Samuel has long been a popular Old Testament classic, and is currently just outside the Top 25, with close to 12,000 boys named Samuel annually. Its continued use is somewhat propelled by the likability of the friendly nickname Sam, which returned to favor along with fellow former cigar-chomping movie moguls Max and Jake. Sam is now often used on its own, for girls as well as boys.
In the Old Testament, Samuel was one of the great judges and prophets of the Israelites, destined for a holy life from birth. He established the Hebrew monarchy, anointing both Saul and David as kings.