1 Samuel 7-9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 The people of Kiriath-Jearim got the chest and took it to Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill in their town. They chose his son Eleazar to take care of it, 2 and it stayed there for twenty years.
During this time everyone in Israel was very sad and begged the Lord for help.[a]
The People of Israel Turn Back to the Lord
3 One day, Samuel told all the people of Israel, “If you really want to turn back to the Lord, then prove it. Get rid of your foreign idols, including the ones of the goddess Astarte. Turn to the Lord with all your heart and worship only him. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”
4 The people got rid of their idols of Baal and Astarte and began worshiping only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel said, “Tell everyone in Israel to meet together at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”
6 The Israelites met together at Mizpah with Samuel as their leader. They drew water from the well and poured it out as an offering to the Lord. On that same day they went without eating to show their sorrow, and they confessed they had been unfaithful to the Lord.
The Philistines Attack Israel
7 When the Philistine rulers found out about the meeting at Mizpah, they sent an army there to attack the people of Israel.
The Israelites were afraid when they heard that the Philistines were coming. 8 “Don’t stop praying!” they told Samuel. “Ask the Lord our God to rescue us.”
9-10 Samuel begged the Lord to rescue Israel, then he sacrificed a young lamb to the Lord. Samuel had not even finished offering the sacrifice when the Philistines started to attack. But the Lord answered his prayer and made thunder crash all around them. The Philistines panicked and ran away. 11 The men of Israel left Mizpah and went after them as far as the hillside below Beth-Car, killing every enemy soldier they caught.
12-13 The Philistines were so badly beaten that it was quite a while before they attacked Israel again. After the battle, Samuel set up a monument between Mizpah and the rocky cliffs. He named it “Help Monument”[b] to remind Israel how much the Lord had helped them.
For as long as Samuel lived, the Lord helped Israel fight the Philistines. 14 The Israelites were even able to recapture their towns and territory between Ekron and Gath.
Israel was also at peace with the Amorites.[c]
Samuel Is a Leader in Israel
15 Samuel was a leader[d] in Israel all his life. 16 Every year he would go around to the towns of Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah where he served as judge for the people. 17 Then he would go back to his home in Ramah and do the same thing there. He also had an altar built for the Lord at Ramah.
The People of Israel Want a King
8 1-2 Samuel had two sons. The older one was Joel, and the younger one was Abijah. When Samuel was getting old, he let them be leaders[e] at Beersheba. 3 But they were not like their father. They were dishonest and accepted bribes to give unfair decisions.
4 One day the nation’s leaders came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said, “You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven’t followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader,[f] just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!”
6 Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it. 7 The Lord answered:
Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king. 8 Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you. 9 Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.
10 Samuel told the people who were asking for a king what the Lord had said:
11 If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot.[g] 12 Some of them will be officers in charge of a thousand soldiers, and others will be in charge of fifty. Still others will have to farm the king’s land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. 13 Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.
14 The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. 15 He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.
16 The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17 He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king’s slaves, 18 and you will finally cry out for the Lord to save you from the king you wanted. But the Lord won’t answer your prayers.
19-20 The people would not listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want to be like other nations. We want a king to rule us and lead us in battle.”
21 Samuel listened to them and then told the Lord exactly what they had said. 22 “Do what they want,” the Lord answered. “Give them a king.”
Samuel told the people to go back to their homes.
Saul Meets Samuel
9 Kish was a wealthy man who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. His father was Abiel, his grandfather was Zeror, his great-grandfather was Becorath, and his great-great-grandfather was Aphiah. 2 Kish had a son named Saul, who was better looking and more than a head taller than anyone else in all Israel.
3 Kish owned some donkeys, but they had run off. So he told Saul, “Take one of the servants and go look for the donkeys.”
4 Saul and the servant went through the hill country of Ephraim and the territory of Shalishah, but they could not find the donkeys. Then they went through the territories of Shaalim and Benjamin, but still there was no sign of the donkeys. 5 Finally they came to the territory where the clan of Zuph[h] lived. “Let’s go back home,” Saul told his servant. “If we don’t go back soon, my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us!”
6 “Wait!” the servant answered. “There’s a man of God who lives in a town near here. He’s amazing! Everything he says comes true. Let’s talk to him. Maybe he can tell us where to look.”
