Thursday, October 21, 2010

Samuel: A New Moses

Scholars recognize that Samuel is presented as a kind of New Moses [1] in the historical books. Indeed, Samuel shares a number of attributes associated with Moses.

Here's a short list:
  • He is a Prophet (1 Sam 3:20)
  • He is identified as a “Man of God” (1 Sam 9:6), a title elsewhere used for Moses (Deut 33:1; Josh 14:6; Ps 90:1; Ezra 3:2; 1 Chr 23:14; 2 Chr 30:16).
  • Like Moses, he was given up by his parents shortly after his birth (cf. 1 Sam 1:21–28; with Exod 2).
  • Like Moses, he become an intercessor for Israel (1 Sam 7:5, 8–9; 12:19–25; 15:10–31; cf. with Exod 8:8, 30; 9:33; 10:18; 17:11; 32:11–13, 30–33; 34:9; Num 11:2; 12:11–14; 16:20–24; 21:7; Jer 15:1; Ps 99:6; 106:23; Jub. 1:19–21; As. Mos. 2:11, 14, 17; 12:6; L.A.B. 19:3; cf. also Ps 70?).
  • The calling scene is virtually identical to the calling of Moses. The Lord says, “Samuel, Samuel", to which Samuel replies, "Here I am” (1 Sam 3:4). In Exodus 3:4 we read that the Lord called, “Moses, Moses . . .," to which he responded, "Here am I.”
  • Both called Israel away from idolatry (cf. 1 Sam 7:3–4; cf. Exod 32)
  • Samuel anoints others (1 Sam 10:1 [Saul]; 16:13 [David]) just as Moses anointed the Aaronic priests (cf. Lev 8:1–13).
  • Both lead Israel in war (1 Sam 7:7–14; cf. Deut 2:33–36).
  • Samuel is said to have written legislation for the king (1 Sam 7:3–6), a task of course especially evocative of Moses' role (cf. Deut 31:9–13).
  • Both give a farewell speech in which they lay out the two ways of obedience and disobedience (1 Sam 12; cf. Deut 28–30).

[1] The research here draws from Dale C. Allison's, The New Moses: A Matthean Typology (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993). See also E. Jacob, “Prophètes et Intercessors,” in De la Tôrah au Messie: Mélanges Henri Cazelles (ed. M. Carrez, J. Doré and P. Grelot: Paris: Desclée, 1981), 209. See also P. D. Miscall, 1 Samuel: A Literary Reading (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 1–3, 42–46. Miscall links him with the prophet like unto Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 (pages 3, 44–46, 50–51). See also James Muilenburg, “The ‘Office’ of Prophet in Ancient Israel,” in The Bible and Modern Scholarship (ed. J. Philip Hyatt; Nashville: Abingdon, 1965), 91–93. Muilenberg identifies Samuel as a “second Moses”.

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