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Updated: Jun 5, 2020

INTRODUCTION. After the death of Joshua, the children of Israel did not have a

national leader. The twelve tribes, although related through their common ancestors

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were not united, but were rather an unorganized and

loose confederation. The judges raised by God to deliver the people from their

enemies were generally tribal leaders, not national rulers. The judges ruled over a

period of some 200-400 years, and the book of Judges names twelve. Some lists of

the judges also include the usurper Abimelech, known as the “Bramble King,” who

reigned for three years at Shechem (Judg. 9). The book of I Samuel opens by introducing

Eli who was a priest and served for forty years as a judge. The last and by

far the most outstanding judge was Samuel who also served as priest and prophet.

One time while Elkanah, a Levite, and his wife Hannah, who was childless, were

worshipping at the tabernacle in Shiloh, Hannah prayed earnestly for a son. She

vowed that if the Lord granted her request, she would give the child to the Lord. In

due time Hannah gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel. When the child was

weaned, Hannah kept her vow and took Samuel to Shiloh, leaving him there with the

priests to minister in the service of the Lord (I Sam. 1; 2:1-11).

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