Commentaries on 1 Samuel

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Ruth  ⇐ ⇒  2 Samuel


For more great commentaries on 1 Samuel, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament
& Whole Bible Commentaries



Order of Contents

The Best Commentaries  5
Commentaries  6+
The Early Church  1
Harmony of
Christ in Samuel  1
Chapters in 1 Samuel
Biblical Characters:

Hannah  2
Eli  1
Samuel, Saul & David
Samuel  7
Saul  4
David  12+
Jonathan  2
Michal  1
Nabal  1




The Best Commentaries on 1 Samuel

Devotional & Practical

De Graaf, S.G. – ‘Samuel & Saul’ & ‘Saul & David’  1977  79 pp. in Promise and Deliverance, vol. 2: The Failure of Israel’s Theocracy, pp. 67-146  

De Graff is a Dutch Reformed author who focuses on the unfolding of the Covenant through history.  He writes in an easy to read, but insightful style.



The Reformation

Cooper, Derek & Martin Lohrmann – Reformation Commentary on Scripture: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles  Buy



Willet, Andrew – An Harmony upon the First Book of Samuel  1607

Willet (1562–1621)

*** – ‘The work continues the Hexapla to which we have referred…  It is unusually brief for the age of its composition, and full of variety.  Under every verse, and often clause of a verse, the learned author proposes a question, and proceeds to answer it.  These are such as the following: ‘What a daughter of Belial is?’  ‘Whether any may be said to sin with the will of God?’  ‘What doors of the house of Jehovah Samuel opened?’  ‘What is to be thought of Eli’s state before God?” – Spurgeon



Blaikie, William – The First Book of Samuel  1898

Blaikie (1820-1899) was of the Free Church of Scotland.

“Few writers have bequeathed to posterity such a legacy of devout expoition and reverent scholarship as William Garden Blaikie.  Towards the end of the nineteenth centtury, when Sir. William Robertson Nicoll began work on The Expositor’s Bible, he wisely invited Dr. Blaikie to contribute commentaries on the Book of Joshua and the Books of First and Second Samuel.  Blaikie’s studies of these portions of the Old Testament rank among the finest ever produced.” – Cyril J. Barber



Keil and Delitzsch – 1 Samuel in Clark’s Foreign Theological Library

** ‘Like most of Clark’s series, Keil’s works are valuable helps towards obtaining the meaning of the text; but for spiritual reflections and fruitful hints we must look elsewhere.’

Driver, Samuel R. – Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Typography of the Books of Samuel, with an Introduction on Hebrew Palaeography and the Ancient Versions and Fascimiles of Inscriptions  1890  405 pp.

‘Liberal.  Marred by Driver’s theological position, but indispensable for the study of the original text.’ – Cyril J. Barber



Commentaries on 1 Samuel

Devotional & Practical

Cumming, John – Sabbath Morning Readings on the Old Testament: the First and Second Books of Samuel  1859  The part on 1 Sam. is 304 pp.

On his work on Deuteronomy:  

“And to show that the Old Testament can be preached and is relevant to our lives today, John Cumming (1807-1881), Scottish born preacher and, for many years minister of the National Scottish Church, London, expounds Moses’ last treatises with an unction that was characteristic of all that was best in the era in which he lived.” – Cyril J. Barber

Blackwood, Andrew – Preaching from Samuel  Buy  1946

‘A series of sermons showing how the pastor may introduce variety into his preaching and still expound the text.’ – Cyril J. Barber




Allen, John – A Spiritual Exposition of the Old Testament: from Joshua to the end of the Psalms  1816

‘Spiritual reflections after the high Calvinistic school.  Some preachers cannot see Christ where He is, but Allen finds Him where He is not.  There is in these reflections much godly savor, but very little exposition.’ – Spurgeon  

This Allen was not the one that translated Calvin’s Institutes.  James Darling said that Allen was an Antinomian (one who believes that Christians are not bound by moral injunctions).  Antinomians, not believing that moral injunctions should be derived from God’s Word, often replaced this large aspect of Scripture’s teaching with finding Christ everywhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. 

Bush, George – Scripture Questions Designed Principally for Adult Bible Classes: Deut.-Esther

Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.

