1 Samuel 6

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.

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. 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

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, bIf 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. So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

Then Samuel said, Gather all Israel at gMizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you. So they gathered at gMizpah hand drew water and poured it out before the Lord iand fasted on that day and said there, jWe have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 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. 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. 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

When Samuel became old, rhe made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways sbut turned aside after gain. tThey took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at pRamah 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. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 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. 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. 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, yThese 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, eObey their voice and make them a king. Samuel then said to the men of Israel, Go every man to his city.