6The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines for seven months. 2Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us what we should send with it to its place. 3They said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt-offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed;* will not his hand then turn from you? 4And they said, What is the guilt-offering that we should return to him? They answered, Five gold tumours and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. 5So you must make images of your tumours and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land. 6Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? 7Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch-cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart, and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt-offering. Then send it off, and let it go on its way. 9And watch; if it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.
10 The men did so; they took two milch-cows and yoked them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the gold mice and the images of their tumours. 12The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they went with rejoicing to meet it.* 14The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stopped there. A large stone was there; so they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt-offering to the Lord. 15The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and set them upon the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt-offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.
17 These are the gold tumours, which the Philistines returned as a guilt-offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18also the gold mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone, beside which they set down the ark of the Lord, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
19 The descendants of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the people of Beth-shemesh when they greeted* the ark of the Lord; and he killed seventy men of them.* The people mourned because the Lord had made a great slaughter among the people. 20Then the people of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? To whom shall he go so that we may be rid of him? 21So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you. 71And the people of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord, and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. They consecrated his son, Eleazar, to have charge of the ark of the Lord.
2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented* after the Lord.
3 Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Astartes from among you. Direct your heart to the Lord, and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. 4So Israel put away the Baals and the Astartes, and they served the Lord only.
5 Then Samuel said, Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you. 6So they gathered at Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted that day, and said, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it they were afraid of the Philistines. 8The people of Israel said to Samuel, Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, and pray that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines. 9So Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it as a whole burnt-offering to the Lord; Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10As Samuel was offering up the burnt-offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel; but the Lord thundered with a mighty voice that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion; and they were routed before Israel. 11And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as beyond Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah,* and named it Ebenezer;* for he said, Thus far the Lord has helped us. 13So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16He went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah; and he judged Israel in all these places. 17Then he would come back to Ramah, for his home was there; he administered justice there to Israel, and built there an altar to the Lord.
8When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. 3Yet his sons did not follow in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5and said to him, You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations. 6But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. Samuel prayed to the Lord, 7and the Lord said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8Just as they have done to me,* from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. 9Now then, listen to their voice; onlyyou shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.
10 So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11He said, These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; 12and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. 15He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. 16He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle* and donkeys, and put them to his work. 17He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
19 But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, No! but we are determined to have a king over us, 20so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles. 21When Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22The Lord said to Samuel, Listen to their voice and set a king over them. Samuel then said to the people of Israel, Each of you return home.
9There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. 2He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Sauls father, had strayed. So Kish said to his son Saul, Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys. 4He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but they did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us. 6But he said to him, There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honour. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out. 7Then Saul replied to the boy, But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we? 8The boy answered Saul again, Here, I have with me a quarter-shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way. 9(Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, Come, let us go to the seer; for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10Saul said to the boy, Good; come, let us go. So they went to the town where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, Is the seer here? 12They answered, Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. 13As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterwards those eat who are invited. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately. 14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out towards them on his way up to the shrine.
15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of* my people, because their outcry has come to me. 17When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people. 18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer? 19Samuel answered Saul, I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israels desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house? 21Saul answered, I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant-boy and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. 23And Samuel said to the cook, Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside. 24The cook took up the thigh and what went with it* and set them before Saul. Samuel said, See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is set* before you at the appointed time, so that you might eat with the guests.*
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul* on the roof, and he lay down to sleep.* 26Then at the break of dawn* Samuel called to Saul upon the roof, Get up, so that I may send you on your way. Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.
27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God. 101Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler* over his heritage: 2When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachels tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son? 3Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. 4They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. 5After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim,* at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. 6Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. 7Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. 8And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; then I will come down to you to present burnt-offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. For seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.
9 As he turned away to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10When they were going from there* to Gibeah,* a band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with them. 11When all who knew him before saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? 12A man of the place answered, And who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? 13When his prophetic frenzy had ended, he went home.*
14 Sauls uncle said to him and to the boy, Where did you go? And he replied, To seek the donkeys; and when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel. 15Sauls uncle said, Tell me what Samuel said to you. 16Saul said to his uncle, He told us that the donkeys had been found. But about the matter of the kingship, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.
17 Samuel summoned the people to the Lord at Mizpah 18and said to them,* Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you. 19But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses; and you have said, No! but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.
20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of the Matrites was taken by lot. Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man,* and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22So they inquired again of the Lord, Did the man come here?* and the Lord said, See, he has hidden himself among the baggage. 23Then they ran and brought him from there. When he took his stand among the people, he was head and shoulders taller than any of them. 24Samuel said to all the people, Do you see the one whom the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people. And all the people shouted, Long live the king!
25 Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes. 26Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went warriors whose hearts God had touched. 27But some worthless fellows said, How can this man save us? They despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.
Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead.*
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011