Why does Peter start with Samuel in Acts 3:24?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Why does Peter start with Samuel in Acts 3:24? “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.”

Firstly (and obviously), Samuel was a prophet. Turn to 1 Samuel 3:20, “And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.” Also, 1 Chronicles 29:29: “Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,….” (“Seer” is an archaic term for “prophet”—1 Samuel 9:9.) Paul preached in Acts 13:20: “And after that he [God] gave unto them [Israel] judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”

While it is true that there were prophets prior to Samuel—God using men prior to Samuel to speak for Him (Adam, Noah, Enoch, Moses, Joshua, et cetera)—Samuel was the first to hold the office of the prophet. As seen in Acts 13:20, Samuel was the last of the Israel’s judges (he appeared after the Book of Judges closed). He anointed Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David. David is a preview of Jesus Christ and His reign.

Secondly, Samuel is the first prophet in the order of the prophets. That is, he begins the prophets as in the Bible phrase “the law and the prophets.” (“The Law” is Moses’ writings, the Bible’s first five Books, Genesis through Malachi. The Books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth follow; 1 and 2 Samuel come after. Samuel, obviously, appears in 1 Samuel. Joshua, Judges, and Ruth are overwhelmingly history. Samuel is history but also conveys a great deal of prophecy, especially as related to Israel’s Messiah-King Jesus.)

  • Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
  • Matthew 22:40: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
  • Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
  • John 1:45: “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
  • Acts 13:15: “And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
  • Romans 3:21: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;….”

Acts 3:24-26: “[24] Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. [25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Indeed, “the Law and the Prophets” announced Messiah’s eventual arrival in Israel.

Also see:
» Who are the “prophets” of Romans 16:26?
» Are there modern-day apostles and prophets?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?