This most holy man, a Prophet of God from childhood, was the last judge of the
Israelite people, and anointed the first two Kings of Israel. He was
born in the twelfth century before Christ, in the city of Armathaim
Sipha, from the tribe of Levi, the son of Elkanah and Hannah (Anna).
He was the fruit of prayer, for his mother, being barren, conceived
him only after she had supplicated the Lord with many tears; wherefore
she called him Samuel, that is, "heard by God." As soon as Hannah had weaned him, she brought him to the city of Silom (Shiloh),
where the Ark was kept, and she consecrated him, though yet a babe,
to the service of God, giving thanks to Him with the hymn found in
the Third Ode of the Psalter: "My heart hath been established in the Lord . . ." Samuel remained in Silom under the protection of Eli the priest. He served in
the Tabernacle of God, and through his most venerable way of life became
well-pleasing to God and man (I Kings 2: 26). While yet a child, sleeping
in the tabernacle near the Ark of God, he heard the voice of God calling
his name, and foretelling the downfall of Eli; for although Eli's two
sons, Ophni and Phineas, were most lawless, and despisers of God, Eli
did not correct them. Even after Samuel had told Eli of the divine
warning, Eli did not properly chastise his sons, and afterwards, through
various misfortunes, his whole house was blotted out in one day.
After these things came to pass, Samuel was chosen to be the protector of the
people, and he judged them with holiness and righteousness. He became for them
an example of all goodness, and their compassionate intercessor before God: "Far
be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you;
yea, I will serve the Lord, and show you the good and the right way" (ibid. 12:23). When he asked them -- having God as witness -- if he ever wronged
anyone, or took anyone's possessions, or any gift, even so much as a sandal,
they answered with one voice: "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, nor afflicted us, neither hast
thou taken anything from anyone's hand" (ibid. 12:4). When Samuel was old, the people asked him for a king, but he was
displeased with this, knowing that God Himself was their King. But when they
persisted, the Lord commanded him to anoint them a king, saying, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me from reigning over them" (ibid. 8:7); so Samuel anointed Saul. But Saul transgressed the command of God
repeatedly, so Samuel anointed David. Yet, since Samuel was a man of God, full
of tender mercy, when the Lord told him that He had rejected Saul, Samuel wept
for him the whole night long (ibid. 15:11); and later, since he continued to
grieve, the Lord said to him, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?" (ibid. 16:1). Having lived blamelessly some ninety-eight years, and become an
example to all of a God-pleasing life, he reposed in the eleventh century before
Christ. Many ascribe to him the authorship of the Books of judges, and of Ruth,
and of the first twenty-four chapters of the First Book of Kings (I Samuel).
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 ven'rable Samuel.
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