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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

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A well-known and eminent prophet of the Lord. His name is derived from Shael, a loan, or gift; hence Shem and Urel of God. It would form a separate history to enter into all the interesting particulars which relate to the life and ministry of Samuel. I must beg the reader to gather it for himself out of the Bible, under those writings which bear his name. But the call of Samuel when a child to the knowledge of the Lord is so truly interesting, and forms a point of decline so intimately connected with the gospel of Christ, that I cannot wholly pass it by without begging the reader's permission to offer a short observation upon it.

The Bible account of this event is given in the most beautiful simplicity of representation, 1 Samuel 3:1 etc. "And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep, that the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, Here am I"

There are a great number of very interesting things in this relation that I must not stay to dwell upon. The preciousness of the Lord's words, in this period of the church, when open visions were for a time suspended; the special grace shewn to Samuel in a season of general depravity, and when even the sons of Eli, who were priests of the Lord, were given up to a state of daring impiety end uncleanness; the childhood of Samuel, so particularly noted in the history, as if to encourage the youthful part of the Lord's people to be found waiting on the Lord in ordinances; all these, and more to the same purport, which this relation of the call of Samuel brings forward, would furnish much observation for improvement. But I must passover the consideration of these things, however interesting, to notice with more special marks of attention the call of Samuel, and the manner of it. Nothing can be more evident, from the history of this transaction, than that at the time when Samuel lay down to sleep, he was perfectly unconscious of all divine revelations, and totally ignorant of their meaning. Indeed, ye are told, in the seventh verse that, "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord revealed unto him." So that in Samuel's instance, as in every other, of the real conversion of the heart to God, the gracious act begins on the part of God. If we love him, it is because he first loved us, It was the Lord first called Samuel, yea, repeated that call, or Samuel never world have called upon the Lord. This is what the Scriptures call preventing grace; hence David, in a degree of holy rapture, cries out, The God of my mercy shall prevent me; that is, shall be before hand with me in all my need. (Psalms 59:10)

The next beautiful representation this call of Samuel furnisheth, is the secret, silent, and personal nature of it. Eli heard it not, though the priest of God; it was Samuel only and this by name. Had thousands been present like Eli, it was a voice they would not have heard, and in which they had no concern. It was directed to Samuel, and to him in secret, and what the Lord said related to him personally. Such are the marks of distinguishing grace in all ages of the church. Jesus saith, "My sheep hear my voice, and be calleth them all by name, and leadeth them forth. Who can mark the properties of distinguishing grace in their own case and circumstances without having the heart melted into the fullest sense of affection?"Lord "Lord how is it (said the astonished disciple) that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world." (John 14:1-31)

One thought more on the call of Samuel. The mercy that was thus preventing, unexpected, unlooked for, and secret, silent, and personal, became also powerful, effectual, and sure, to all the gracious purposes. He that called the child called not in vain. A marvellous light shined with the voice in the heart, and a commanding power accompanied it within. Samuel never lost sight of it, I venture to believe, through all the after-stages of his life. Both the time and place, the manner and effect, no doubt became like Bethel to Jacob, so that he could say with the patriarch, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:11; Gen 28:17) I cannot prevail upon myself to dismiss our view of Samuel before that I have first requested the reader to remark with me some features in the portrait of this great prophet, which bear resemblance, however faint, to the person and offices of the Lord God of the prophets, Jesus Christ. Samuel, we are told, was so called to shew that he was asked of God. And how earnestly was the Lord Jesus asked by the Old Testament saints before his coming! How blessedly did JEHOVAH, in the opening of Samuel's life, point to the Lord Jesus as the faithful Priest he would raise up, who should do according to all that was in his heart! (1 Samuel 2:35) And what a delightful view doth the prophet Samuel exhibit, as typical of the Lord Christ, under the several offices he sustained, not only as prophet, as Priest and as Judge in Israel!

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Samuel'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​pmd/​s/samuel.html. London. 1828.
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