Samuel: Faithful Prophet and Honest Judge

The Old Testament character of Samuel is remembered for his trustworthiness, faithfulness, and honesty. His life began as an answer to prayer and Samuel lived his life as an obedient servant!


Means “name of God”, but sounds like “heard by God” because God listened to and answered Hannah’s prayer for a child.

Outstanding Characteristics

Faithfulness and honesty.


Born in response to barren Hannah’s prayer, Samuel was dedicated to the Lord. After his weaning he was brought up in the Shiloh temple by Eli and ministered to God there. While still a boy, he experienced the prophetic call and in due course became the prophet of the Lord. It was Samuel who delivered God’s difficult message of judgment on Eli and his wicked sons. Samuel’s wisdom increased over the years and eventually became the last judge in Israel. After the death of Eli, Samuel led Israel to victory over the Philistines and settled disputes in various cities in Israel. Samuel had two sons, Joel and Abijah, who were delegated to become judges after him. When his sons grew up both became corrupt, so the people demanded that a king be appointed. Samuel initially resisted the idea of having a king over Israel but was led by God to anoint Saul. As priest, Samuel presided over the monarchy, but eventually conflict developed resulting in Saul disobeying the prophet and Samuel rejecting Saul. Samuel’s final act was to anoint David as the next king.

Key Scripture

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle. (1 Samuel 3:19–21)

Lessons Learned

1. Keeping an Open Ear

Samuel had an open ear to God (1 Samuel 3:1–21). Like Samuel, we too are servants and must keep an open ear to hear God’s Word to us. We must also have a heart to obey and speak His Word even though it may be difficult or unpopular.

2. Right and Wrong

Samuel recognized the false standard of the world and was displeased that Israel wanted a king like the other nations (1 Samuel 8:4–6). We too must know God’s standards of right and wrong and be willing to obey Him. When confronted with difficult choices we, like Samuel, should take them to God in prayer.

3. Seeking and Following Guidance

Despite having reservations about anointing a king for the people, Samuel sought God’s advice and abided by His decision. Most of us indeed consult God when confronting important life decisions. But how many of us are willing to follow His guidance, even when it seems contrary to our own desires? 

4. Neglected Family

Samuel’s sons failed to follow the Lord. While it is true that it is not necessarily Samuel’s fault it’s possible he was too busy doing ministry. The warning for us is not to become so involved in serving God that we neglect our own family. A parent’s first ministry is to their family and after that to the whole church of God.

5. Practicing Truthful Communication

Whatever God told Samuel, as a faithful prophet, he truthfully passed it on to the people even when it hurt. He didn’t mince words. He didn’t sugar-coat things. We should follow Samuel’s example to share the Gospel and teach the word of God truthfully without sugar coating it and without regard to how we will be perceived or how our audience will react.

6. Steadfast in Faith and Obedience

Samuel was obedient even when others weren’t (1 Samuel 15:13–23). As Samuel proved more than once, no matter how intimidated we are by those in authority, we must remain obedient to God. Just as to obey was better than to sacrifice, so today, God defines our love for Him in terms of keeping His commandments (Matthew 7:21). Those who remain steadfast in their faith may be looked upon cynically by the world. Despite this, those who remain faithful to God will be vindicated.

Samuel was a faithful prophet and honest judge. His life story is an inspiration for us to follow, one marked by transparency, obedience, and trustworthiness.