1 Samuel is Volume VII of The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, a series that aims to present a form-critical analysis of every book and each unit in the Hebrew Bible. Fundamentally exegetical, the FOTL volumes examine the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question. They also study the history behind the form-critical discussion of the material, attempt to bring consistency to the terminology for the genres and formulas of the biblical literature, and expose the exegetical process so as to enable students and pastors to engage in their own analysis and interpretation of the Old Testament texts. Antony Campbell's valuable form-critical analysis of 1 Samuel highlights both the literary development of the text itself and its meanings for its audience. A skilled student of the Hebrew scriptures and their ancient context, Campbell shows modern readers the process of editing and reworking that shaped 1 Samuel's final form. As Campbell's study reveals, the tensions and contradictions that exist in the present text reflect a massive change in the way of life of ancient Israel.
Samuel, the first prophet, here emerges to preside over the rise of Saul, Israel's first king, to be the agent of Saul's rejection, and to anoint David as Israel's next king and the first established head of a royal dynasty. The book of 1 Samuel captures the work of God within this interplay of sociopolitical forces, and Campbell fruitfully explores the text both as a repository of traditions of great significance for Israel and as a paradigm of Israel's use of narrative for theological expression.