So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark(A) of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s(B) house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim(C) a long time—twenty years in all.

Samuel Subdues the Philistines at Mizpah

Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord.(D) So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning(E) to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid(F) yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths(G) and commit(H) yourselves to the Lord and serve him only,(I) and he will deliver(J) you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

Then Samuel(K) said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah,(L) and I will intercede(M) with the Lord for you.” When they had assembled at Mizpah,(N) they drew water and poured(O) it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a](P) of Israel at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid(Q) because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying(R) out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel(S) took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.(T)

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered(U) with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic(V) that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

12 Then Samuel took a stone(W) and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[b](X) saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

13 So the Philistines were subdued(Y) and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 14 The towns from Ekron(Z) to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.(AA)

15 Samuel(AB) continued as Israel’s leader(AC) all(AD) the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel(AE) to Gilgal(AF) to Mizpah, judging(AG) Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah,(AH) where his home was, and there he also held court(AI) for Israel. And he built an altar(AJ) there to the Lord.

Israel Asks for a King

When Samuel grew old, he appointed(AK) his sons as Israel’s leaders.[c] The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah,(AL) and they served at Beersheba.(AM) But his sons(AN) did not follow his ways. They turned aside(AO) after dishonest gain and accepted bribes(AP) and perverted(AQ) justice.

So all the elders(AR) of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.(AS) They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king(AT) to lead[d](AU) us, such as all the other nations(AV) have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king(AW) to lead us,” this displeased(AX) Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen(AY) to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected,(AZ) but they have rejected me as their king.(BA) As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking(BB) me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know(BC) what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel told(BD) all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take(BE) your sons and make them serve(BF) with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.(BG) 12 Some he will assign to be commanders(BH) of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your(BI) fields and vineyards(BJ) and olive groves and give them to his attendants.(BK) 15 He will take a tenth(BL) of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[e] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer(BM) you in that day.(BN)

19 But the people refused(BO) to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want(BP) a king(BQ) over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations,(BR) with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated(BS) it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen(BT) to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”


  1. 1 Samuel 7:6 Traditionally judge; also in verse 15
  2. 1 Samuel 7:12 Ebenezer means stone of help.
  3. 1 Samuel 8:1 Traditionally judges
  4. 1 Samuel 8:5 Traditionally judge; also in verses 6 and 20
  5. 1 Samuel 8:16 Septuagint; Hebrew young men

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