So the people of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark of the Lord and took it to Abinadab’s house on the hill.(A) They consecrated his son Eleazar to take care of it.

Victory at Mizpah

Time went by until twenty years had passed since the ark had been taken to Kiriath-jearim. Then the whole house of Israel longed for the Lord. Samuel told them, “If you(B) are returning to the Lord(C) with all your heart,(D) get rid of the foreign gods(E) and the Ashtoreths that are among you, set your hearts on the Lord, and worship only him.(F) Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths(G) and only worshiped the Lord.

Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah,(H) and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.”(I) When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the Lord’s presence.(J) They fasted that day,(K) and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.”(L) And Samuel judged the Israelites at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their rulers marched up toward Israel. When the Israelites heard about it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, so that he will save us from the Philistines.”

Then Samuel took a young lamb(M) and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on behalf of Israel, and the Lord answered him.(N) 10 Samuel was offering the burnt offering as the Philistines approached to fight against Israel. The Lord thundered loudly(O) against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel.(P) 11 Then the men of Israel charged out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines striking them down all the way to a place below Beth-car.

12 Afterward, Samuel took a stone and set it upright(Q) between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[a] explaining, “The Lord has helped us to this point.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued(R) and[b] did not invade Israel’s territory again.(S) The Lord’s hand was against the Philistines all of Samuel’s life. 14 The cities from Ekron to Gath, which they had taken from Israel, were restored; Israel even rescued their surrounding territories from Philistine control. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel judged Israel throughout his life.(T) 16 Every year he would go on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah and would judge Israel at all these locations. 17 Then he would return to Ramah(U) because his home was there, he judged Israel there, and he built an altar to the Lord there.

Israel’s Demand for a King

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel.(V) His firstborn son’s name was Joel and his second was Abijah. They were judges in Beer-sheba.(W) However, his sons did not walk in his ways—they turned toward dishonest profit, took bribes, and perverted justice.(X)

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah.(Y) They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.”(Z)

When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand wrong, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king.(AA) They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to me,[c] since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but solemnly warn them(AB) and tell them about the customary rights of the king who will reign over them.”

10 Samuel told all the Lord’s words to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These are the rights of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. 12 He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties,(AC) to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 13 He can take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He can take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants.(AD) 15 He can take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants. 16 He can take your male servants, your female servants, your best cattle,[d] and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 He can take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves,(AE) but the Lord won’t answer you on that day.”(AF)

19 The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. 20 Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us,(AG) and fight our battles.”

21 Samuel listened to all the people’s words and then repeated them to the Lord. 22 “Listen to them,” the Lord told Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.”(AH)

Then Samuel told the men of Israel, “Each of you, go back to your city.”

Footnotes

  1. 7:12 = Stone of Help
  2. 7:13 LXX reads The Lord humbled the Philistines and they
  3. 8:8 LXX; MT omits to me
  4. 8:16 LXX; MT reads young men

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