August 20, 2023

Homily Two on the Prophet Samuel, the Seer of the Israelites (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The Prophet Samuel, whom our Church celebrates today (Aug. 20), lived in Old Testament times, specifically in the 12th century BC, and found himself in an intermediate period between Judges, i.e. political lords, and Kings. He was the last of the period of the Judges, as a wonderful Prophet, and the one who anointed the first King, Saul, and when he fell into serious errors, he anointed David the Prophet-King as King.

The presence of the Prophet Samuel and his activity among the Jews was truly wonderful. I will limit myself to two main points of his life.

The first point is that his birth was miraculous. His parents, Elkanah and Anna, had no children, because Anna was barren and she herself went to the Temple and prayed from the heart, prayed noetically, and asked God for His intervention to give birth. Thus, God blessed her and she gave birth to Samuel.

It is interesting to read all these incidents from the book of the Old Testament, which is called 1 Kings [in LXX, otherwise in 1 Samuel], to see the way of Samuel's birth and the way of his upbringing and education.

His parents prayed to give birth to him, they raised him in the education and admonition of the Lord, they dedicated him to the Temple, he lived in the worship of the Temple from a small child and at a young age he was found worthy to receive a revelation from God, that is, He gave him a command to transmit His will to the Priest of the Temple.

This shows that the birth of a child is a gift from God, God gives him to his parents and they must understand his existence in this way, and form him according to God, "in the education and admonition of the Lord."

The conception and birth of a human being is the fruit of the synergy of God and man, since God through His life-giving energy gives life to all creation, and man also participates in God's wisdom-making energy, since he is given the possibility to think, to produce knowledge, to process the elements of nature. Also, man must also participate in God's God-creating energy, that is, to become by Grace what God is by nature, that is, to become God according to Grace.

This means that a child is not a "toy" of the parents to amuse them, to make them happy, to give them some meaning in their lives, but it is a gift from God, which must grow according to God, to know God. The one-sided development of the child creates tragic people, who are always unsatisfied.

The second point from the life of the Prophet Samuel is that he was a spiritual leader to the Jewish people. God raised him to the position of Judge, but also of Prophet. Then the rulers were not voted for by the people, but were chosen by God in a miraculous way.

Thus, the Prophet Samuel had a threefold task to accomplish, namely: first, to teach and instruct the people, second, to heal them and third, to judge them, that is, to resolve various disharmonies that were observed in society. And this work the Prophet Samuel did with prayer, with enlightenment from God, with justice.

The people recognized him and gave him an adjective designation, i.e. they titled him: "The Seer". They would ask: "Is the seer there?" (I Kings 9:11). He was called a "seer" because as a Prophet, through whom the Grace of God worked, he saw everything, he saw the hearts of people and the needs of society, and he acted accordingly.

And when the Prophet Samuel understood that the people wanted a King, like all the other pagan nations, he prayed to God and after receiving a command from Him, he first anointed Saul as King and then David. This constituted a profound fall, because the people instead of the presence of the Judges and the Prophets that God revealed to them, preferred the Kings, which Kings, apart from the Prophet-King David, slowly moved away from God and introduced foreign, idolatrous gods. Subsequently, as seen in the case of the Prophet Elijah, the Prophets fought against the Kings who perverted the people of God to other worships.

However, the Prophet Samuel was a blessed man, who was conceived in his mother's womb, after prayer and with the energy of God, he grew up with prayer and love for God, he received divine Revelation during his youth, he became a great Prophet for the Israelite people, raised up Kings and died peacefully, while all the people mourned his loss.

His virtues were many, such as the purity of his life, his obedience to God, since he never did anything to disappoint God, he was forbearing, because he constantly forgave others for their mistakes, he was dispassionate, because he always acted dispassionately, he loved the people and God. He was a truly blessed man.

All of us should receive from him examples of how to be Christians - parents, teachers, priests, bishops, politicians, scientists. And, of course, we always need contemporary Prophets, as was Samuel, to balance out all the imbalances that, unfortunately, exist in our society.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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