Book Review: Samuel, Prophet and Kingmaker

Samuel, Prophet and Kingmaker by A J Higgins; published and available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £14.99 

Samuel, Prophet and Kingmaker is the first volume in the Ritchie Character Study Series.  The intent of the Publishers is to provide an overview of principal Bible characters in short hardbacks.  The volumes are not verse-by-verse commentaries but overviews of well-known characters.  This volume sets a high standard for the series and offers a model to other authors commissioned to write a volume for the series.

In his opening paragraph, the author describes Samuel the prophet as “perhaps the most unsung of the Old Testament worthies,” yet Paul identifies Samuel as the end-point of the Judges’ rule in Israel in his phrase “until Samuel the prophet” (Acts 13:20).  He adds that Jeremiah quotes from Jehovah’s statement to himself, in which Samuel is placed alongside Moses.  To a Jew, there would be no higher honour than association with Moses.

The volume comprises an Introduction and twelve short chapters, the longest of which is 15 pages, so it is unlikely that any age group would find the volume daunting.  The Publishers comment on the rear cover of this volume that the burden of the writer’s ministry has been for younger believers.  Certainly, this volume would uphold that view.  The language is elegant but uncomplicated, and the content of paragraphs measured.

The author has identified in the 55 chapters of 1 and 2 Samuel twelve key themes: Samuel’s parents; the people in his nation to whom he spoke, the great and the not-so-great; his prophetic ministry, the preparation for service and the pathway to it.  He also deals with Samuel as a parent.  Nor surprisingly, Samuel’s principles, his prayer-life and his power are also set out clearly, so that no matter the maturity of the reader, there is much to ponder.

The final chapter of the Samuel, Prophet and Kingmaker comprises an interesting compilation of eleven references to Samuel outside the books that bear his name  Eight of those references are in the Old Testament but three in the New.  That, about 1100 years after Samuel’s death, both Peter and Paul pointed to Samuel in their preaching and the Hebrew writer in his letter are evidence enough to substantiate the view that, even at this distance, the worth of Samuel commands the esteem to which few others could aspire.


We are offering review readers £2 off this title until the end of March using voucher code SAMREV

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