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From: DICT.TW English-Chinese Dictionary 英漢字典

 Sam·u·el /ˈsæmjəwəl, jəl/

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

      n : (Old Testament) Hebrew prophet and judge who anointed Saul
          as king

From: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

    heard of God. The peculiar circumstances connected with his
    birth are recorded in 1 Sam. 1:20. Hannah, one of the two wives
    of Elkanah, who came up to Shiloh to worship before the Lord,
    earnestly prayed to God that she might become the mother of a
    son. Her prayer was graciously granted; and after the child was
    weaned she brought him to Shiloh nd consecrated him to the Lord
    as a perpetual Nazarite (1:23-2:11). Here his bodily wants and
    training were attended to by the women who served in the
    tabernacle, while Eli cared for his religious culture. Thus,
    probably, twelve years of his life passed away. "The child
    Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also
    with men" (2:26; comp. Luke 2:52). It was a time of great and
    growing degeneracy in Israel (Judg. 21:19-21; 1 Sam. 2:12-17,
    22). The Philistines, who of late had greatly increased in
    number and in power, were practically masters of the country,
    and kept the people in subjection (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3).
      At this time new communications from God began to be made to
    the pious child. A mysterious voice came to him in the night
    season, calling him by name, and, instructed by Eli, he
    answered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." The message
    that came from the Lord was one of woe and ruin to Eli and his
    profligate sons. Samuel told it all to Eli, whose only answer to
    the terrible denunciations (1 Sam. 3:11-18) was, "It is the
    Lord; let him do what seemeth him good", the passive submission
    of a weak character, not, in his case, the expression of the
    highest trust and faith. The Lord revealed himself now in divers
    manners to Samuel, and his fame and his influence increased
    throughout the land as of one divinely called to the prophetical
    office. A new period in the history of the kingdom of God now
      The Philistine yoke was heavy, and the people, groaning under
    the wide-spread oppression, suddenly rose in revolt, and "went
    out against the Philistines to battle." A fierce and disastrous
    battle was fought at Aphek, near to Ebenezer (1 Sam. 4:1, 2).
    The Israelites were defeated, leaving 4,000 dead "in the field."
    The chiefs of the people thought to repair this great disaster
    by carrying with them the ark of the covenant as the symbol of
    Jehovah's presence. They accordingly, without consulting Samuel,
    fetched it out of Shiloh to the camp near Aphek. At the sight of
    the ark among them the people "shouted with a great shout, so
    that the earth rang again." A second battle was fought, and
    again the Philistines defeated the Israelites, stormed their
    camp, slew 30,000 men, and took the sacred ark. The tidings of
    this fatal battle was speedily conveyed to Shiloh; and so soon
    as the aged Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell
    backward from his seat at the entrance of the sanctuary, and his
    neck brake, and he died. The tabernacle with its furniture was
    probably, by the advice of Samuel, now about twenty years of
    age, removed from Shiloh to some place of safety, and finally to
    Nob, where it remained many years (21:1).
      The Philistines followed up their advantage, and marched upon
    Shiloh, which they plundered and destroyed (comp. Jer. 7:12; Ps.
    78:59). This was a great epoch in the history of Israel. For
    twenty years after this fatal battle at Aphek the whole land lay
    under the oppression of the Philistines. During all these dreary
    years Samuel was a spiritual power in the land. From Ramah, his
    native place, where he resided, his influence went forth on
    every side among the people. With unwearied zeal he went up and
    down from place to place, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the
    people, endeavouring to awaken in them a sense of their
    sinfulness, and to lead them to repentance. His labours were so
    far successful that "all the house of Israel lamented after the
    Lord." Samuel summoned the people to Mizpeh, one of the loftiest
    hills in Central Palestine, where they fasted and prayed, and
    prepared themselves there, under his direction, for a great war
    against the Philistines, who now marched their whole force
    toward Mizpeh, in order to crush the Israelites once for all. At
    the intercession of Samuel God interposed in behalf of Israel.
    Samuel himself was their leader, the only occasion in which he
    acted as a leader in war. The Philistines were utterly routed.
    They fled in terror before the army of Israel, and a great
    slaughter ensued. This battle, fought probably about B.C. 1095,
    put an end to the forty years of Philistine oppression. In
    memory of this great deliverance, and in token of gratitude for
    the help vouchsafed, Samuel set up a great stone in the
    battlefield, and called it "Ebenezer," saying, "Hitherto hath
    the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:1-12). This was the spot where,
    twenty years before, the Israelites had suffered a great defeat,
    when the ark of God was taken.
      This victory over the Philistines was followed by a long
    period of peace for Israel (1 Sam. 7:13, 14), during which
    Samuel exercised the functions of judge, going "from year to
    year in circuit" from his home in Ramah to Bethel, thence to
    Gilgal (not that in the Jordan valley, but that which lay to the
    west of Ebal and Gerizim), and returning by Mizpeh to Ramah. He
    established regular services at Shiloh, where he built an altar;
    and at Ramah he gathered a company of young men around him and
    established a school of the prophets. The schools of the
    prophets, thus originated, and afterwards established also at
    Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho, exercised an important
    influence on the national character and history of the people in
    maintaining pure religion in the midst of growing corruption.
    They continued to the end of the Jewish commonwealth.
      Many years now passed, during which Samuel exercised the
    functions of his judicial office, being the friend and
    counsellor of the people in all matters of private and public
    interest. He was a great statesman as well as a reformer, and
    all regarded him with veneration as the "seer," the prophet of
    the Lord. At the close of this period, when he was now an old
    man, the elders of Israel came to him at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4, 5,
    19-22); and feeling how great was the danger to which the nation
    was exposed from the misconduct of Samuel's sons, whom he had
    invested with judicial functions as his assistants, and had
    placed at Beersheba on the Philistine border, and also from a
    threatened invasion of the Ammonites, they demanded that a king
    should be set over them. This request was very displeasing to
    Samuel. He remonstrated with them, and warned them of the
    consequences of such a step. At length, however, referring the
    matter to God, he acceded to their desires, and anointed Saul
    (q.v.) to be their king (11:15). Before retiring from public
    life he convened an assembly of the people at Gilgal (ch. 12),
    and there solemnly addressed them with reference to his own
    relation to them as judge and prophet.
      The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Ramah,
    only occasionally and in special circumstances appearing again
    in public (1 Sam. 13, 15) with communications from God to king
    Saul. While mourning over the many evils which now fell upon the
    nation, he is suddenly summoned (ch.16) to go to Bethlehem and
    anoint David, the son of Jesse, as king over Israel instead of
    Saul. After this little is known of him till the time of his
    death, which took place at Ramah when he was probably about
    eighty years of age. "And all Israel gathered themselves
    together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at
    Ramah" (25:1), not in the house itself, but in the court or
    garden of his house. (Comp. 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chr. 33:20; 1 Kings
    2:34; John 19:41.)
      Samuel's devotion to God, and the special favour with which
    God regarded him, are referred to in Jer. 15:1 and Ps. 99:6.

From: Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary (late 1800's)

 Samuel, heard of God; asked of God