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Samuel’s Birth

There was a [certain] man named Elkanah son of Jeroham from ·Ramathaim [Ramah; C just north of Jerusalem] in the ·mountains [hill country] of Ephraim. Elkanah was from the ·family [or region] of Zuph. (Jeroham was Elihu’s son. Elihu was Tohu’s son, and Tohu was the son of Zuph ·from the family group of Ephraim [an Ephraimite].) Elkanah had two wives named Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none [C childlessness carried a serious social stigma].

Every year Elkanah left his town of Ramah and ·went up [traveled] to Shiloh [C the central worship place at that time, 30 miles north of Jerusalem, where the tabernacle was located] to worship the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of Hosts] and to offer sacrifices to him. Shiloh was where Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, served as priests of the Lord. ·When [L On the day] Elkanah offered sacrifices, he always gave ·a share of the meat [portions] to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But Elkanah always gave Hannah ·a double portion of the meat because he loved her and the Lord had kept her from having children [or only one portion of the meat even though he loved her, because the Lord had kept her from having children; C only one portion would be needed since there was no child to feed]. ·Peninnah [L Her rival/foe] would ·tease [taunt] Hannah and ·upset [provoke; irritate; make fun of] her, because the Lord had ·made her unable to have children [L closed her womb]. This happened ·every year [L year after year] ·when [whenever] they went up to the house of the Lord at Shiloh [1:3]. Peninnah would ·upset [taunt; provoke] Hannah until Hannah would cry and not eat anything. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you crying and why won’t you eat? Why are you ·sad [downhearted]? ·Don’t I mean more [or Am I not better] to you than ten sons?”

Once, after ·they had eaten their meal [L eating and drinking] in Shiloh [1:3], Hannah got up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on ·a chair [the seat] ·near the entrance to [by the doorpost of] the Lord’s ·house [temple; Tabernacle]. 10 Hannah was so ·sad [anguished; deeply distressed; L bitter] that she cried bitterly ·and [as she] prayed to the Lord. 11 She made this ·promise [vow], saying, “Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of Hosts], if you will look on the ·sorrow [affliction; misery; humiliation] of your maidservant, and will ·remember [L remember and not forget] me, and will give ·me [L your maidservant] a son, I will give him back to ·you [L the Lord] all the days of his life, and no one will ever ·cut his hair [L touch his head] with a razor [C indicating consecration to the Lord as a Nazirite; Num. 6:1–5].”

12 While Hannah kept praying [L before the Lord], Eli watched her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying ·in her heart [silently]; her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “·Stop getting [L How long are you going to stay…?] drunk! ·Throw away [Get rid of; Put away] your wine!”

15 Hannah answered [L and said], “No, sir, I have not drunk any wine or ·beer [T strong drink; C an alcoholic beverage made of grain]. I am ·a deeply troubled woman [very discouraged; oppressed in spirit], and I was ·telling the Lord about all my problems [L pouring out my heart/soul to/before the Lord]. 16 Don’t think ·I am [your maidservant is] an ·evil [worthless] woman. I have been praying all this time ·because I have many troubles and am very sad [L out of great anguish/anxiety and sorrow/resentment].”

17 Eli answered, “·Go! I wish you well [Go in peace!]. May the God of Israel ·give you what [L grant the request/petition] you asked of him.”

18 Hannah said, “May ·I always please you [your servant find favor in your sight].” So she left and ate something, and ·she [L her face/countenance] was not sad anymore.

19 Early the next morning they got up and worshiped [L before] the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah ·had sexual relations with [L knew] his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So Hannah ·became pregnant [L conceived], and in time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel [C sounds like “God heard” in Hebrew], saying, “His name is Samuel because I asked the Lord for him.”

Hannah Gives Samuel to God

21 ·Every [or The next] year Elkanah went with his whole family to Shiloh [1:3] to offer sacrifices and to keep the ·promise [vow] he had made to ·God [L the Lord]. 22 ·But one time [L But] Hannah did not go with him. She told her husband, “When the boy is ·old enough to eat solid food [weaned], I will take him to Shiloh [1:3]. Then I will give him to [… and present him before] the Lord, and he will ·always live there [stay there permanently/forever].”

23 Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, said to her, “Do what you think is best. ·You may stay home until the boy is old enough to eat [Stay until you have weaned him]. May the Lord ·do what you have said [bring about his promise; L confirm/establish his word].” So Hannah stayed at home to nurse her son until he was ·old enough to eat [weaned].

