Who wrote the books of the Bible and when?

      1 Samuel, covering the life of Samuel the prophet (1105-1083 B.C.), was written around the tenth century B.C. Although the author is unknown, it is believed to have possibly been the work of Samuel himself. During the rule of Samuel as the last judge, Israel wanted a king, so God chose Saul (1050 B.C.). Saul eventually lost favor with the Lord and David emerged to take his place. Both 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are works of the earlier, or major, prophets (including Isaiah and Ezekiel) and were one book in the Hebrew Bible, though separated for easier reading. In the Septuagint, they are grouped with 1 Kings and 2 Kings and called The Books of the Kingdoms. They may have also been combined with the records of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer, as recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:29-30, which would explain the death of Samuel mentioned in 1 Samuel 25:1.

      The first Book of Samuel includes accounts of the following events:

  • Birth and dedication of Samuel by Hannah to the Lord
  • Eli's wicked sons
  • The calling of Samuel by God
  • Philistine army captures the Ark of the Covenant
  • Return of the Ark to Israel
  • Samuel's deliverance of Israel from the Philistines
  • The Israelites insist on a king and Saul is divinely appointed
  • Saul's son Jonathan helps defeat the Philistines while Saul loses favor with God
  • The Lord rejects Saul and Samuel anoints David
  • David slays Goliath
  • Saul makes several attempts to kill David out of jealousy
  • Jonathan and David make an oath
  • David becomes a mighty warrior for Israel
  • Death of Samuel
  • Saul hunts down David in the desert and David twice spares his life
  • Saul consults a medium to bring Samuel back from the dead for military advice and Samuel predicts his death
  • David destroys the Amalekites
  • Saul takes his own life

        David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will kmow that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

      2 Samuel, covering the rest of the life of King David, was written around the tenth century (930) B.C. Although the author is unknown, some have suggested it may have been Zabud son of Nathan, a priest and advisor of King Solomon (1 Kings 4:5). Contributing authors may have also included Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29-30). Both 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are part of the Earlier Prophets and were one book in the Hebrew Bible, though separated for easier reading.

      The second Book of Samuel includes accounts of the following events:

  • Lamentation of David over the death of Saul and Jonathan
  • David anointed king of Judah
  • War between the house of Saul and the house of David
  • David made king of Israel
  • David regains Jarusalem and defeats the Philistines
  • The Ark of the Covenant brought back to Jerusalem
  • Nathan the prophet declares that David's offspring will build a temple for the Lord
  • David shows kindness to Mephibosheth, Saul's remaining family
  • David defeats the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and several other rivals to Israel
  • David commits adultery with Bathsheba and has her husband Uriah killed in battle
  • Nathan rebukes David
  • David's son by Bathsheba dies
  • David's son Amnon rapes his sister Tamar
  • David's son Absalom has Amnon killed, then conspires to take the throne of David
  • David flees and Israel goes to war against him
  • David's men defeat Israel and kill Absalom
  • David mourns Absalom's death and returns to Jerusalem to be met with retaliation under the leadership of Sheba son of Bicri
  • Joab leads a seige against the city of Abel Beth Maacah for harboring Sheba, so a wise woman rallies the people to hand his head over to Joab
  • David hands over Saul's remaining family members to be killed by the Gibeonites to avenge Saul's former attempts to annihilate them, after which a three year famine is ended by the Lord
  • David sins against the Lord by taking a census of the fighting men and a plague wipes out 70,000 Israelites in three days
  • Gad the prophet tells David to build an altar to the Lord to end the plague

        "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonmites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own." (2 Samuel 12:7-10)

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