7 Saul said, “How can we talk to the prophet when I don’t have anything to give him? We don’t even have any bread left in our sacks. What can we give him?”
8 “I have a small piece of silver,” the servant answered. “We can give him that, and then he will tell us where to look for the donkeys.”
9-10 “Great!” Saul replied. “Let’s go to the man who can see visions!” He said this because in those days God would answer questions by giving visions to prophets.
Saul and his servant went to the town where the prophet lived. 11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to get water,[i] and the two men said to them, “We’re looking for the man who can see visions. Is he in town?”
12 “Yes, he is,” they replied. “He’s in town today because there’s going to be a sacrifice and a sacred meal at the place of worship. In fact, he’s just ahead of you. Hurry 13 and you should find him right inside the town gate. He’s on his way out to the place of worship to eat with the invited guests. They can’t start eating until he blesses the sacrifice. If you go now, you should find him.”
14 They went to the town, and just as they were going through the gate, Samuel was coming out on his way to the place of worship.
15 The day before Saul came, the Lord had told Samuel, 16 “I’ve seen how my people are suffering, and I’ve heard their call for help. About this time tomorrow I’ll send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who will rescue my people from the Philistines. I want you to pour olive oil[j] on his head to show that he will be their leader.”
17 Samuel looked at Saul, and the Lord told Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He’s the one who will rule Israel.”
18 Saul went over to Samuel in the gateway and said, “A man who can see visions lives here in town. Could you tell me the way to his house?”
19 “I am the one who sees visions!” Samuel answered. “Go on up to the place of worship. You will eat with me today, and in the morning I’ll answer your questions. 20 Don’t worry about your donkeys that ran off three days ago. They’ve already been found. Everything of value in Israel now belongs to you and your family.”[k]
21 “Why are you telling me this?” Saul asked. “I’m from Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my clan is the least important in the tribe.”
Saul Eats with Samuel and Stays at His House
22 Samuel took Saul and his servant into the dining room at the place of worship. About thirty people were there for the dinner, but Samuel gave Saul and his servant the places of honor. 23-24 Then Samuel told the cook, “I gave you the best piece of meat and told you to set it aside. Bring it here now.”
The cook brought the meat over and set it down in front of Saul. “This is for you,” Samuel told him. “Go ahead and eat it. I had this piece saved especially for you, and I invited these guests to eat with you.”
After Saul and Samuel had finished eating, 25 they went down from the place of worship and back into town. A bed was set up for Saul on the flat roof[l] of Samuel’s house, 26 and Saul slept there.
About sunrise the next morning,[m] Samuel called up to Saul on the roof, “Time to get up! I’ll help you get started on your way.”
Saul got up. He and Samuel left together 27 and had almost reached the edge of town when Samuel stopped and said, “Have your servant go on. Stay here with me for a few minutes, and I’ll tell you what God has told me.”
Samuel Tells Saul He Will Be King
After the servant had gone,
Luke 9:18-36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Who Is Jesus?
18 When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, “What do people say about me?”
19 They answered, “Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah[a] or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life.”
20 Jesus then asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah sent from God.”
21 Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.
Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death
22 Jesus told his disciples, “The nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.”
23 Then Jesus said to all the people:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24 If you want to save your life,[b] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. 25 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life? 26 If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels. 27 You can be sure that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God’s kingdom.
The True Glory of Jesus
28 About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him and went up on a mountain to pray. 29 While he was praying, his face changed, and his clothes became shining white. 30 Suddenly Moses and Elijah were there speaking with him. 31 They appeared in heavenly glory and talked about all that Jesus' death[c] in Jerusalem would mean.
32 Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was. They also saw the two men who were with him.
33 Moses and Elijah were about to leave, when Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But Peter did not know what he was talking about.
34 While Peter was still speaking, a shadow from a cloud passed over them, and they were frightened as the cloud covered them. 35 From the cloud a voice spoke, “This is my chosen Son. Listen to what he says!”
36 After the voice had spoken, Peter, John, and James saw only Jesus. For some time they kept quiet and did not say anything about what they had seen.
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 Believer's Bible Commentary and the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV and NRSV) - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.