Philistines Take the Ark in Victory

So the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle, and they camped beside (A)Ebenezer, while the Philistines camped in (B)Aphek. Then the Philistines drew up in battle formation to meet Israel. When the battle [a]spread, Israel was [b]defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. When the people came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “(C)Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? (D)Let’s take the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent men to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord of armies (E)who is enthroned above the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord was coming into the camp, (F)all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “(G)Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who will save us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. (H)Take courage and be men, Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews, (I)as they have been slaves to you; so be men and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought and (J)Israel was defeated, and (K)every man fled to his tent; and the defeat was very great, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 Moreover, the ark of God was taken; and (L)the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with (M)his clothes torn, and [c]dust on his head. 13 When he came, behold, (N)Eli was sitting on his seat [d]by the road keeping watch, because his heart was anxious about the ark of God. And the man came to give a report in the city, and all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the noise of this commotion mean?” Then the man came hurriedly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and (O)his eyes were [e]fixed and he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” And he said, “(P)How are things, my son?” 17 Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great defeat among the people, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are also dead; and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, [f](Q)Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for [g]he was old and heavy. And so he judged Israel for forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God had been taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, because her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who were standing by her said to her, “(R)Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the boy [h]Ichabod, saying, “(S)The glory has departed from Israel,” because (T)the ark of God had been taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 So she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been taken.”

Capture of the Ark Provokes God

Now the Philistines took the ark of God and (U)brought it from Ebenezer to (V)Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into (W)the house of Dagon, and placed it beside Dagon. When the Ashdodites got up early the next day, behold, (X)Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and (Y)set him back in his place. But when they got up early the next morning, behold, (Z)Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; [i]only the torso of Dagon was left. For that reason neither the priests of Dagon nor any who enter Dagon’s house (AA)step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

Now (AB)the hand of the Lord was heavy on the Ashdodites, and (AC)He made them feel devastated and struck them with (AD)tumors, both Ashdod and its territories. When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, because His hand is severe on us and on Dagon our god.” So they sent word and (AE)gathered all the governors of the Philistines to them, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” And they said, “Have the ark of the God of Israel [j]brought to Gath.” So they took the ark of the God of Israel away. After they had taken it away, (AF)the hand of the Lord was against the city, creating a very great panic; and He struck the people of the city, from the young to the old, so that (AG)tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And as the ark of God came to Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to [k]us, to kill [l]us and [m]our people!” 11 Therefore they (AH)sent word and gathered all the governors of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel and let it return to its own place, so that it will not kill [n]us and [o]our people!” For there was a deadly panic throughout the city; (AI)the hand of God was very heavy there. 12 And the people who did not die were struck with tumors, and (AJ)the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

Now the ark of the Lord had been in the territory of the Philistines for seven months. And (AK)the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What are we to do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us [p]how we may send it to its place.” And they said, “If you are going to send the ark of the God of Israel away, (AL)do not send it empty; but you shall certainly (AM)return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be revealed to you why His hand does not leave you.” Then they said, “What is to be the guilt offering that we shall return to Him?” And they said, “Five gold (AN)tumors and five gold mice (AO)corresponding to the number of the governors of the Philistines, since one plague was on all of [q]you and on your governors. So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that are ruining the land, and (AP)you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps (AQ)He will lighten His hand from you, (AR)your gods, and your land. Why then do you harden your hearts (AS)as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, (AT)did they not let [r]the people go, and they left? Now then, take and (AU)prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there (AV)has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves back home, away from them. Then take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart; and put (AW)the articles of gold which you return to Him as (AX)a guilt offering in a saddlebag by its side. Then send it away that it may go. But watch: if it goes up by the way of its own territory to (AY)Beth-shemesh, then He has done this great evil to us. But if not, then (AZ)we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.”

10 Then the men did so: they took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut in their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the saddlebag with the gold mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 Now the cows went straight in the [s]direction of (BA)Beth-shemesh; they went on (BB)the same road, bellowing as they went, and did not turn off to the right or to the left. And the governors of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.

