Samuel was the fifteenth and last judge of Israel. He lived eleven hundred years before Christ. Samuel was born of the tribe of Levi of the parents Elkanah and Hannah in a place called Ramatha or Arimathea where the noble Joseph was born [Joseph of Arimathea]. The barren Hannah besought Samuel from God through weeping and dedicated him to God when he was three years of age. Living in Shiloh near the Ark of the Covenant, Samuel, in his twelfth year, had a true revelation from God concerning the punishments which were pending before the house of the high priest Eli because of the immorality of his sons Hophni and Phineas. That revelation soon materialized: the Philistines defeated the Israelites, slew both of Eli’s sons and captured the Ark of the Covenant. When the messenger informed Eli of this tragedy, he fell dead to the ground and expired in the ninety-eighth year of his life. The same thing occurred to his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas. From then on and for twenty years the Israelites were the slaves of the Philistines. After this period of time, God sent Samuel to the people to preach repentance if they wished to be saved from their enemies. The people repented and rejected the foreign idols that they served and recognized Samuel as a prophet, priest and judge. Then Samuel set out with an army against the Philistines and with God’s help confused and defeated them and liberated the land and the people. After that, Samuel peacefully judged his people until old age. Seeing him in old age, the people asked him to install a king for them in his place. In vain Samuel tried to turn the people away from this, saying to them that God is their only King but the people stood by their demands. Even though this demand was not pleasing to God, God commanded Samuel to annoint Saul, the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, as their king. Saul reigned for a short time only and God rejected Saul because of his impudence and disobedience and then commanded Samuel to annoint Jesse’s son David as king in Saul’s place. Before his death, Samuel gathered the entire people and bid them farewell. When Samuel died all of Israel mourned for him and they buried him honorably in his house at Ramatha.
Feast Day: August 20
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Samuel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Thy hallowed mother dedicated thee unto the Lord even before she had conceived thee; and when thou wast born thou didst serve Him from thine infancy like an Angel. And, O Prophet of the Most High, for thy fervent faith, thou wast granted to foretell things that should come to pass. Hence, we cry to thee: Rejoice, O venerable Samuel.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
The Prologue from Ohrid