Ner (1 Chr. 8:33, 9:39)? 1 Chronicles is likely recording a genealogy with gaps, typical for the period; see here for more details.
1 Samuel 10:2
Where is Rachel's tomb -- on the road to Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19) or at Zelzah (1 Sam. 10:2)? There's a couple of things to be said here. First, it is open to question whether "Zelzah" is even a place name. The LXX renders the word as an adverb, "in great haste". There is also no other known geographic reference to this place. Indeed, one wonders if it is one, whether it could not be the very place described in Gen. 35:19. But even if it is not, there is another answer: This would likely be a case of a purposeful reburial done to move Rachel's body to a more honorable location.
1 Samuel 15:8
If the Amalekites were "utterly destroyed," why do they show up again later in 1 Samuel? This foundational article deals with the general issue of exclusive and hyperbolic language in the Bible and offers an answer to the issue of this verse.
1 Samuel 15:11
Does God change his mind?
1 Samuel 16-18
Do inconsistencies in this section validate the JEDP theory? -- includes comments on the question, "Didn't Saul recognize David?"
1 Samuel 16:1-2
The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me." The LORD said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' "

One Skeptic alleges that God is here telling Samuel to lie, but one hardly sees how this is so. Samuel seeks a way to show the people that he has distanced himself from purely political involvements; God pointed out a way to reflect the true nature of his mission and the apolitical (or better, above-political) nature of Samuel's visit, and show that it was a venture of God's inclination, not a means of Samuel sticking his nose into base politics. In other words, the sacrifice was a symbol of the true intent of the visit.

1 Samuel 17-18
Is this a messed up story, or what?
1 Samuel 17:54
David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, and he put the Philistine's weapons in his own tent. How could David have brought the head to Jerusalem when he had not conquered it yet, as he did in 2 Sam. 5:6-7? In the political background of the ANE, cities changed hands quite often during military conflicts, and it is not inconceivable that the Israelites possessed Jerusalem, then lost it, then got it back -- many times over. This may also refer to a portion of the city that the Israelites shared with the Jebusites.

Beyond this, it might be noted that even if Israel did not control Jerusalem at this time, the Jebusites would surely be aware of, and following, Israel’s conflict with the Philistines, knowing full well that who won that conflict would closely affect their own future. David’s purpose in bringing the head to Jerusalem would then have been to frighten the Jebusites, who likely shared the confidence (or at least the hope) that the Philistine champion would end the Israeli threat to the city.

1 Samuel 18:1
Were David and Jonathan gay lovers? Approaches the issue from John 21:20, but still useful in this context.
1 Samuel 22:20
Was Abiathar Ahimelech's son or father? Actually an Abiathar was likely to be both a father and son of Ahimelech. The ancients often repeated names in this fashion, just as we often name children after fathers ("Joe, Jr.") or after grandfathers.
1 Samuel 23:12
Did God lie to David?
1 Samuel 25
Was Nabal treated unfairly by David, and by God?
1 Samuel 27:1
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. Was this a "false prediction" by David, since he died naturally? There is no prophecy here at all. 1 Sam. 27:1 only says "David said in his heart." Even though David was indeed a man after God’s own heart, he was nonetheless as human as any of us, and prone to the same fears that we all are from time to time - he wasn't speaking as a propet here.

1 Samuel 27:2
How can there have been a "king" of Gath? The Philistines didn't have kings. This foundational article deals with the general issue of anachronisms in the Bible and offers an answer to the issue of this verse.
1 Samuel 28:6
Is this contradictory about Saul's death?
1 Samuel 31:4-6
Who killed Saul?