The Rejection of Pascal's Wager
Get the Book!

The Authorship of the Books of Samuel

Again tradition attributes the writing of the book of Samuel to the prophet of that name. Again, the evidence shows that this too is false. Let us look at some of the evidence.

We sometimes come across footnotes in history books where the historians takes greats pains to explain meanings of certain words that had either fallen into disuse, had changed its meanings or had been replaced by other words. The evolution of words is something that do not happen overnight. The process can take from a few decades to many generations. We come across one such footnote in I Samuel. The story relates how Saul who, having lost his asses, sought supernatural help to recover them.

I Samuel 9:11, 18-19
And they [Saul and his servant] went up the hill to the city, they met young maidens coming out to draw water, and said to them, "Is the seer here?"... Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate, and said, "Tell me where is the house of the seer?" Samuel answered Saul, "I am the seer"

The author of this passage is obviously trying to show the event as he though it would have happened, for earlier he added the revealing footnote:

I Samuel 9:9
Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said' "Come let us go to the seer"; for he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.

This passage clearly shows that at the time I Samuel was written, the word seer was no longer in use and had been replaced by the word prophet. The fact that the author had to add that footnote meant that the meaning of the word seer has so long fallen into disuse that it had been forgotten. Thus I Samuel could must have been written at least a few generations after the prophet Samuel.

In final evidence is, again, the presence of the narration on Samuel's death:

I Samuel 25:1
Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah.

If I Samuel could not have been written by Samuel due to the presence of the above passage, II Samuel is even more certainly not penned by the prophet. II Samuel begins with the reign of King David, who succeeded Saul and ends with his death. Now David ascended the throne a full four years after the death of Samuel and did not die until four decades later. [1]

In short Samuel did not write I and II Samuel. We do not know who its author(s) were. Another case of anonymous testimony stares at the believer.

Back to the top


1.Paine, The Age of Reason: p132-134

Back to the top

[Home] [The Central Thesis] [Christianity] [The Bible] [Jesus] [Paul] [God] [History] [Pascal's Wager] [Bibliography] [Links]
© Paul N. Tobin 2000

For comments and queries, e-mail Paul Tobin