Hey Cam,

Hope this finds you well and abundantly blessed. So I have spent a lot of time studying 1 and 2 Samuel as one book.  I read 1 Samuel forwards and backwards, did the same with 2 Samuel, and then read them together both forwards and backwards. It was a very eye-opening experience.  I would encourage you to start reading books that you’re studying backwards. J ust start at the end, and paragraph by paragraph make it to the beginning.  It will be revolutionary for you.  It hinders you from reading preconceived ideas into the text.  You’ll love it!!  Well I am convinced that 1 Samuel 1-7 is ONE segment. It’s about a fathers relationship with his children. 

  1. Elkanah was an absent father in Samuel’s life. He pawned Samuel off to Eli the priest.
  2. Eli was a better father to Samuel then to his own children Hophni and Phineas.
  3. Samuel was a terrible parent mirroring what Eli was.
  4. You look ahead in the book, You will find that David was a terrible father, Although he was a good leader. I guess from a practical standpoint Eli was a good priest. Samuel is a good priest as we see all the people knew they could rely on him. The problem was his children didn’t know that they could rely on him. 
  5. As bad of a leader as Saul was, he was a great father AND a faithful husband to one woman. Look at his kids and you’ll see the evidence of his parenting skills. Saul came from a long line of valiant men. When you begin to look into the Saul material do You find that Saul’s father was very present as a parent, and cared more about his son than his business and occupation. 

Chapters 1 – 7 create a parenthetical inclusion called INTERCOLATION where 1 to 3 and 7 sandwich in 4-6. The effect of this literary law is that what’s in the middle illumines what’s sandwiching it in and what is sandwiching in the middle illumines what is in the middle.  This means that what God is doing with the Ark, the Philistines, and His own children isnt disconnected from the Elkanah, Eli, & Samuel material. 

When we look at chapters 1 – 7, we find that God, in contrast, is a very present father to his children. God’s presence(the Ark) doesn’t hold those that are not His children to a different standard than He holds His own children.  He clearly establishes boundaries with everyone, and is consistent with them.  Unlike the other parents in chapters 1-7, God isnt more present in the lives of other people’s kids than with His own. Incidentally, the way He treats his own children in comparison with the way that he treats those that are not his children(The Philistines) shows us that God will not be an absent father. In the Bible and in life, We tend to see people forsaking their own Family in order to invest wholeheartedly in the ministry. Which really they are more interested in other people’s kids than their own. Maybe this is why so often pastors kids end up living lives that are going down the toilet, I dont know. I guess the point is, that you and I need to decide what kind of ministers we are willing to settle to be in order to be the fathers that we absolutely must be.

Blessings, Leep