Lindsay, Henry – Practical Lectures on the Historical Books of the Old Testament, vols. 1, 2  1828  On 1 &2 Samuel only

*  “Practical sermons on a few of the more prominent events.” – Spurgeon



Deane, W.J. & Thomas Kirk – Studies in the First Book of Samuel  Buy  Reprinted by Klock & Klock

Fleming, John D. – Israel’s Golden Age: The Story of the United Kingdom  1907  160 pp.  in Handbooks for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte

Fleming has some liberal tendencies and his exposition is not spiritual.

Davis, John – The Birth of a Kingdom: Studies in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings  Buy  1970

‘Illuminates the historical record of the Books of Samuel and Kings, draws information from the comparative literature of the Ancient Near East on social and political conditions prevailing at the time, and highlights the Biblical text with material from archaeological investigations.  A valuable book.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Barber, Cyril J. – The Books of Samuel: The Sovereignty of God Illustrated in the Lives of Samuel, Saul and David, vol. 1, 2   Buy  1998  Reprinted by Klock & Klock



The Early Church on 1 Samuel


ed. Franke, John – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel  Buy



A Harmony of the Kings

Crockett, William Day – The Books of the Kings of Judah and Israel: A Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles  1897  350 pp.

‘An attempt to reconcile and correlate the history of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into chronological sequence.’ – Cyril J. Barber



Christ in Samuel

Browne, Robert – Christ in the Prophets: Samuel  1873

*  “Of the High Church order, and praised by the Saturday Review.  What worse need be said?  Yet will we add that the savor of Christ in these books saves them from unqualified condemnation.” – Spurgeon



1 Samuel 1-12

Groser, W.H. – Joshua and his Successors: an Introduction to Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel, with Notes Critical and Illustrative, vol. 1 (Joshua), 2 (Judges-Ruth-Samuel 1-12)  1874



1 Samuel 2 – The Song of Hannah

Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 2nd Chapter of 1 Samuel  in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays  d. 1594  English reformer

Douglas, George – ‘Critical Discussions on the Song of Hannah’  1901 8 pp.  Douglas defends Hannah’s authorship and the integrity of the song from liberals.

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Wycliff, John – ‘The Song of Hannah’  in Select English Works of John Wycliff, vol. 3, part 1, p. 13-18




Guthrie, Thomas – Hannah the Matron  in Studies of Character from the Old Testament  1872  Free Church of Scotland

Whyte, Alexander – Hannah  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921




Whyte, Alexander – Eli  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921



Samuel, Saul and David

Kitto, John – Samuel, Saul and David in Daily Bible Illustrations

*** – ‘Should always be consulted’  ‘They are not exactly a commentary, but what marvelous expositions you have there!  You have reading more interesting than any novel that was ever written, and as instructive as the heaviest theology.  The matter is quite attractive and fascinating, and yet so weighty, that the man who shall study those eight volumes thoroughly, will not fail to read his Bible intelligently and with growing interest.’ – Spurgeon




Deane, William – Samuel and Saul: Their Lives and Times  n.d.  230 pp.

“A pleasing exposition of the Biblical text.” – Cyril J. Barber

Douglas, George – Samuel and his Age: a Study in the Constitutional History of Israel  1901  330 pp.

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Guthrie, Thomas – Samuel the Ruler  in Studies of Character from the Old Testament  1872  Free Church of Scotland

Meyer, F.B. – Samuel the Prophet  n.d.  200 pp.

Meyer (1847–1929) was an English, baptist pastor who wrote numerous, very good devotional works.

Plumptre, Helen – The History of Samuel  1842

*** ‘A children’s book, and childlike men will be thankful for the many very useful hints which it throws out.  We have got more out of it than we have found in huge and learned tomes.’ – Spurgeon

Steel, Robert – Samuel and the Prophet, and the Lessons of this Life and Times  1861  447 pp.

*** – ‘The author has done his work well, and has shown an evident desire to excite others to a greater knowledge of the subject than he could impart.  Hence he gives a list of the writers upon Samuel, and such accounts of them as were within his reach.  Young readers will find this book a great help to them.’

Whyte, Alexander – Samuel  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 




Deane, William – Samuel and Saul: Their Lives and Times  n.d.  230 pp.

