His status, as viewed by rabbinical literature, is that he was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras.
In the Biblical narrative, Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah; the other, Peninnah, bore a child to Elkanah, but Hannah remained childless. Nevertheless, Elkanah preferred Hannah. Every year Elkanah would offer a sacrifice at the Shiloh sanctuary, and give Hannah twice as big a portion of it as he would to Penninah. One day Hannah went up to the temple, and prayed silently, while Eli the High Priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost. In her prayer she begs for a child in return for giving the child up, putting him in the service of the Shiloh priests, and raising him as a nazir.
10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."Eli thought she was drunk and questioned her, but when she explained herself he says, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him." (1 Samuel 1:17). That night she went home with her husband, they had marital relations, and she became pregnant. As promised, when the child was born, she raised him as a nazarite (nazir)and put him into the service of the Shiloh priests, then she sang/prayed a song of praise for his birth - the Song of Hannah. Subsequently, when the child proved himself a good worker, Eli blesses Hannah again, and Hannah has four or five more children. (From the text it is unclear whether she had five children total, or five in addition to Samuel 1 Samuel 2:21.)
—1 Samuel 1:10-11
Some authors see the biblical Samuel as combining descriptions of two distinct roles:
1. A seer: (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, "Come, let us go to the seer," for today’s "prophet" was formerly called a seer.) 1 Samuel 9:9) , based at Ramah, and seemingly known scarcely beyond the immediate neighbourhood of Ramah (Saul, for example, not having heard of him, with his servant informing him of his existence instead). In this role, Samuel is associated with the bands of musical ecstatic roaming prophets (shouters - neb'im) at Gibeah, Bethel, and Gilgal, and some traditional scholars have argued that Samuel was the founder of these groups. At Ramah, Samuel secretly anoints Saul, after having met him for the first time, while Saul was looking for his father's flock, and treated him to a meal.
2. A prophet: based at Shiloh, who went throughout the land, from place to place, with unwearied zeal, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the people to repentance. In this role, Samuel acted as a (biblical) judge, publicly advising the nation, and also giving private advice to individuals. Eventually Samuel delegates this role to his sons, based at Beersheba, but they behave corruptly and so the people, facing invasion from the Ammonites, persuade Samuel to appoint a king. Samuel reluctantly does so, and anoints Saul in front of the entire nation, who had gathered to see him.