13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were gathering in their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced at seeing it. 14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stopped there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and (BC)offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And (BD)the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the saddlebag that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to the Lord. 16 When the (BE)five governors of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day.

17 Now (BF)these are the gold tumors which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, and one for Ekron; 18 and the gold mice, corresponding to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five governors, (BG)both of fortified cities and of country villages. (BH)The large [t]stone on which they placed the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.

19 (BI)Now He fatally struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck 50,070 men among the people, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, “(BJ)Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom will He go up from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of (BK)Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the Lord; come down and take it up to yourselves.”

Israel Saved from the Philistines

And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the Lord and (BL)brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and they [u]consecrated his son Eleazar to watch over the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the [v]time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel [w]mourned after the Lord.

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “(BM)If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then (BN)remove the foreign gods and the (BO)Ashtaroth from among you, and (BP)direct your hearts to the Lord and (BQ)serve Him alone; and He will save you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served the Lord alone.

Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to (BR)Mizpah and (BS)I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and (BT)poured it out before the Lord, and (BU)fasted on that day and said there, “(BV)We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.

Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the governors of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard about it, (BW)they were afraid of the Philistines. So the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “(BX)Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that He will save us from the hand of the Philistines!” Samuel took (BY)a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and (BZ)the Lord answered him. 10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines advanced to battle Israel. But (CA)the Lord thundered with a great [x]thunder on that day against the Philistines and (CB)confused them, so that they were struck down before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel came out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and killed them as far as below Beth-car.

12 Then Samuel (CC)took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it [y]Ebenezer, saying, “[z]So far the Lord has helped us.” 13 (CD)So the Philistines were subdued, and (CE)they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel [aa]recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and (CF)the Amorites.

Samuel’s Ministry

15 Now Samuel (CG)judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he used to go annually on a circuit to (CH)Bethel, (CI)Gilgal, and (CJ)Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would make his return to (CK)Ramah, because his house was there, and there he also judged Israel; and there he (CL)built an altar to the Lord.

Israel Demands a King

Now it came about, when Samuel was old, that (CM)he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in (CN)Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways but turned aside after dishonest gain, and they (CO)took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at (CP)Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now (CQ)appoint us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the matter was [ab](CR)displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And (CS)Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people regarding all that they say to you, because (CT)they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have abandoned Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you as well. Now then, listen to their voice; (CU)however, you shall warn them strongly and tell them of (CV)the [ac]practice of the king who will reign over them.”

Warning concerning a King

10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to (CW)the people who had asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “(CX)This will be the [ad]practice of the king who will reign over you: (CY)he will take your sons and put them in his chariots for himself and among his horsemen, and (CZ)they will run before his chariots. 12 (DA)He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to [ae]do his plowing and to gather in his harvest, and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters and use them as perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 (DB)He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take a tenth of your seed and your vineyards and give it to his high officials and his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants, and your best young men, and your donkeys, and [af]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then (DC)you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but (DD)the Lord will not answer you on that day.”

19 Yet the people (DE)refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 (DF)so that we also may be like all the nations, and our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, (DG)he [ag]repeated them in the Lords hearing. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “(DH)Listen to their voice and appoint a king for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, every man to his city.”

Saul’s Search

Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was (DI)Kish the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite, a [ah]valiant mighty man. He had a son whose name was Saul, a (DJ)young and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome man than he among the sons of Israel; (DK)from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Now take with you one of the servants and arise, go search for the donkeys.” So he passed through (DL)the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of (DM)Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of (DN)Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjaminites, but they did not find them.

When they came to the land of (DO)Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let’s return, (DP)or else my father will stop being concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious about us.” But he said to him, “Behold now, there is (DQ)a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; (DR)everything that he says definitely comes true. Now let’s go there, (DS)perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks and there is (DT)no gift to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will (DU)tell us our way.” (Previously in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let’s go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was previously called (DV)a seer.) 10 Then Saul said to his servant, “[ai]Good idea; come, let’s go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the slope to the city, (DW)they found young women going out to draw water, and they said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered them and said, “He is; [aj]see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, because (DX)the people have a sacrifice on (DY)the high place today. 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 until he comes, because (DZ)he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now then, go up, for you will find him about this time.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.

