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.”


  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

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