Samuel the Prophet | Hanavi

Samuel the Prophet

Name and place:

In Romo, which is on the northwestern outskirts of Jerusalem lies the tomb of the famous Samuel the Prophet. The name Samuel (Hebrew:שמואל הנביא ) means “heard of God” Hanna the mother of Samuel chose this name for God listened to her prayers and then granted her a child. Samuel, who was a prophet lived in the times of the Terbancle, and passed away at the young age of 52, (four months before Shaul HaMelech). He was buried in Romo.

Immediately after his passing, the city of Nov was destroyed and the Terbancle was set up in Giv'on (Zevochim 118). Samuel stood at a historical crossroad: he ended the period of the Judges, and was the first of the prophets.

For thousands of years, Jews have been coming to pray and study at this holy site. This gravesite belonged to the Jews for hundreds of years. A synagogue and yeshiva (school for boys) was constructed on this site. However, the Jews were chased away by the Arabs. Only recently has a yeshiva been re-established on this holy site.

Insights:

The birth of Samuel the prophet:

During the time of Eli the priest and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas were priests of the Lord in Shiloh, a man called Elkanah from Ramathaim had two wives Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah who had children, would tease Hanna, so that she would be bothered by the fact that she doesn’t have children. This would provoke her to pray to God more fervently. Elkanah used to go to Shiloh yearly to offer his sacrifices to the Lord in the Tabernacle. There, Hannah cried to God in the Tabernacle with a bitter soul and prayed that He would remove her shame and give her a child. She vowed saying "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head." This would occur yearly.

One year when Hanna was in the Tabernacle praying, Eli the priest saw Hannah whisper quietly to herself and rebuked her thinking she was drunk. He did not realize that she was truly praying quietly to God. When he realized she was praying out of anguish and grief he blessed her saying "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grants thy petition that thou hast asked of him." A year later, Hannah gave birth to a son and called him "Samuel" (which means "heard of God") for she has asked him of the Lord. When Samuel was two years old, she presented him in the Tabernacle in Shiloh to serve the Lord all his life.
Samuel, who was dedicated to the service of the Lord, became a prophet. He anointed the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. During his lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. Every year, Samuel used to go on a circuit judging for Israel between Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpeh. He led Israel against the Philistines in Mizpeh.

Construction:

It is strategically located overlooking the Tel Aviv road and the city of Jerusalem itself. The Arabs built a military fortification on this site and used it during the '67 war in order to shell the Israeli forces and the passing traffic on the road leading into the city. The Israeli forces recaptured it during the first few days of the '67 war. One can climb to the very top of the tall tower and get a beautiful view of the entire countryside. To get to the tomb, one goes down a narrow staircase. There one sees the tomb of Samuel the Prophet and alongside it rests his father Elkana and his mother Hanna.

Tale of a Tzaddik:

One day all the elders gathered to Samuel the prophet at Ramah, and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. "According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day– with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods– so they are doing to you also. "Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."

So Samuel the prophet told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. "He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. "He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. "And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. "He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. "And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. "He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. "And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."

Nevertheless the people did not obey the voice of Samuel the prophet; and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." And Samuel the prophet heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. So the LORD said to Samuel, "listen to their voice, and make them a king."

Memorial date:

28th day of Iyar at the young age of 52.

In Nabi-Samuel village, north of Jerusalem, on the road Ramat-Givat Ze’ev.


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