24 When Samuel was ·old enough to eat [weaned], [L though still very young,] Hannah took him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh [1:3], along with a three-year-old bull, ·one-half bushel [L an ephah] of flour, and a ·leather bag filled with [skin of] wine. 25 After they had ·killed the bull for the sacrifice [L slaughtered the bull], they brought Samuel to Eli. 26 Hannah said to Eli, “As surely as you live, sir, I am the same woman who stood ·near [beside] you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my ·prayer [request; petition] and gave him to me. 28 Now I ·give him back [dedicate him; L lend him] to the Lord. He ·will belong [is dedicated/given over/lent] to the Lord all his life.” And ·he [or they] worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah Gives Thanks

Hannah prayed [L and said; C Hannah’s prayer is similar to Psalm 113 and Mary’s song in Luke 1:46–55]:

“·The Lord has filled my heart with joy [L My heart rejoices/exults in the Lord];
    ·I feel very strong in the Lord [My strength/L horn is exalted/lifted up in the Lord; C a lifted horn symbolizes strength, based on an animal lifting its head triumphantly]
·I can laugh at [L My mouth mocks/derides] my enemies;
    I ·am glad [rejoice/delight] because you have ·helped [saved; rescued; delivered] me!

“There is no one ·holy [set apart] like the Lord.
    There is no ·God but [one besides] you;
there is no Rock like our God.

“·Don’t continue bragging [Talk/Boast no more so proudly/haughtily],
    ·don’t speak proud words [don’t let such arrogance come out of your mouth].
The Lord is a God who ·knows everything [is wise],
    and he ·judges [weighs] what people do.

“The bows of ·warriors [the mighty] ·break [are shattered],
    but ·weak people [L those who stumbled/tottered] ·become strong [L gird on strength].
Those who ·once had plenty of food [were well fed] now ·must work [hire themselves out] for ·food [bread],
    but people who were hungry ·are hungry no more [grow fat].
The woman who ·could not have children [was barren] now ·has [L gives birth to] seven,
    but the woman who had many children now ·is sad [L wastes away; languishes].

“The Lord ·sends death [kills],
    and he ·brings to [gives] life.
He ·sends people to the grave [brings down to Sheol; C the grave or the place of the dead],
    and he raises ·them to life again [L up].
The Lord makes some people poor,
    and others he makes rich.
He ·makes some people humble [brings low/down],
    and others he ·makes great [lifts up; exalts].
The Lord ·raises [lifts] the poor up from the dust,
    and he lifts the needy from the ·ashes [garbage heap].
He ·lets the poor sit [sets/seats the poor] with princes
    and ·receive [L they inherit] a throne of honor.

“The ·foundations [pillars] of the earth belong to the Lord,
    and the Lord ·set [poised] the world upon them.
He ·protects [L guards the feet/steps of] those who are ·loyal [faithful] to him,
    but ·evil people [the wicked] will ·be silenced [disappear] in darkness.
    ·Power is not the key to success [L For no one succeeds/prevails by strength alone].
10 The Lord ·destroys [shatters] ·his enemies [those who oppose/fight against him];
    he will thunder ·in [from] heaven against them.
The Lord will judge ·all [throughout; L the ends of] the earth.
    He will give ·power [strength] to his king
    and ·make his appointed king strong [L exalt the horn of his anointed/anointed one; 2:1].”

Eli’s Evil Sons

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah [1:1], but the boy ·continued to serve [ministered to/before] the Lord ·under [in the presence of] Eli the priest.

12 Now Eli’s sons were ·evil men [scoundrels; good-for-nothings]; they did not ·care about [know; respect; regard] the Lord. 13 ·This is what the priests would normally do to [… nor about their duties as priests for] the people: Every time someone ·brought [offered] a sacrifice, the meat would be ·cooked [L boiled] in a pot. The priest’s servant would then come carrying a fork that had three prongs. 14 He would plunge the fork into the pot or the kettle or cauldron or pan. Whatever the fork brought out of the pot belonged to the priest. But this is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh [1:3] to offer sacrifices. 15 Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come to the person offering sacrifices and say, “Give the priest some meat to roast. He won’t accept boiled meat from you, only raw meat.”

16 If the one who offered the sacrifice said, “Let the fat be burned up first as usual, and then take anything you want,” the priest’s servant would answer, “No, give me the meat now. If you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

17 ·The Lord saw that [In the Lord’s sight] the sin of the servants was very ·great [serious] because they ·did not show respect for [treated with contempt; despised] the offerings ·made to [L of] the Lord.