God’s Choice for King

15 Now a day before Saul’s coming, (EA)the Lord had [ak]revealed this to Samuel, saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and (EB)you shall anoint him as ruler over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For (EC)I have considered My people, because their outcry has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord [al]said to him, “(ED)Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 And Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you everything that is on your mind. 20 (EE)And as for your donkeys that wandered off three days ago, do not be concerned about them, for they have been found. And (EF)for whom is everything that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21 Saul replied, “(EG)Am I not a Benjaminite, of (EH)the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the [am]tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, who were about thirty men. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “[an]Serve the portion that I gave you about which I said to you, ‘Set it [ao]aside.’” 24 Then the cook (EI)took up the leg with what was on it and placed it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved! Place it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, [ap]since I said I have invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they came down from the high place into the city, [aq]Samuel spoke with Saul (EJ)on the roof. 26 And they got up early; and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” So Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Speak to the servant and have him go on ahead of us and pass by; but you stand here now, so that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”

Saul among the Prophets

10 Then (EK)Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on [ar]Saul’s head, (EL)kissed him, and said, “Has (EM)the Lord not anointed you as ruler over (EN)His inheritance? When you leave me today, then you will find two men close to (EO)Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘(EP)The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has stopped talking about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What am I to do about my son?”’ Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the [as](EQ)oak of Tabor, and there three men going up (ER)to God at Bethel will meet you: one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine. And they will [at]greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. Afterward you will come to [au](ES)the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet (ET)a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre in front of them, and (EU)they will be prophesying. Then (EV)the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and (EW)you will prophesy with them and be changed into a different man. And it shall be when these signs come to you, (EX)do for yourself what [av]the occasion requires, because (EY)God is with you. And (EZ)you shall go down ahead of me to Gilgal; and behold, I will be coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and (FA)sacrifice peace offerings. (FB)You shall wait seven days until I come to you and inform you of what you should do.”

Then it happened, when he turned his back to leave Samuel, that God (FC)changed [aw]his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 (FD)When they came there to [ax]the hill, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, so that he prophesied among them. 11 And it came about, when all who previously knew him saw that he was indeed prophesying with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? (FE)Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man from there responded and said, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a saying: “(FF)Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

14 Now (FG)Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “(FH)To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 So Saul said to his uncle, “(FI)He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell him about the matter of the kingdom which Samuel had mentioned.

Saul Publicly Chosen King

17 Now Samuel called the (FJ)people together to the Lord at Mizpah; 18 and he said to the sons of Israel, “(FK)This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the [ay]power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you (FL)have rejected your God, who saves you from all your catastrophes and your distresses; yet you have [az]said, ‘No, but put a king over us!’ Now then, (FM)present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your [ba]groups of thousands.”

20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel forward; and the tribe of Benjamin was selected by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin forward by its families, and the Matrite family was selected by lot. And Saul the son of Kish was selected by lot; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore (FN)they inquired further of the Lord: “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Behold, he is hiding himself among the baggage.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, (FO)he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him (FP)whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “[bb](FQ)Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people (FR)the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book, and (FS)placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26 Saul also went (FT)to his house in Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But certain [bc](FU)useless men said, “How can this one save us?” And they despised him and (FV)did not bring him a gift. But [bd]he kept silent about it.

Saul Defeats the Ammonites

11 Now (FW)Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged (FX)Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make (FY)a covenant with us and we will serve you.” But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, (FZ)that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, and thereby I will inflict (GA)a disgrace on all Israel.” So (GB)the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Allow us seven days to send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.” Then the messengers came (GC)to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people (GD)raised their voices and wept.

