1 Samuel 4

Hannah's Prayer

And Hannah prayed and said,

fMy heart exults in the Lord;

gmy horn is exalted in the Lord.

My mouth derides my enemies,

because hI rejoice in your salvation.

iThere is none holy like the Lord:

for there is none besides you;

there is jno rock like our God.

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.

kThe bows of the mighty are broken,

but the feeble bind on strength.

Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.

lThe barren has borne seven,

mbut she who has many children is forlorn.

nThe Lord kills and brings to life;

he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

oThe Lord makes poor and makes rich;

phe brings low and he exalts.

qHe raises up the poor from the dust;

he lifts the needy from the ash heap

rto make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of honor.

sFor the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,

and on them he has set the world.

tHe will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,

for not by might shall a man prevail.

10  uThe adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;

vagainst them he will thunder in heaven.

wThe Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

he will give strength to his king

xand exalt the horn of his anointed.

11 Then Elkanah went home yto Ramah. zAnd the boy1 was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

Eli's Worthless Sons

12 Now the sons of Eli were aworthless men. bThey did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and 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. 15 Moreover, cbefore the fat was burned, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw. 16 And if the man said to him, Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish, he would say, No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force. 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great din the sight of the Lord, efor the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

18 fSamuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy gclothed with a linen ephod. 19 And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year hwhen she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, May the Lord give you children by this woman ifor the petition she asked of the Lord. So then they would return to their home.

21 jIndeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. kAnd the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.

Eli Rebukes His Sons

22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who lwere serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? But they would not listen to the voice of their father, mfor it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.

26 Now the boy Samuel ncontinued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.

The Lord Rejects Eli's Household

27 And there came oa man of God to Eli and said to him, Thus says the Lord, pDid I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 qDid I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, rto wear an ephod before me? sI gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29 Why then do you tscorn2 my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel? 30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: vI promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever, wbut now the Lord declares: Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, xthe days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 Then yin distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, zand there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his3 eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants4 of your house shall die by the sword of men.5 34 aAnd this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die bon the same day. 35 cAnd I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. dAnd I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before emy anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house 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 priests' places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.

The Lord Calls Samuel

fNow the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. gAnd the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

At that time Eli, hwhose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. iThe lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down jin the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, Here I am! and 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.

And the Lord called again, Samuel! and Samuel arose 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. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me. Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, Speak, Lord, for your servant hears. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel said, Speak, for your servant hears. 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel kat which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli lall that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 lAnd I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, mbecause his sons were blaspheming God,1 nand he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli othat the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.

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

19 rAnd Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him sand let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel tfrom Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel uat Shiloh vby the word of the Lord.

The Philistines Capture the Ark

And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at wEbenezer, and the Philistines encamped at xAphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here yfrom Shiloh, that it1 may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, zwho is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel agave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean? And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, A god has come into the camp. And they said, Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. bTake courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews cas they have been to you; be men and fight.

10 So the Philistines fought, dand Israel was defeated, eand they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 fAnd the ark of God was captured, gand the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

The Death of Eli

12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, hwith his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, iEli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, What is this uproar? Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old jand his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today. And he said, kHow did it go, my son? 17 He who brought the news answered and said, Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured. 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward lfrom his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, mDo not be afraid, for you have borne a son. But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child nIchabod, saying, oThe glory has departed2 from Israel! because pthe ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, The glory has departed from Israel, pfor the ark of God has been captured.

The Philistines and the Ark

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from qEbenezer to rAshdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside sDagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, tDagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, uand the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon vdo not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

wThe hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with xtumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god. So they sent and gathered together all ythe lords of the Philistines and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? They answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath. So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, zthe hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that xtumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people. 11 yThey sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people. For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. wThe hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with xtumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and athe diviners and said, What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place. They said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him ba guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why chis hand does not turn away from you. And they said, What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden dtumors and five golden mice, eaccording to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. So you must make images of your dtumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, fand give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps ghe will lighten his hand from off you hand your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as ithe Egyptians and jPharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, kdid they not send the people away, and they departed? Now then, take and prepare la new cart and two milk cows mon which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side nthe figures of gold, which you are returning to him as ba guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to oBeth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not phis hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.

10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of qBeth-shemesh along rone 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 qBeth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of qBeth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. sA great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon sthe great stone. And the men of qBeth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when tthe five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a uguilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, vboth fortified cities and unwalled villages. wThe 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 xAnd he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them,1 and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, yWho is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us? 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of zKiriath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.