Samuel Grows Up

18 But Samuel ·obeyed [L served; ministered before] the Lord. As a boy he wore a linen ·holy vest [ephod; C a special garment worn only by priests; Ex. 28:6–14]. 19 Every year his mother made a little ·coat [robe] for him and took it to him when she went with her husband to Shiloh [1:3] for the [annual] sacrifice. 20 When Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, he would say, “May the Lord ·repay you with [or give you] ·children [an heir; L seed] through Hannah ·to take the place of [in exchange for] the boy Hannah ·prayed for and gave back [dedicated] to the Lord.” Then Elkanah and Hannah would go home. 21 The Lord was ·kind to [gracious to; or visited] Hannah, so she ·became the mother of [L conceived and bore] three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up ·serving [in the presence of; before] the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all ·the Israelites [Israel] and how his sons ·had sexual relations [lay] with the women who served at the ·entrance [doorway] to the Meeting Tent. 23 Eli said to them, “Why do you do these evil things that the people tell me about? 24 No, my sons. The Lord’s people are spreading a bad report about you. 25 If you sin against someone, God can ·help [intercede/mediate/arbitrate for] you. But if you sin against the Lord himself, ·no one [who…?] can ·help [intercede/mediate/arbitrate for] you!” But Eli’s sons would not listen to ·him [L the voice/words/rebuke of their father], because the Lord ·had decided [desired; wanted] to put them to death.

26 The boy Samuel grew ·physically and pleased [in stature and in favor with] the Lord and the people.

27 A man of God [C a prophet] came to Eli and said, “·This is what the Lord says [T Thus says the Lord]: ‘·I [L Did I not…?] clearly showed myself to the ·family [L house] of your ·ancestor Aaron [father] when in Egypt they were slaves to ·the king of Egypt [L Pharaoh’s house]. 28 ·I chose [L Did I not choose…?] them from all the tribes of Israel to be my priests. I wanted them to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the ·holy vest [L ephod in my presence/before me]. ·I [L Did I not…?] also let the ·family [L house] of your ·ancestor [father] have ·part of all [all] the offerings by fire sacrificed by the Israelites. 29 So why ·don’t you respect [do you scorn/trample/look greedily at; L kick at] the sacrifices and ·gifts [offerings that I have commanded/prescribed]? You honor your sons ·more than [above] me. You ·grow fat [fatten yourselves] on the ·best [choicest] parts of the meat the Israelites bring to me.’

30 “So the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I promised that your ·family [L house] and your ·ancestor’s family [father’s house] would ·serve [minister/walk before] me always.’ But now the Lord says: ‘·This must stop [Far be it from me]! I will honor those who honor me, but I will ·dishonor [despise; have contempt for] those who ·ignore [disdain] me. 31 The ·time [day] is coming when I will ·destroy [L break/cut off the strength of] the ·descendants [L seed] of both you and your ·ancestors [L father’s house]. No ·man [one] will ·grow old [reach old age] in your family. 32 You will ·see trouble in my house. No matter what good things happen to Israel, [or watch with envy/distress/greedy eyes on all the prosperity I pour out on Israel. But] there will never be an old ·man [person] in your family [22:11–23]. 33 I will ·not totally cut off your family from my altar. But […keep one of you alive at my altar so that] your eyes will cry and your heart be sad, because all your descendants will die.

34 “‘·I will give you a [This will be your] sign. Both your sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will die on the same day [4:1–22]. 35 Then I will ·choose [L raise up] a loyal priest ·for myself [or myself] who will ·listen to me and do what I want [act according to what is in my heart and soul/mind]. I will ·make his family continue [build him an enduring family/house], and he will always ·serve before [walk/go in and out before] my ·appointed king [anointed one; 1 Kin. 2:26–27]. 36 Then everyone left in your ·family [L house] will come and bow down before him. They will beg for a ·little money [piece of silver] or a ·little food [loaf of bread] and say, “Please give me ·a job as priest [some priestly duty/work] so I can ·have food to eat [eat a morsel of bread].”’”

God Calls Samuel

The boy Samuel ·served [ministered before] the Lord under Eli. In those days ·the Lord did not speak directly to people very often [L the word from the Lord was rare]; there were very few visions.