“A pleasing exposition of the Biblical text.” – Cyril J. Barber

Kirk, Thomas – Saul: the First King of Israel  1896

“Postmortem of a dead king.  Devotional and perceptive.” – Cyril J. Barber

Miller, Joseph – Saul, the First King of Israel: A Scripture Study  1866

***‘Eminently thoughtful, useful, practical sermons.  We do not see how Saul’s life-failure could be more profitably set forth.’ – Spurgeon

Whyte, Alexander – Saul  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921




The Best

Blaikie, William

David, King of Israel: the Divine Plan and Lessons of his Life  Buy  1861

*** ‘Dr. Blaikie is a good writer.  This Life of David has supplied a great lack.’ – Spurgeon

Life and Reign of David  from Manual of Bible History  1880  80 pp.

Lawson, George – Discourses on the History of David  1833  195 pp.

*** ‘Here the life of David is piously turned to practical use.  [Patrick] Delany and [Samuel] Chandler are but bones, and Lawson the marrow.’ – Spurgeon

Pink, A.W. – The Life of David  PDF  1974

“A masterful exposition which unfolds the lessons David learned as a result of God’s dealing with him.” – Cyril J. Barber

Taylor, William – David, King of Israel, his Life and its Lessons  1875  460 pp.

Taylor (1829–1895) was a Scottish Presbyterian who later ministered in America at Broadway Tabernacle Congregationalist Church in New York.

***‘A grand work which should be in every library.’

“Devotional expositions manifesting a depth seldom attained by preachers today.” – Cyril J. Barber

Vince, Charles – Lights and Shadows in the Life of King David  1871  250 pp.

***‘Baptist minister of Birmingham [England]’  ‘Sermons of the highest order upon a few incidents in David’s life.  They are models of chaste, subdued, but powerful preaching.’ – Spurgeon



Chandler, Samuel – A Critical History of the Life of David  1853

**  “This is a masterpiece as a critical history, and the best of Chandler’s productions.  Many of the Psalms are explained with commendable learning, but the spiritual element is absent.” – Spurgeon

Deane, William John – David: his Life and Times  n.d.  240 pp.

“A rewarding devotional work.” – Cyril J. Barber

Guthrie, Thomas – David the Afflicted Man  in Studies of Character from the Old Testament  1872  Free Church of Scotland

Kingsley, Charles – The Gospel of the Pentateuch, a set of Parish Sermons and David, 5 Sermons  1878

**  “In his usual free and easy manner Kingsley speaks of David’s strength and his weakness, his anger and his deserts.  The character of this writer is supposed to be well understood, but we question if many have formed a true estimate of him.  For commenting purposes these sermons are of small value; they are plain, practical discourses.” – Spurgeon

Krummacher, F.W. – David, the King of Israel  Buy

** ‘Anything by Krummacher is worthy of patient reading.’ – Spurgeon

MacLaren, Alexander – Life of David  Reformed, Scottish

Marbeck, John – The Whole History of King David  1579

*  “This is in English metre, and was written by the famous organist of the Royal Chapel in Windsor, in the reign of Henry VIII.  He narrowly escaped martyrdom.  His work entitled ‘Booke of Common Praier noted’, is the groundwork of the plain song used in our Cathedrals from the Reformation to the present day.  Marbeck’s History of David is very rare.  We cannot therefore set a price [at which it sells for].” – Spurgeon

Meyer, F.B. – David: Shepherd, Psalmist, King  1910  200 pp.

Smith, George – The Life and Reign of David  1867

**  “David’s life is here concisely written, with such of the Psalms interwoven as can be referred to special periods.  It cannot be read without ministering instruction.” – Spurgeon

Whyte, Alexander – David in his VirtuesDavid in his VicesDavid in his Graces & David in his Services  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 



Life of David for the Young

Rogers, Mrs. G.A. – The Shepherd King, or Jesus Seen in the Life of David: Designed for the Young  1856  260 pp.

**  “This authoress writes well for the young, and her book will be useful to those who teach them.” – Spurgeon



Jonathan  1 Sam. 13-14

Guthrie, Thomas – Jonathan the Friend  in Studies of Character from the Old Testament  1872  Free Church of Scotland

Whyte, Alexander – Jonathan  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 



Michal  1 Sam. 18-19

Whyte, Alexander – Michal, Saul’s Daughter  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 



Nabal  1 Sam. 25

Whyte, Alexander – Nabal  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921




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