Shemuyah means the name of Yah or His name is Yah in Hebrew. In English it is called the Book of Samuel. First Shemuyah is the first half of a single book that was divided into two parts. One and two Shemuyah because together they were too long to fit one scroll. The books are named for one of the main characters who was a prophet and also the last judge to the people of Ysrayl. Shemuyah was from the tribe of Ephraim.The book of first Shemuyah describes the transition of leadership in Ysrayl from judges to kings. Three characters are prominent in the book: Shemuyah the last to be called judge and the first prophet to have a book named after himself (besides Yahoshua Ben Nun and after a long succession of judges), David the king elect, anointed but not yet recognized as Shaul’s successor and Shaul king of Ysrayl is the third main character.
The first part of 1 Shemuyah (chapters 1-7) tells about the life of Shemuyah and how he helped Ysrayl’s army fight against enemies that were making raids in Ysrayl. But when he grew old, the people decided that they would demand a king from Yah who could lead the army. The children of Ysrayl wanted a king like the nations.
In the second part of this book (chapters 8-15), Yah told Shemuyah to appoint Shaul Ben of Kish to be the first king of Ysrayl. Shaul and his oldest son Yahanathan won several battles against the Ammonites and Philistines but Shaul did not completely obey Yah. Shaul, Shaal or Shau-yl is thought to mean ‘asked of Yah’ in Hebrew because the Children of Ysrayl asked for a king.
In the third part of the book (chapters 15-31), Yah told Shemuyah to secretly appoint a young man named David to be the next king. The book tells how David soon became a national hero after he killed the giant Philistine warrior, Goliath from Gath. But as David continued to become more popular, Shaul became suspicious, envious and jealous of David. Shaul tried to have him murdered even though David was married to Shaul’s daughter Michal and was best friends with Shaul’s son Yahanathan. The rest of 1 Shemuyah tells how David escaped and became the leader of his own small army in the desert. Shaul continued to hunt for David and so David finally had to lead his followers to Philistia to be safe from Shaul.
The book concludes with the death of Shaul and his sons in a battle with the Philistine army. Yah was keeping His promise to make David the king of Ysrayl. Yah said to Shemuyah:
“I’ve rejected Shaul and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him. Fill your horn with oil (anointing oil) and go visit a man named Yesse who lives in Bethlehem. I’ve chosen one of his sons to be My king. (Shemuyah 16:1)
Chapter 1: The Family of Ylkanah: Hannah Taunted by the Other Wife
1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim and his name was Ylkanah the Ben of Yeroham, the Ben of Ylihu (spelled Yliyah in 1 Chronicles 6:34), the Ben of Tohu (spelled Toah in 1 Chronicles 6;34), the Ben of Zuph, an Ephramite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah had no children. 3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to Yah of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Yli, Hopni and Phinehas, the priests of Yah were there. 4 And whenever the time came for Ylkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although Yah had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoke her severely, to make her miserable because Yah had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of Yah, that she provoked her. Therefore she wept and did not eat.
Hannah’s Vow: Hannah Asks Yah For a Male Child: Remember Me O Yah
8 Then Ylkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons”? 9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Yli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle (Hebrew heykal, place or temple) of Yah. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul and prayed to Yah and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, O Yah of Hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me and not forget Your maidservant but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to Yah all the days of his life and no razor shall come upon his head”.
After Praying to Yah Hannah is No Longer Sad
12 And it happened, as she continued praying before Yah, that Yli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart, only her lips moved but her voice was not heard. Therefore, Yli thought she was drunk. 14 So Yli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you”! 15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my master, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink but have poured out my soul before Yah. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman (Literally daughter of Belial, satan) for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now”. 17 Then Yli answered and said, “Go in peace and Yah of Ysrayl grant your petition which you have asked of Him”. 18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight”. So the woman went her way and ate and her face was no longer sad.
Yah Remembers Hannah: Shemuyah is Born and Dedicated to Yah
19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before Yah and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Ylkanah knew Hannah his wife and Yah remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son and called his name Shemuyah saying, “Because I have asked for him from Yah”. 21 Now the man Ylkanah and all his house went up to offer to Yah the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned. Then I will take him, that he may appear before Yah and remain there forever”. 23 So Ylkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him. Only let Yah establish His word”. Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
Hannah Takes Shemuyah to the House of Yah
24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour and a skin of wine and brought him to the House of Yah in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull and brought the child to Yli. 26 And she said, “O my master! As your soul lives, my master, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to Yah. 27 For this child I prayed and Yah has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to Yah as long as he lives he shall be lent to Yah”. So they worshiped Yah there.
Chapter 2: Hannah’s Prayer
1 And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in Yah. My horn (that is, strength) is exalted in Yah. I smile at my enemies because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2 No one is qodesh like Yah, for there is none besides You nor is there any Rock like our Almighty. 3 Talk no more so very proudly. Let no arrogance come from your mouth, for Yah is the Almighty of knowledge and by Him actions are weighed. 4 The bows of the mighty men are broken and those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread. And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has born seven and she who has many children has become feeble. 6 Yah kills and makes alive. He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 Yah makes poor and makes rich. He brings low and lifts up. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of esteem. For the pillars of the earth are Yah’s and He has set the world upon them. 9 He will guard the feet of His saints but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. 10 The adversaries of Yah shall be broken in pieces. From heaven He will thunder against them. Yah will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His anointed (prophesy of Yahoshua).
Shemuyah Stays with Yli the Priest
11 Then Ylkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to Yah before Yli the priest.
The Wicked Sons of Yli
12 Now the sons of Yli were corrupt (Literally sons of Belial, ha shatan, satan). They did not know Yah. 13 And the priest’s custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged flesh hook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot and the priest would take for himself all that the flesh hook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israylites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw”. 16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first. Then you may take as much as your heart desires”. He would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now and if not, I will take it by force”. 17 Therefore, the sin of the young men was very great before Yah, for men abhorred the offering of Yah.
Shemuyah’s Childhood Ministry: Hannah Visited Shemuyah: Hannah Had More Children
18 But Shemuyah ministered before Yah, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 19 Moreover, his mother used to make him a little robe and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Yli would bless Ylkanah and his wife and say, “Yah give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to Yah”. Then they would go to their own home. 21 And Yah visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the child Shemuyah grew before Yah.
Yli Warns His Sons But Takes No Action
22 Now Yli was very old and he heard everything his sons did to all Ysrayl and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make Yah’s people transgress. 25 If one man sins against another, Yah will judge him. But if a man sins against Yah, who will intercede for him”? Nevertheless, they did not heed the voice of their father because Yah desired to kill them. 26 And the child Shemuyah grew in stature and in favor both with Yah and men.
Prophesy Against Yli’s Household: Yah Puts a Curse on Yli’s Household
27 Then a man of Yah came to Yli and said to him, “Thus says Yah: Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Ysrayl to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Ysrayl made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Ysrayl My people”? 30 Therefore, Yah Almighty of Ysrayl says: “I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever. But now Yah says: Far be it from Me, for those who honor Me I will honor and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which Yah does for Ysrayl. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. (See 1 Kings 2:27). 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hopni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful (trustworthy) priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread”.
*Compare to 1 Timothy 3:5: If a man can not control his own household, how can he run the House of Yah?
*Hannah’s name in Hebrew is Channah or ChannahYah.