Eli’s eyes were so ·weak [dim] he ·was almost blind [L could not see]. One night he was lying in ·bed [his usual place]. Samuel was ·also in bed [L lying down] in the Lord’s ·house [sanctuary; temple], where the Ark of God [C another name for the Ark of the Covenant; 4:3] was. God’s lamp [C probably the Menorah] ·was still burning [had not yet gone out].

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, “I am here!” He ran to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back ·to bed [and lie down].” So Samuel went back ·to bed [and lay down].

The Lord called again, “Samuel!”

Samuel again went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

Again Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back ·to bed [and lie down].”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and ·the Lord had not spoken directly to him yet [L the word of the Lord had not been revealed to him before].

The Lord called Samuel for the third time. Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

Then Eli ·realized [understood; perceived; discerned that] the Lord was calling the boy. So he told Samuel, “Go ·to bed [lie down]. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. ·I am your servant and I am […for your servant is] listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in ·bed [his place].

10 The Lord came and stood there and called as he had before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “·Speak, Lord. I am your servant and I am [L Speak, for your servant is] listening.”

11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Watch, I am going to do something in Israel that will ·shock [L make the ears ring/tingle of] those who hear about it. 12 ·At that time [L In that day] I will ·do to [carry out against] Eli and his ·family [L house] everything I ·promised [threatened; spoke], from beginning to end. 13 I told Eli I would ·punish [judge] his ·family always [L house forever], because ·he knew his sons were evil [of the sin/iniquity he knew of]. They ·cursed God[a] [blasphemed], but he did not ·stop [correct; discipline; rebuke] them. 14 So I swore to Eli’s ·family [L house], ‘Your ·guilt [sins; iniquity] will never be ·removed [forgiven; atoned for; expiated] by sacrifice or offering.’”

15 Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the ·house [temple] of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision, 16 but Eli called to him, “Samuel, my son!”

Samuel answered, “I am here.”

17 Eli asked, “·What did the Lord say [What word/message did he speak/give] to you? Don’t hide it from me. May God ·punish you terribly [L do so to you, and more also,] if you hide from me anything he said to you.” 18 So Samuel told Eli everything and did not hide anything from him. Then Eli said, “He [or It] is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks ·is best [good].”

19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up; he did not let any of Samuel’s ·messages [words] ·fail to come true [L fall to the ground]. 20 Then all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba [C from the extreme north to the extreme south], knew Samuel was ·a true [confirmed/attested as a] prophet of the Lord [Deut. 13:1–5; 18:14–22]. 21 And the Lord continued to ·show himself [appear; manifest himself] at Shiloh [1:3], and he ·showed [revealed] himself to Samuel through his word.

So, ·news about Samuel [or Samuel’s words] spread through all of Israel.

The Philistines Capture the Ark of the Agreement

At that time the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines [C a rival nation occupying the southwest coast of Israel]. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer [C somewhere near Aphek; means “stone of help”] and the Philistines [L camped] at Aphek [C on the plain of Sharon, northeast of Joppa]. The Philistines ·went [deployed; drew up in battlelines] to meet the Israelites in battle. And ·as the battle spread [or when battle was joined], they defeated the Israelites, killing about four thousand soldiers on the battlefield. When ·some Israelite soldiers [L the troops] went back to their camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord ·let the Philistines defeat us [or defeat/rout us before the Philistines]? Let’s bring the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord [C the Ark represented the presence of God; Ex. 25:10–22] here from Shiloh [1:3] and take it with us into battle. Then ·God [or it] will save us from the ·power [L hand] of our enemies.”

So the ·people [or troops] sent men to Shiloh [1:3]. They brought back the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord [4:3] ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of Hosts], who sits ·between [on] the ·gold creatures with wings [L cherubim; C powerful angelic creatures]. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the Ark [L of the covenant of God].

When the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord came into the camp, all the Israelites ·gave a great shout of joy [shouted with a great shout] that made the ground shake. When the Philistines heard Israel’s shout, they asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”

Then the Philistines ·found out [realized; understood] that the Ark of the Lord had come into the Hebrew camp. They were afraid and said, “·A god [or The gods; or God] has come into the Hebrew camp! ·We’re in trouble [L Woe to us; Disaster]! This has never happened before! ·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] us! Who can ·save [rescue; deliver] us from these powerful gods? ·They are the ones [These are the gods] who ·struck [T smote] the Egyptians with ·all kinds of disasters [plagues] in the ·desert [wilderness; Ex. 7–12]. Be brave, Philistines! Fight like men! In the past they were ·our [your] slaves. So fight like men, or ·we [you] will become their slaves.”

