The exploits of Samuel are recounted in the first book that bears his name. His early years are associated with the sanctuary at Shiloh (1 Sam. 1–3 ) and the narrator reports that he became known from Dan to Beer‐sheba as a ‘trust‐worthy prophet of the LORD’ (1 Sam. 3: 20 ). But his main sphere of activity is presented as more local, in the central hill country where, we are told, he would make an annual circuit from his home at Ramah visiting Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah (1 Sam. 7: 16–17 ). Samuel's career is set in the context of conflict between Israelites and Philistines. 1 Samuel 4 tells of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh by the Philistines, and the destruction of Shiloh is probably to be associated with Philistine activity, though the biblical narrator does not mention this explicitly. (See also Jeremiah 7: 12–14 where the destruction is credited to God, with no mention of the means of execution.) The story concentrates on the fate of the Ark in Philistine hands, and the outbreak of plagues at two of the Philistine cities, Ashdod and Ekron (1 Sam. 5 ), and its subsequent return into Israelite hands via Beth Shemesh to Kiriath‐jearim (1 Sam. 6: 1–7: 2 ). Samuel is credited with the anointing of Israel's first king, Saul, although the biblical account leaves the reader unsure as to whether Samuel was reluctant to take this step or welcomed it (compare 1 Sam. 8 with 1 Sam. 9–10 ). Subsequently he was also to anoint David at Bethlehem (1 Sam. 16. 1–13 ).