This week the Bishop’s Year of the Bible began reading the two Books of Samuel. In total, both books contained 55 chapters. The Year of the Bible will now work its way through each chapter day-by-day. As Bishop Boyea explains in the video below, these books relate the two key roles in Israelite life: prophecy and kingship. They manifest a God who never gives up on his people though they continue to wander. We hope you can join Bishop Boyea in a daily reading from Sacred Scripture. Here’s his full explanation of how to understand the Books of Samuel:
Hello, I am Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing. For nearly the next two months (August 29th to October 22nd) we will be reading the fifty-five chapters of the two Books of Samuel. These contain the stories of Samuel, Saul, and David, which seems to be set around the year 1000 BC, though most of the text that we will be reading was probably finally written about 550 BC, during the time of the exile in Babylon.
These books relate the two key roles in Israelite life: prophecy and kingship. These are not separated roles. The prophets and the kings are to do God’s will. The prophets are to proclaim what that will is, to announce the word of God, and the kings are to live and promote that will as a model for the people and as an expression of the people’s adherence to God. This partnership with God is the living out of the covenant God made with his people.
You will notice as you read these chapters that a lack of prophetic speaking meant the victory of the Philistines and the loss of the Ark of the Covenant; only with Samuel and his cry to end idolatry is victory restored. However, the people are not satisfied with their own lives being reformed. They want to be like the nations round about. They want a king and God allows Saul to rule. He, like David who follows him, has good points and flaws. Most of these two books will address those qualities.
Now, it is not just the moral failings of the people but also the flaws of the kings which will lead to disasters. Still, we are easily caught up in the very human story of David who reminds us of ourselves. God loves us and wants the best for us, but we continue to sin. But God does not leave us alone. He is with us on the entire journey of our lives.
Sisters and brothers, enjoy these two books of Samuel. They manifest a God who never gives up on his people though they continue to wander. This remains our constant hope.