Now behold, Saul was coming from the field (GE)behind the oxen, and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they reported to him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then (GF)the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and [be]he became very angry. He then took a yoke of oxen and (GG)cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “(GH)Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, the same shall be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out (GI)as one person. He [bf]counted them in (GJ)Bezek; and the (GK)sons of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah, thirty thousand. They said to the messengers who had come, “This is what you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will be saved.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they rejoiced. 10 Then the men of Jabesh said, “(GL)Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good [bg]to you.” 11 The next morning Saul put the people (GM)in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch, and struck and killed the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “(GN)Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ [bh](GO)Bring the men, so that we may put them to death!” 13 But Saul said, “(GP)Not a single person shall be put to death this day, for today (GQ)the Lord has brought about [bi]victory in Israel.”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, and let us go to (GR)Gilgal and (GS)renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king (GT)before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also (GU)offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

Samuel Addresses Israel

12 Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, (GV)I have listened to your voice for all that you said to me, and I (GW)have appointed a king over you. Now, (GX)here is the king walking before you, but as for me, (GY)I am old and gray, and (GZ)my sons are here with you. And (HA)I have walked before you since my youth to this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and (HB)His anointed. (HC)Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I exploited? Whom have I oppressed, or (HD)from whose hand have I taken a bribe to close my eyes with it? I will return it to you.” And they said, “You have not exploited us or oppressed us, or taken anything from anyone’s hand.” So he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that (HE)you have found nothing (HF)in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”

Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who [bj](HG)appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now then, take your stand, (HH)so that I may enter into judgment with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord that He did for you and your fathers. (HI)When Jacob went into Egypt and (HJ)your fathers cried out to the Lord, then (HK)the Lord sent Moses and Aaron [bk](HL)who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But (HM)they forgot the Lord their God, so (HN)He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, and (HO)into the hand of the Philistines, and (HP)into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 (HQ)They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have abandoned the Lord and have served (HR)the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but (HS)now save us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent (HT)Jerubbaal, [bl](HU)Bedan, (HV)Jephthah, and (HW)Samuel, and saved you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.

The King Confirmed

12 But when you saw (HX)that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon was coming against you, you said to me, ‘(HY)No, but a king shall reign over us!’ (HZ)Yet the Lord your God was your king. 13 And now, (IA)behold, the king whom you have chosen, (IB)whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has [bm]put a king over you. 14 (IC)If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the [bn]command of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 But (ID)if you do not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the [bo]command of the Lord, then (IE)the hand of the Lord will be against you, (IF)even as it was against your fathers. 16 Even now, (IG)take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord is going to do before your eyes. 17 (IH)Is it not the wheat harvest today? (II)I will call to the Lord, that He will send [bp]thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that (IJ)your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord, by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent [bq]thunder and rain that day; and (IK)all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “(IL)Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we do not die; for we have added to all our sins (IM)this evil, by asking for ourselves a king.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet (IN)do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Indeed, you must not turn aside, for then you would go after (IO)useless things which cannot benefit or save, because they are useless. 22 For (IP)the Lord will not abandon His people (IQ)on account of His great name, because the Lord (IR)has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Furthermore, as for me, (IS)far be it from me that I would sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but (IT)I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 (IU)Only [br]fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider (IV)what great things He has done for you. 25 (IW)But if you still do evil, (IX)both you and your king (IY)will be swept away.”

War with the Philistines

13 Saul was [bs]thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for [bt]forty-two years over Israel.

Now Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel, of whom two thousand were with Saul in (IZ)Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while a thousand were with Jonathan at (JA)Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent the rest of the people away, each to his tent. And Jonathan attacked (JB)the garrison of the Philistines that was in (JC)Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul (JD)blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” And all Israel heard [bu]the news that Saul had attacked the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel (JE)had become repulsive to the Philistines. Then the people were summoned [bv]to Saul at Gilgal.

Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and (JF)people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of (JG)Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard-pressed), then (JH)the people kept themselves hidden in caves, in crevices, in cliffs, in crypts, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of (JI)Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him, trembling.

