1 Samuel 6-10 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Ark Returned to Israel
6 Now the ark of the Lord had been in the country of the Philistines for seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners (seers), saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Let us know how we can send it back to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty [without a gift]; but be sure to return [it] to Him [together with] a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you.” 4 Then they said, “What shall the guilt offering be which we shall return to Him?” They answered, “[a]Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords (governors) of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you shall make replicas of your tumors and of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten His hand [of judgment] on you and your gods and your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts [allowing pride to cause your downfall] just as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them and mocked them, did they not allow the people [of Israel] to go, and they departed? 7 Now then, make a new cart and prepare two [b]milk cows on which a yoke has never been placed; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves back home, away from them. 8 Then take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a guilt offering in a box beside it. Then send it away [without a driver]. 9 But watch, [c]if it goes up by the way of its own territory to [d]Beth-shemesh, then [you will know that] He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; this disaster happened to us by chance.”
10 And the men did so, and took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and corralled their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box containing the golden mice and the replicas of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight toward Beth-shemesh along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn away to the right or the left. And the Philistine lords (governors) followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 Now the men of Beth-shemesh were gathering their wheat harvest in the valley, and they looked up and saw the ark and rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A large stone was there; and the men split up the wood of the cart [for firewood] and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites had taken down the ark of the Lord and the box beside 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 made sacrifices that day to the Lord. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw what happened, they returned to Ekron that day.
17 These are the golden 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 [the five chief cities of the Philistines]; 18 also the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and [unwalled] country villages. The large stone on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord remains a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
19 The Lord struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck down 50,070 men among the people, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the residents of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”
Rescue from the Philistines
7 So the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and they consecrated Eleazar his son to care for the ark of the Lord. 2 And from that day the ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a very long time, for it was twenty years [until the reign of King David]; and all the house of Israel lamented (wailed) and grieved after the Lord.
3 Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth (pagan goddesses) from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only; and He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone.
5 Samuel said, “Gather all Israel together at Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the Israelites at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the lords (governors) of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the Israelites heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, so that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines approached for the battle against Israel. Then the Lord thundered with a great voice that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated and fled before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel came out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as [the territory] below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer (stone of help), saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore into Israelite territory. 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 to Gath; and Israel recovered the cities’ territory from the Philistines. Also there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He used to go annually on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there; and there he judged Israel, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Israel Demands a King
8 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Look, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.” 6 But their demand [e]displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge and rule over us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them. 8 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 (rejected) Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 So now listen to their voice; only solemnly warn them and tell them the ways of the king who will reign over them.”
Warning concerning a King
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them for himself to his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a 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 your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his servants. 18 Then you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you on that day [because you have rejected Him as King].”
19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 so that we too may be like all the nations [around us], that our king may judge [and govern] us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Samuel had heard all the words of the people and repeated them [f]to the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their [g]request and appoint a king for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each man to his own city.”
9 There was a man of [the tribe of] Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of influence and wealth. 2 Kish had a son named Saul, a choice and handsome man; among the sons of Israel there was not a man more handsome than he. From his shoulders and up he was [a head] taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off and were lost. Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you and arise, go look for the donkeys.” 4 And they passed through the hill country of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there and the land of the Benjamites, but they [still] did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 6 The servant said to him, “Look here, in this city there is a man of God, and the man is held in honor; everything that he says comes true. Now let us go there; perhaps he can advise us about our journey [and tell us where we should go].” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go [to see him], what shall we bring to the man? For the bread from our sacks is gone and there is no gift to bring to the man of God. What do we have [to offer]?” 8 The servant replied again to Saul, “Here in my hand I have a quarter of a shekel of silver; I will give that to the man of God, and he will advise us as to [where we should go on] our journey [to find the donkeys].” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say, “Come, let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet today was formerly called a seer.) 10 Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was living.
11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer (prophet) here?” 12 They answered them, “He is; look, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today because the people have a sacrifice on the high place today. 13 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 he must ask the blessing on the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. So go up now, for about now you will find him.” 14 So they went up to the city. And as they came into the city, there was Samuel coming out toward them to go up to the high place.
God’s Choice for King
15 Now a day before Saul came, the Lord had [h]informed Samuel [of this], saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him as leader over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon [the distress of] My people, because their cry [for help] has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There is the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall rule over My people [as their king].” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the [city] gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go on 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 all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not be concerned about them, for they have been found. And for whom are all things that are desirable in Israel? Are they not for you and for all your father’s household (family)?” 21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjamite, of [i]the smallest of the tribes of Israel? And is not my family the smallest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken this way to me [as if I were very important]?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall [at the high place] and gave them a place [to sit] at the head of the persons—about thirty men—who were invited [while the rest ate outside]. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the [priests’] portion that I gave you, regarding which I told you, ‘Set it aside.’” 24 Then the cook lifted up the leg (thigh) with the meat that was on it [indicating that it was the priest’s honored portion] and placed it before Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved [for you]. Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, ever since I invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 When they came down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the [j]roof [of his house]. 26 They got up early [the next day]; and at dawn Samuel called Saul [who was sleeping] on the roof, saying, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went outside. 27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us so that he may pass by but you stand still now so that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”
Saul among Prophets
10 Then Samuel took the flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head, kissed him, and said, “Has the Lord not anointed you as ruler over His inheritance (Israel)? 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men beside Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went to look for have been found. And your father has stopped caring about them and is worried about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you will go on further from there, and you will come to the terebinth tree of Tabor, and three men going up to [sacrifice to] God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine. 4 They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. 5 After that you will come to [k]the hill of God where the garrison of the Philistines is; and when you come there to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place [of worship] with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you will prophesy with them, and you will be changed into another man. 7 When these signs come to you, do for yourself whatever [l]the situation requires, for God is with you. 8 You shall go down ahead of me to Gilgal; and behold, I will be coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you must do.”
9 Then it happened when Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came on him mightily, and he prophesied [under divine guidance] among them. 11 Now when all who knew Saul previously saw that he actually prophesied now [by inspiration] with the prophets, the people said one to another, “What has happened to [Saul, who is nobody but] the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man from there answered, “But who is the father of the others?” So it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When Saul had finished prophesying, he went to the high place [of worship].
14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And Saul said, “To look for the donkeys. And when we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel [for help].” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me, what did Samuel say to you?” 16 And Saul said to his uncle, “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 Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, 18 and he said to Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought Israel up from Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God, who Himself saves you from all your disasters and distresses; yet you have said, ‘No! Set a king over us.’ Now then, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your families (clans).”
20 And when Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by their families, and the family of Matri was chosen by lot. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen by lot; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord answered, “He is there, hiding himself by the [m]provisions and supplies.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? For there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel told the people the [n]requirements of the kingdom, and wrote them in a book and placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went home to Gibeah; and the [o]brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But some [p]worthless men said, “How can this man save and rescue us?” And they regarded Saul with contempt and did not bring him a gift. But he ignored the insult and kept silent.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.