Shmuel Alef

Introduction to Sefer Shmuel 

By Netanel Rosen

Sefer Shmuel begins with the penultimate of the Shoftim, Eli. It is the turning point from Shoftim (Judges) to Melachim (Kings) in terms of the system of leadership for Bnei Yisrael. The last two of our great leaders who were considered as Shoftim are Eli who was the Cohen Gadol at the begining of Sefer Shmuel.

The Book begins with the famous story of Chana who is married to Elkonoh and is barren, whilst Peninah, Elkonoh’s other wife has many children. The Mishkan at this time dwells in Shiloh. Eventually Chana gives birth to Shmuel and takes him to the Mishkan to serve Hashem all his days.

Shmuel led the people with great righteousness and showed tremendous humility for example he travelled himself to judge and help the people rather than wait for them to come to him. The Bnei Yisroel followed in the ways of the Torah during Shmuel’s lifetime.

This Sefer was written by Shmuel, Gad and Nosson and describes an action packed and enthralling period of about 100 years of Jewish history. It is extremely rare for a Sefer in Nach to be named after its author, particularly as Shmuel was the author of Shoftim as well. Nevertheless, it is called Sefer Shmuel as Shmuel anointed both Shaul and Dovid and guided them throughout their reign. He oversaw the transition from Shoftim to Melachim and therefore the actions of the Melachim are attributed to their mentor Shmuel.

The story of what happens throughout the whole book will not be given away here in all its details. It includes many wars between the Jews and the Pilishtim, the crowning of the first king of Bnei Yisrael and many of the incredible feats of the future king Dovid. Dovid is not merely the first King, he is the beginning of a line of Kings which will continue throughout history culminating with Moshiach.