Now (JJ)he waited for seven days, until the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And (JK)he offered the burnt offering. 10 But as soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and (JL)Saul went out to meet him and to [bw]greet him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Since I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come at the appointed [bx]time, and that (JM)the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 I [by]thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not [bz]asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I worked up the courage and offered the burnt offering.” 13 But Samuel said to Saul, “(JN)You have acted foolishly! (JO)You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for the Lord would now have established your kingdom [ca]over Israel (JP)forever. 14 But (JQ)now your kingdom shall not endure. (JR)The Lord has sought for Himself a man [cb]after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

15 Then Samuel set out and went up from Gilgal to (JS)Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul [cc]counted the people who were [cd]present with him, (JT)about six hundred men. 16 Now Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who were [ce]present with them were staying in (JU)Geba of Benjamin while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17 Then (JV)[cf]raiders came from the camp of the Philistines in three [cg]companies: one [ch]company turned [ci]toward (JW)Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 and another [cj]company turned [ck]toward (JX)Beth-horon, and another [cl]company turned [cm]toward the border that overlooks the Valley of (JY)Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now (JZ)no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, because the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make [cn](KA)swords or spears.” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21 The charge was [co]two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the [cp]cattle goads. 22 So it came about on the day of battle that (KB)neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. 23 And (KC)the garrison of the Philistines went out to (KD)the gorge of Michmash.

Jonathan’s Victory

14 Now the day came that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come, and let’s cross over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts of (KE)Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is in (KF)Migron. And the people who were with him numbered (KG)about six hundred men; and Ahijah, the (KH)son of Ahitub, (KI)Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of the Lord at (KJ)Shiloh, (KK)was [cq]wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. Now (KL)between the gorges by which Jonathan sought to cross over to the Philistines’ garrison there was a rocky crag on the one side, and a rocky crag on the other side; and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other, Seneh. The one crag rose on the north opposite Michmash, and the other on the south opposite Geba.

Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come, and let’s cross over to the garrison of (KM)these uncircumcised men; perhaps the Lord will work for us, because (KN)the Lord is not limited to saving by many or by few!” His armor bearer said to him, “Do everything that is in your heart; turn yourself to it, and here I am with you, as your heart desires.” Then Jonathan said, “(KO)Behold, we are going to cross over to the men and reveal ourselves to them. If they [cr]say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you’; then we will stand in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they [cs]say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has handed them over to us; and (KP)this shall be the sign to us.” 11 When the two of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, the Philistines said, “Behold, (KQ)Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have kept themselves hidden.” 12 So the men of the garrison responded to Jonathan and his armor bearer and said, “Come up to us and (KR)we will inform you of something.” And Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me, for (KS)the Lord has handed them over to Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer behind him; and the men fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer put some to death after him. 14 Now that first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer inflicted was about twenty men within about half a furrow in an acre of land. 15 And there was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. Even the garrison and (KT)the raiders trembled, and (KU)the earth quaked so (KV)that it became a [ct]great trembling.

16 Now Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude dissolved; they went here and there. 17 So Saul said to the people who were with him, “Look carefully now and see who has left us.” And when they had looked, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 18 Then Saul said to Ahijah, “(KW)Bring the ark of God here.” For at that time the ark of God was with the sons of Israel. 19 (KX)While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, (KY)every man’s sword was against his fellow Philistine, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even (KZ)they also returned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the (LA)men of Israel who had kept themselves hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they also closely pursued them in the battle. 23 So (LB)the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle [cu]spread beyond (LC)Beth-aven.

Saul’s Foolish Order

24 Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had (LD)put the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food [cv]before evening, and before I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, behold, (LE)there was honey dripping; but no man put his hand to his mouth, because the people feared the oath. 27 However, Jonathan had not heard it when his father put the people under oath; so (LF)he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and (LG)his eyes [cw]brightened. 28 Then one of the people responded and said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary. 29 Then Jonathan said, “(LH)My father has troubled the land. See now that my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if only the people had freely eaten today of the spoils of their enemies which they found! For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

31 They attacked the Philistines that day from (LI)Michmash to (LJ)Aijalon. But the people were very tired. 32 So (LK)the people loudly rushed upon the spoils, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them (LL)with the blood. 33 Then observers informed Saul, saying, “Look, the people are (LM)sinning against the Lord by eating meat with the blood.” And he said, “You have acted treacherously; roll a large rock to me today.” 34 Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and slaughter it here and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating it with the blood.’” So all the people brought them that night, each one his ox [cx]with him, and they slaughtered them there. 35 And (LN)Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Then Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines by night and take plunder among them until the morning light, and let’s not leave a man among them alive.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good [cy]to you.” So (LO)the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.” 37 So Saul (LP)inquired of God: “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?” But (LQ)He did not answer him on that day. 38 Then Saul said, “(LR)[cz]Come here, all you [da]leaders of the people, and investigate and see how this sin has happened today. 39 For (LS)as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, even if it is in my son Jonathan, he shall assuredly die!” But not one of all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good [db]to you.” 41 Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “(LT)Give a [dc]perfect lot.” And Jonathan and Saul were selected by lot, but the people [dd]were exonerated. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast lots between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was selected by lot.

