“The glory has departed”
The events in Israel in the times surrounding the life of the prophet Samuel follow those of the book of Judges in the Old Testament. In fact, Samuel himself is usually considered the last of the judges. During his time, Samuel was the one to whom Israel looked for instruction in the ways of God and for guidance in times of oppression from foreign enemies. He was the last to hold this office before Israel and Judah began to be ruled by kings.
But the days were becoming dark. Even though Samuel himself continued in a strong relationship with God, the spiritual lives of most of the people during these times had lost practically all their meaning. The society had not become secular, necessarily, but the religious life of the people was more like that of the nations around Israel. Theirs had actually become a religion without life and one that was merely ceremonial. It had lost the sense of a true relationship with God.