Outline of 1 Samuel and Outline of 2 Samuel

God’s Word is His letter to us. May your understanding be deepened as you study. We hope this overview and outline of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are helpful to you.

The books of 1 & 2 Samuel originally were one book in the Hebrew Scriptures and were not divided. The translators of the Septuagint (the Greek text used at the time of Christ) combined “The Book of Samuel” with the Kings and then divided them into four sections.

The two books of Samuel provide for us an important glimpse into the transition from the Theocracy to the Monarchy. The transition was prompted, not out of God’s desire, but out of Israel’s rejection of God (1 Samuel 8:7; 10:19; 12:17-19; but see Deuteronomy 17:14-15; 28:36). It tells us a fascinating side to God’s relationship with His people–sometimes God will grant the request of people even when it is not God’s desire (see also Psalm 106:15; Numbers 14:2 & 26-37; 22:20). Yet, we are to ask persistently (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8). Resolution is found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; we ask, but don’t tempt, until we are told “no.”

The books also give us the accounts of three key persons: Samuel, Saul, and David. Samuel was the last of the judges but he ultimately was rejected by the people; Saul was the first of the kings but he ultimately was rejected by God because of his disobedience (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 15:11, 22-23, 26-29); David, having the right heart and being accepted by God and the people (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 9:4; 11:4, 6, 33, 38; 14:8; 15:3, 5, 11; 2 Kings 14:3; 16:2; 18:3; 22:2), took Saul’s place. God made an everlasting covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Psalm 89:3-4). The names are significant: Samuel means “His name is God” and it fittingly describes the direct relationship of God over His kingdom in the theocracy; Saul means “asked” and he came as result of Israel’s asking; David means “beloved” and he was beloved of God. The Hebrew word from which David’s name comes is used repeatedly in the Song of Songs to describe love.

Date: 1120 to 970 B.C. (There is an overlap with the end of the Judges)

Divisions: The books of Samuel are divided as follows:


The Book of 1 Samuel

I. Samuel 1-7

  1. His Birth 1
  2. His Dedication 2
  3. His Calling 3
  4. His Ascendancy 4-7

II. Saul 8-15

  1. The Call for a King 8
  2. The Establishment of a King 9-12
  3. The Failures of a King 13-15
    1. A Soiled Sacrifice 13
    2. A Stupid Vow 14
    3. A Sorry Victory 15

III. David’s Ascendancy 16-31

  1. His Anointing 16
  2. His Acclaim 17-18
  3. His Humiliation 18-26
  4. His Vengeance 27-31

The Book of 2 Samuel

I. Consolidating the Kingdom 1-5

II. Achieving Greatness 6-10

  1. The Ark 6
  2. The Covenant 7
  3. The Conquests 8
  4. The Kindness 9
  5. The Triumph 10

III. Tasting Sin’s Bitterness 11-21

  1. The Sin 11
  2. The Exposure 12
  3. The Beginning Costs 13
  4. Absalom 14-19
  5. Sheba’s Rebellion 20
  6. The Gibeonites 21

IV. Closing Comments 22-24

  1. Praise 22
  2. The Mighty Men 23
  3. Census 24

Key Thought:
Destructive Choices (1 Samuel 2:27-31; 5:4, 6, 9, 11-12; 6:18-19; 8:5; 13:9-13; 14:24; 15:9; 25:32-34; 2 Samuel 6:6; 11:4, 15; 13:14, 28-29; 14:24; 16:7; 21:1; 24:10)

Key Passage:
1 Samuel 2:25; see also 12:23; 15:22-23; 16:7; 2 Samuel 14:14

Key Lesson: Sin’s Consequence is Misery

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