History & Literary - 1 & 2 Samuel

The four books following Ruth are called by the Greeks, and also in some Latin bibles, The History of the Reigns. Others call them all, The Books of Kings, because they give an account of the establishment of the monarchy, and of the succession of the kings, who reigned over the whole kingdom at first, and over the kingdoms of Judah and Israel after its division. At the beginning of these books is given the history of the prophet Samuel, which gives light to that of The Kings. The Jews call the first two of these books, The Books of Samuel: perhaps because they contain the history of the two kings, who were both anointed by Samuel; and because what is said of Saul in the first, and of David in the second, proves the truth of Samuel's prophecies. They give the name of The Books of Kings only to the other two, which, in the Latin and French bibles, are called the Third and Fourth Books of Kings.

The First Book of Kings, or the First of Samuel, contains the history of the high-priest Eli, of Samuel, and of Saul. As the first year of Eli's high-priesthood falls on the year of the world 2848, and the death of Saul in 2949, the history of this book must comprehend the space of one hundred and one years.

The Second contains the reign of David, which is the history of about forty years. It is commonly believed that Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, were the writers of these two books, and, indeed, they are called, in the end of the first book of Chronicles, David's historians.