Liturgical Bible Study Guide: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B


The two books under Samuel’s name in the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, correspond to one book in the Hebrew Bible where it is located among the “later prophets.” The Vulgate, following the Greek, puts 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st and 2nd Kings under the same heading: 1st through 4th Kings. The New Vulgate separates them into 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st and 2nd Kings.

Hebrew tradition has it that the inspired writer of 1st Samuel was the prophet Samuel himself, at least up to Chapter 25 where his death is described. The main purpose of 1st and 2nd Samuel is to provide a history of the foundation of
the kingdom of Israel and the settlement of the throne on David and his line. At the end of the book of Judges, the people saw a monarchy as the only way out of a situation of internal strife and anarchy. Outside enemies had been reduced to one – the Philistines, who were established along the Mediterranean coast; but the Philistines were so formidable and expansionist that the very survival of Israel seemed to be at stake and the tribes really needed to combine forces.

Samuel, who is regarded as the last of the judges, was the man chosen to bring about this unification. God used him to make Saul the first king of Israel. It is of Samuel’s call that we hear today.

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