43 So Saul said to Jonathan, “(LU)Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, and said, “(LV)I did indeed taste a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 And Saul said, “(LW)May God do the same to me and more also, for (LX)you shall certainly die, Jonathan!” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, he who has [de]brought about this great [df]victory in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, (LY)not even a hair of his head shall fall to the ground, because (LZ)he has worked with God this day.” So the people [dg]rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from [dh]pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

Constant Warfare

47 Now when Saul had taken control of the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, (MA)the sons of Ammon, Edom, (MB)the kings of Zobah, and (MC)the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he [di]inflicted punishment. 48 And he acted valiantly and [dj](MD)defeated the Amalekites, and saved Israel from the hands of [dk]those who plundered them.

49 Now (ME)the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was (MF)Merab, and the name of the younger, (MG)Michal. 50 And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And (MH)the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 (MI)Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 Now the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any warrior or any valiant man, he [dl](MJ)attached him to his staff.


  1. 1 Samuel 4:2 Or was over
  2. 1 Samuel 4:2 Lit struck before
  3. 1 Samuel 4:12 Lit soil
  4. 1 Samuel 4:13 LXX beside the gate watching the road
  5. 1 Samuel 4:15 I.e., possibly unable to focus
  6. 1 Samuel 4:18 Lit he
  7. 1 Samuel 4:18 Lit the man
  8. 1 Samuel 4:21 I.e., no glory, or where is the glory?
  9. 1 Samuel 5:4 As in ancient versions; MT only Dagon
  10. 1 Samuel 5:8 Lit turn to
  11. 1 Samuel 5:10 Lit me
  12. 1 Samuel 5:10 Lit me
  13. 1 Samuel 5:10 Lit my
  14. 1 Samuel 5:11 Lit me
  15. 1 Samuel 5:11 Lit my
  16. 1 Samuel 6:2 Or what...send with it
  17. 1 Samuel 6:4 Lit them
  18. 1 Samuel 6:6 Lit them
  19. 1 Samuel 6:12 Lit way
  20. 1 Samuel 6:18 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT Abel
  21. 1 Samuel 7:1 Lit made holy; i.e., ordained
  22. 1 Samuel 7:2 Lit days increased
  23. 1 Samuel 7:2 Or followed after
  24. 1 Samuel 7:10 Lit voice
  25. 1 Samuel 7:12 I.e., the stone of help
  26. 1 Samuel 7:12 Lit As far as here
  27. 1 Samuel 7:14 Lit saved
  28. 1 Samuel 8:6 Or evil
  29. 1 Samuel 8:9 Lit custom
  30. 1 Samuel 8:11 Lit custom
  31. 1 Samuel 8:12 Lit plow his plowing
  32. 1 Samuel 8:16 Lit make
  33. 1 Samuel 8:21 Lit spoke
  34. 1 Samuel 9:1 Or man of wealth and influence
  35. 1 Samuel 9:10 Lit Your word is good
  36. 1 Samuel 9:12 Or behold
  37. 1 Samuel 9:15 Lit opened Samuel’s ear
  38. 1 Samuel 9:17 Lit answered
  39. 1 Samuel 9:21 As in some ancient versions; MT tribes
  40. 1 Samuel 9:23 Lit Give
  41. 1 Samuel 9:23 Lit with you
  42. 1 Samuel 9:24 Lit saying
