The Philistines and the Ark
5 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from qEbenezer to rAshdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside sDagon. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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.
6 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. 7 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.” 8 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. 9 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
6 The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 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.” 3 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.” 4 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. 5 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. 6 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? 7 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. 8 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 9 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, y“Who 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.”
7 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of aAbinadab on the hill. And 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.
Samuel Judges Israel
3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, b“If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then cput away the foreign gods and the dAshtaroth from among you and edirect your heart to the Lord fand serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at gMizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at gMizpah hand drew water and poured it out before the Lord iand fasted on that day and said there, j“We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now 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. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And kSamuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. lBut the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel mtook a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen1 and called its name Ebenezer;2 for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 nSo the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
15 oSamuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to pRamah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. qAnd he built there an altar to the Lord.
Israel Demands a King
8 When Samuel became old, rhe made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways sbut turned aside after gain. tThey took bribes and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at pRamah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. uNow appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, vfor they have not rejected you, wbut they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them xand show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
Samuel's Warning Against Kings
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, y“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: zhe will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some ato plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 bHe will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men1 and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, cbut the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
The Lord Grants Israel's Request
19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 dthat we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, e“Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
Saul Chosen to Be King
9 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was fKish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. 2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, ga handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. hFrom his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” 4 And he passed through ithe hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of jShalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant1 who was with him, “Come, let us go back, klest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 6 But he said to him, “Behold, there is la man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; mall that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, nwhat 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 do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel2 of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man owent to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today's “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 10 And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the hill to the city, pthey met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people qhave a sacrifice today on rthe high place. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.
15 Now the day before Saul came, sthe Lord had trevealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, uand you shall anoint him to be prince3 over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. vFor I have seen4 my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, w“Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, 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. 20 xAs for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, yfrom the least of the tribes of Israel? zAnd is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Put it aside.’” 24 So the cook took up athe leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.”5
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul bon the roof, and he lay down to sleep.6 26 Then at the break of dawn7 Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Up, that I may send you on your way.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.
27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass 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.”