The Philistines and the Ark

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from (A)Ebenezer to (B)Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside (C)Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, (D)Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, (E)and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon (F)do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

(G)The hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with (H)tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all (I)the lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, (J)the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that (K)tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 (L)They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. (M)The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with (N)tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and (O)the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him (P)a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why (Q)his hand does not turn away from you.” And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden (R)tumors and five golden mice, (S)according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. So you must make images of your (T)tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, (U)and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps (V)he will lighten his hand from off you (W)and your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as (X)the Egyptians and (Y)Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, (Z)did they not send the people away, and they departed? Now then, take and prepare (AA)a new cart and two milk cows (AB)on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side (AC)the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as (AD)a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to (AE)Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not (AF)his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of (AG)Beth-shemesh along (AH)one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of (AI)Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of (AJ)Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. (AK)A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon (AL)the great stone. And the men of (AM)Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when (AN)the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a (AO)guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, (AP)both fortified cities and unwalled villages. (AQ)The great stone beside which they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

19 (AR)And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them,[a] and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, (AS)“Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of (AT)Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of (AU)Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

Samuel Judges Israel

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, (AV)“If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then (AW)put away the foreign gods and the (AX)Ashtaroth from among you and (AY)direct your heart to the Lord (AZ)and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at (BA)Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at (BB)Mizpah (BC)and drew water and poured it out before the Lord (BD)and fasted on that day and said there, (BE)“We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And (BF)Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. (BG)But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

12 Then Samuel (BH)took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen[b] and called its name Ebenezer;[c] for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 (BI)So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

15 (BJ)Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to (BK)Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. (BL)And he built there an altar to the Lord.

Israel Demands a King

When Samuel became old, (BM)he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways (BN)but turned aside after gain. (BO)They took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at (BP)Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. (BQ)Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, (BR)for they have not rejected you, (BS)but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them (BT)and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Samuel's Warning Against Kings

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, (BU)“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: (BV)he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some (BW)to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 (BX)He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[d] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, (BY)but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

The Lord Grants Israel's Request

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 (BZ)that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, (CA)“Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

Saul Chosen to Be King

There was a man of Benjamin whose name was (CB)Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. And he had a son whose name was Saul, (CC)a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. (CD)From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” And he passed through (CE)the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of (CF)Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant[e] who was with him, “Come, let us go back, (CG)lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” But he said to him, “Behold, there is (CH)a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; (CI)all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, (CJ)what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel[f] of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” (Formerly in Israel, when a man (CK)went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today's “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 10 And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the hill to the city, (CL)they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people (CM)have a sacrifice today on (CN)the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, (CO)the Lord had (CP)revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, (CQ)and you shall anoint him to be prince[g] over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. (CR)For I have seen[h] my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, (CS)“Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 (CT)As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, (CU)from the least of the tribes of Israel? (CV)And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Put it aside.’” 24 So the cook took up (CW)the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.”[i]

So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul (CX)on the roof, and he lay down to sleep.[j] 26 Then at the break of dawn[k] Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Up, that I may send you on your way.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”

Saul Anointed King

10 (CY)Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head (CZ)and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince[l] over (DA)his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince[m] over his heritage. When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by (DB)Rachel's tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you, (DC)‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now (DD)your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the (DE)oak of Tabor. Three men (DF)going up (DG)to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. After that you shall come to (DH)Gibeath-elohim,[n] (DI)where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down (DJ)from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. (DK)Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, (DL)and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. Now when (DM)these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, (DN)for God is with you. Then go down before me (DO)to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and (DP)to sacrifice peace offerings. (DQ)Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”

When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to (DR)Gibeah,[o] behold, a group of prophets met him, (DS)and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? (DT)Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, (DU)“And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, (DV)“Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

14 (DW)Saul's uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, (DX)“To seek the donkeys. And when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 And Saul's uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 And Saul said to his uncle, (DY)“He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

Saul Proclaimed King

17 Now Samuel called the people together (DZ)to the Lord (EA)at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, (EB)“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 (EC)But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore (ED)present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.”

20 Then Samuel (EE)brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot;[p] and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 (EF)So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, (EG)he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him (EH)whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, (EI)“Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people (EJ)the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went to his home (EK)at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some (EL)worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 6:19 Most Hebrew manuscripts struck of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men
  2. 1 Samuel 7:12 Hebrew; Septuagint, Syriac Jeshanah
  3. 1 Samuel 7:12 Ebenezer means stone of help
  4. 1 Samuel 8:16 Septuagint cattle
  5. 1 Samuel 9:5 Hebrew young man; also verses 7, 8, 10, 27
  6. 1 Samuel 9:8 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
  7. 1 Samuel 9:16 Or leader
  8. 1 Samuel 9:16 Septuagint adds the affliction of
  9. 1 Samuel 9:24 Hebrew appointed, saying, ‘I have invited the people’
  10. 1 Samuel 9:25 Septuagint; Hebrew city, he spoke with Saul on the roof
  11. 1 Samuel 9:26 Septuagint; Hebrew And they arose early, and at the break of dawn
  12. 1 Samuel 10:1 Or leader
  13. 1 Samuel 10:1 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks over his people Israel? And you shall…. to be prince
  14. 1 Samuel 10:5 Gibeath-elohim means the hill of God
  15. 1 Samuel 10:10 Gibeah means the hill
  16. 1 Samuel 10:21 Septuagint adds finally he brought the family of the Matrites near, man by man

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