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1 Samuel 1-3

1 Samuel

Samuel’s Birth and Dedication

1There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite* from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives; the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5but to Hannah he gave a double portion,* because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7So it went on year after year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord.* Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11She made this vow: ‘O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite* until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants,* and no razor shall touch his head.’

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ 15But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ 17Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.’ 18And she said, ‘Let your servant find favour in your sight.’ Then the woman went to her quarters,* ate and drank with her husband,* and her countenance was sad no longer.*

19 They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’

21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there for ever; I will offer him as a nazirite* for all time.’* 23Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the Lord establish his word.’* So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,* an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’

She left him there for* the Lord.

Hannah’s Prayer

2Hannah prayed and said,
‘My heart exults in the Lord;
   my strength is exalted in my God.*
My mouth derides my enemies,
   because I rejoice in my* victory.


2 ‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
   no one besides you;
   there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
   let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
   and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
   but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
   but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
   but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
   he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
   he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
   he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
   and inherit a seat of honour.*
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
   and on them he has set the world.


9 ‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
   but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
   for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
   the Most High* will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
   he will give strength to his king,
   and exalt the power of his anointed.’

Eli’s Wicked Sons

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, while the boy remained to minister to the Lord, in the presence of the priest Eli.

12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord 13or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself.* This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing, ‘Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.’ 16And if the man said to him, ‘Let them burn the fat first, and then take whatever you wish’, he would say, ‘No, you must give it now; if not, I will take it by force.’ 17Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for they treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt.

The Child Samuel at Shiloh

18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, ‘May the Lord repay* you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to* the Lord’; and then they would return to their home.

21 And* the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

Prophecy against Eli’s Household

22 Now Eli was very old. He heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25If one person sins against another, someone can intercede for the sinner with the Lord;* but if someone sins against the Lord, who can make intercession?’ But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to kill them.

26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favour with the Lord and with the people.

27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Thus the Lord has said, “I revealed* myself to the family of your ancestor in Egypt when they were slaves* to the house of Pharaoh. 28I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to offer incense, to wear an ephod before me; and I gave to the family of your ancestor all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29Why then look with greedy eye* at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” 30Therefore the Lord the God of Israel declares: “I promised that your family and the family of your ancestor should go in and out before me for ever”; but now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me; for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt. 31See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor’s family, so that no one in your family will live to old age. 32Then in distress you will look with greedy eye* on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed upon Israel; and no one in your family shall ever live to old age. 33The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his* eyes and grieve his* heart; all the members of your household shall die by the sword.* 34The fate of your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you—both of them shall die on the same day. 35I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed one for ever. 36Everyone who is left in your family shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and shall say, Please put me in one of the priest’s places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”

Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity

3Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’* and he said, ‘Here I am!’ 5and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God,* and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering for ever.’

15 Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ He said, ‘Here I am.’ 17Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, ‘It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.’

19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord. 21The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

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Psalm 78

God’s Goodness and Israel’s Ingratitude

A Maskil of Asaph.
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
   incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
   I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
   that our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
   we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
   and the wonders that he has done.


5 He established a decree in Jacob,
   and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
   to teach to their children;
6 that the next generation might know them,
   the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
7   so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
   but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their ancestors,
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
   whose spirit was not faithful to God.


9 The Ephraimites, armed with* the bow,
   turned back on the day of battle.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant,
   but refused to walk according to his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
   and the miracles that he had shown them.
12 In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
   in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
   and made the waters stand like a heap.
14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
   and all night long with a fiery light.
15 He split rocks open in the wilderness,
   and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
16 He made streams come out of the rock,
   and caused waters to flow down like rivers.


17 Yet they sinned still more against him,
   rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tested God in their heart
   by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, saying,
   ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
20 Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
   and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
   or provide meat for his people?’


21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
   a fire was kindled against Jacob,
   his anger mounted against Israel,
22 because they had no faith in God,
   and did not trust his saving power.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above,
   and opened the doors of heaven;
24 he rained down on them manna to eat,
   and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
   he sent them food in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
   and by his power he led out the south wind;
27 he rained flesh upon them like dust,
   winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 he let them fall within their camp,
   all around their dwellings.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
   for he gave them what they craved.
30 But before they had satisfied their craving,
   while the food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of God rose against them
   and he killed the strongest of them,
   and laid low the flower of Israel.


32 In spite of all this they still sinned;
   they did not believe in his wonders.
33 So he made their days vanish like a breath,
   and their years in terror.
34 When he killed them, they sought for him;
   they repented and sought God earnestly.
35 They remembered that God was their rock,
   the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered him with their mouths;
   they lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their heart was not steadfast towards him;
   they were not true to his covenant.
38 Yet he, being compassionate,
   forgave their iniquity,
   and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
   and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
   a wind that passes and does not come again.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
   and grieved him in the desert!
41 They tested God again and again,
   and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not keep in mind his power,
   or the day when he redeemed them from the foe;
43 when he displayed his signs in Egypt,
   and his miracles in the fields of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers to blood,
   so that they could not drink of their streams.
45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
   and frogs, which destroyed them.
46 He gave their crops to the caterpillar,
   and the fruit of their labour to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail,
   and their sycomores with frost.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail,
   and their flocks to thunderbolts.
49 He let loose on them his fierce anger,
   wrath, indignation, and distress,
   a company of destroying angels.
50 He made a path for his anger;
   he did not spare them from death,
   but gave their lives over to the plague.
51 He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
   the first issue of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52 Then he led out his people like sheep,
   and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
   but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54 And he brought them to his holy hill,
   to the mountain that his right hand had won.
55 He drove out nations before them;
   he apportioned them for a possession
   and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.


56 Yet they tested the Most High God,
   and rebelled against him.
   They did not observe his decrees,
57 but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;
   they twisted like a treacherous bow.
58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
   they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard, he was full of wrath,
   and he utterly rejected Israel.
60 He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
   the tent where he dwelt among mortals,
61 and delivered his power to captivity,
   his glory to the hand of the foe.
62 He gave his people to the sword,
   and vented his wrath on his heritage.
63 Fire devoured their young men,
   and their girls had no marriage song.
64 Their priests fell by the sword,
   and their widows made no lamentation.
65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
   like a warrior shouting because of wine.
66 He put his adversaries to rout;
   he put them to everlasting disgrace.


67 He rejected the tent of Joseph,
   he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
   Mount Zion, which he loves.
69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
   like the earth, which he has founded for ever.
70 He chose his servant David,
   and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from tending the nursing ewes he brought him
   to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
   of Israel, his inheritance.
72 With upright heart he tended them,
   and guided them with skilful hand.

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