  43. 1 Samuel 9:25 LXX they spread a bed for Saul on the roof
  44. 1 Samuel 10:1 Lit his
  45. 1 Samuel 10:3 Or terebinth
  46. 1 Samuel 10:4 Lit inquire of your welfare
  47. 1 Samuel 10:5 Or Gibeath-haelohim
  48. 1 Samuel 10:7 Lit your hand finds
  49. 1 Samuel 10:9 Lit for him another heart
  50. 1 Samuel 10:10 Or Gibeath
  51. 1 Samuel 10:18 Lit hand
  52. 1 Samuel 10:19 As in several mss and ancient versions; MT said to Him
  53. 1 Samuel 10:19 Or clans
  54. 1 Samuel 10:24 Lit May the king live
  55. 1 Samuel 10:27 Or wicked; lit sons of Belial
  56. 1 Samuel 10:27 A mutilated DSS fragment of uncertain reliability (4QSama) adds here that Nahash (11:1) gouged out the right eyes of Israelites
  57. 1 Samuel 11:6 Lit his anger burned exceedingly
  58. 1 Samuel 11:8 Lit mustered
  59. 1 Samuel 11:10 Lit in your sight
  60. 1 Samuel 11:12 Lit Give
  61. 1 Samuel 11:13 Or deliverance in
  62. 1 Samuel 12:6 Lit made
  63. 1 Samuel 12:8 Lit and they brought
  64. 1 Samuel 12:11 LXX and Syriac Barak
  65. 1 Samuel 12:13 Lit given
  66. 1 Samuel 12:14 Lit mouth
  67. 1 Samuel 12:15 Lit mouth
  68. 1 Samuel 12:17 Lit sounds
  69. 1 Samuel 12:18 Lit sounds
  70. 1 Samuel 12:24 Or revere
  71. 1 Samuel 13:1 As in some LXX mss, but very uncertain; MT one year old
  72. 1 Samuel 13:1 See Acts 13:21; Heb two years
  73. 1 Samuel 13:4 Lit saying
  74. 1 Samuel 13:4 Lit after
  75. 1 Samuel 13:10 Lit bless
  76. 1 Samuel 13:11 Lit time of days
  77. 1 Samuel 13:12 Lit said
  78. 1 Samuel 13:12 Or appeased
  79. 1 Samuel 13:13 Lit to
  80. 1 Samuel 13:14 Lit like His
  81. 1 Samuel 13:15 Lit mustered
  82. 1 Samuel 13:15 Lit found
  83. 1 Samuel 13:16 Lit found
  84. 1 Samuel 13:17 Lit destroyers
  85. 1 Samuel 13:17 Lit heads
  86. 1 Samuel 13:17 Lit head
  87. 1 Samuel 13:17 Lit to the way of
  88. 1 Samuel 13:18 Lit head
  89. 1 Samuel 13:18 Lit the way of
  90. 1 Samuel 13:18 Lit head
  91. 1 Samuel 13:18 Lit the way of
  92. 1 Samuel 13:19 Lit sword or spear
  93. 1 Samuel 13:21 Heb pim
  94. 1 Samuel 13:21 I.e., spiked sticks for driving cattle
  95. 1 Samuel 14:3 Lit carrying
  96. 1 Samuel 14:9 Lit say thus
  97. 1 Samuel 14:10 Lit say thus
  98. 1 Samuel 14:15 Lit trembling of God
  99. 1 Samuel 14:23 Lit passed over
  100. 1 Samuel 14:24 Lit until
  101. 1 Samuel 14:27 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT saw
  102. 1 Samuel 14:34 Lit with his hand
  103. 1 Samuel 14:36 Lit in your eyes
  104. 1 Samuel 14:38 Lit Approach here
  105. 1 Samuel 14:38 Lit cornerstones
  106. 1 Samuel 14:40 Lit in your eyes
  107. 1 Samuel 14:41 I.e., a clear answer
  108. 1 Samuel 14:41 Lit got out
  109. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit worked
  110. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit deliverance
  111. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit ransomed
  112. 1 Samuel 14:46 Lit after
  113. 1 Samuel 14:47 Or condemned
  114. 1 Samuel 14:48 Lit struck
  115. 1 Samuel 14:48 Lit its plunderer
  116. 1 Samuel 14:52 Lit brought him in to himself

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