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Samuel was a legitimate Priest - No he wasn't!

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    First, the Priesthood obviously was a function of men from the tribe of Levi.
    (Though Melchizedek predated the Aaronic Priesthood)
    So, the first argument is - was Samuel a Levite or not.
    Then, though his parents dedicated him to God, was he actually called by God to be a priest?

    I have Biblical scholars I trust on both sides of this issue who disagree.
    One group says, "No, he was an Ephraimite, but he was a prophet, and sometimes the prophets took upon themselves certain aspects of the priesthood".
    Another group says, "Samuel was from the tribe of Levi through his father, but was mentioned as an Ephrathite, just because of the geographical location only, and was a prophet AND a priest".
    In 1 Chronicles, Samuel is a Levite.

    In 1 Samuel, he is an Ephraimite.

    I think the solution is, in part, that the limiting of the priesthood to Levites comes from a time, in Judah, later than the beginnings of the priesthood in Israel as a whole. And that until the 7th century or so, priests might come from any tribe. I think that the Levites were originally a “guild” or suchlike body of cultic officials, of different tribal origins, and that they claimed Levi as their, or a, common ancestor, because their “trade” was his “trade”.

    So the contradiction may be purely verbal. He may have been an Ephraimite by birth, who became a member of the Levite “guild”. The contradiction, if it is one, may witness to Israelite or Jewish society at different stages.

    In 1 Samuel, he is dedicated to the local god at the local shrine, because that is how pious people often behaved.
    Last edited by Rushing Jaws; 05-22-2021, 06:53 PM.


    • #17
      On a quick read, Samuel was of Issachar (his grandfather) through Tola (his father) (1Chr 7:1-2). 1 Sam 1:1 has him as an Ephraimite true enough.
      I'm not sure that all priests were Levites though.

      Priests weren't precluded from becoming prophets, nor women either come to that (and prophets outranked priests). Zeke was a priest before he was appointed as a prophet (Ezkl 1:3) for example - as was Barnabas prior to being appointed as an apostle.
      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω


      • #18
        Originally posted by tabibito View Post
        On a quick read, Samuel was of Issachar (his grandfather) through Tola (his father) (1Chr 7:1-2). 1 Sam 1:1 has him as an Ephraimite true enough.
        I'm not sure that all priests were Levites though.
        Found a genealogy that matches 1 Sam 1:1, and has Samuel as a Levite, and not descended from Aaron, so not a priest:

        "These are the men who served and their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer the son of Joel, son of Samuel, son of Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Eliel, son of Toah, son of Zuph, son of Elkanah, son of Mahath, son of Amasai, son of Elkanah, son of Joel, son of Azariah, son of Zephaniah, son of Tahath, son of Assir, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Israel." (1 Chr. 6:33-38)

        "There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite." (1 Sam. 1:1)

        I assume Eliel is just another spelling of Elihu, and Toah another spelling of Tohu.

        So 1 Chr. 7:1-2 must refer to a different Samuel...

        "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)


        • #19
          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
          Note that "whatever touches the altar shall be holy" (Ex. 29:37), thus the act of laying hold of the horns of the altar (e.g. Joab in 1 Kings 2:28) was probably an act of desperate consecration. So this may have been part of Samuel's induction to service (cf. 1 Sam. 1:11, 28), but that need not mean that he served as a priest!

          Though Samuel did offer sacrifices (1 Sam. 7:9, 16:2), and see also 1 Sam. 13:9-13, where Saul offered the burnt offering and the peace offering, which presumably Samuel was coming to offer. Note that Abraham offered sacrifices as well (e.g. Gen. 22:13), and Elijah built an altar and prepared a bull on it (1 Kings 18:30-33), So this is not unheard of, for people other than priests to make an offering. And note the following custom in Samuel's time: "When any man was offering a sacrifice..." (1 Sam. 2:13)! Not sure what that means, or if it was sanctioned by the Lord...

          But I would say that Samuel was allowed, and specially consecrated, so he could offer burnt offerings and peace offerings, but that would not imply that he was a priest. As here, where Samuel seems to be put in a different category:

          "Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
          And Samuel was among those who called on His name..." (Ps. 99:6)

          I like.
          Watch your links!


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