10 So the Philistines fought hard and defeated the Israelites, and every ·Israelite soldier ran away to his own home [man fled to his tent]. It was a great ·defeat [slaughter] for Israel, because thirty thousand Israelite [foot] soldiers ·were killed [L fell]. 11 The Ark of God was ·taken [captured] by the Philistines, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 That same day a man ·from the tribe of [L of] Benjamin ran from the battle. He tore his clothes and put dust on his head [C to indicate mourning]. 13 When he arrived in Shiloh [1:3], Eli was by the side of the road. He was sitting there in a chair, watching [L eagerly; anxiously], because ·he was worried about [L his heart trembled/feared for] the Ark of God. When the Benjaminite entered Shiloh [1:3], he told ·the bad news [what had happened]. Then all the ·people in town [city; towns] cried loudly. 14 Eli heard the crying and asked, “What’s all this ·noise [commotion]?”

The Benjaminite ran to Eli and told him what had happened. 15 Eli was now ninety-eight years old, and ·he was blind [L his gaze was fixed, so he could not see] . 16 The Benjaminite told him, “I have come from the battle. I ·ran all the way here [escaped/fled from the battle line] today.”

Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”

17 The ·Benjaminite [L messenger] answered, “Israel ·ran away [fled] from the Philistines, and the ·Israelite army has lost many soldiers [people/troops have been slaughtered]. Your two sons are both dead, and the Philistines have ·taken [captured] the Ark of God.”

18 When he mentioned the Ark of God [4:3], Eli fell backward off his chair. He fell beside the gate, broke his neck, and died, because he was old and ·fat [heavy]. He had ·led [judged; been judge of] Israel for forty years.

The Glory Is Gone

19 Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and was about to give birth. When she heard the news that the Ark of God had been taken and that Eli, her father-in-law, and Phinehas, her husband, were both dead, she ·began to give [went into labor/crouched down and gave] birth to her child. The child was born, but ·the mother had much trouble in giving birth [her labor pains overwhelmed her]. 20 As she was dying, the women who helped her said, “Don’t ·worry [be afraid]! You’ve given birth to a son!” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 She named the baby Ichabod [C meaning “No Glory”], saying, “Israel’s glory ·is gone [has departed].” She said this because the Ark of God had been ·taken [captured] and her father-in-law and husband were dead. 22 She said, “Israel’s glory is ·gone [departed], because the Ark of God has been ·taken away [captured].”

Trouble for the Philistines

After the Philistines [4:1] had captured the Ark of God [4:3], they took it from Ebenezer [4:1] to Ashdod [C one of the five chief cities of the Philistines]. They carried it into Dagon’s [C a major Philistine god, perhaps a storm god] temple and put it next to Dagon [C to symbolize that Israel’s god was now on the side of Dagon]. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next morning, they found that Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the Ark of the Lord [C as if in worship]. So they put Dagon back in his place. The next morning when they rose, they again found Dagon fallen face-down on the ground before the Ark of the Lord. His head and hands had broken off and were lying ·in the doorway [on the threshold; C the treatment given corpses of enemy soldiers]. Only his ·body [trunk] was ·still in one piece [intact; left to him]. So, ·even today [to this day], Dagon’s priests and others who enter his temple at Ashdod refuse to step on the ·doorsill [threshold of Dagon].

The ·Lord was hard [L hand of the Lord was heavy] on the people of Ashdod and ·their neighbors [its environs]. He ·caused them to suffer [ravaged/terrified them] and ·gave them [struck/afflicted them with] ·growths on their skin [tumors; or hemorrhoids]. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The Ark of the God of Israel can’t stay with us. ·God is punishing [L His hand is heavy on] us and Dagon our god.” The people of Ashdod called all five Philistine ·kings [rulers] together and asked them, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?”

The rulers answered, “Move the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath [C another major city of the Philistines to the southeast of Ashdod].” So the Philistines moved it to Gath.

But after they moved it to Gath, there was a great panic. The ·Lord was hard [L hand of the Lord was heavy] on that city also, and he ·gave [struck; afflicted] both old and young people in Gath ·growths on their skin [with an outbreak of tumors/or hemorrhoids]. 10 Then the Philistines sent the Ark of God to Ekron [C a third major city of the Philistines north of Gath].

But when it came into Ekron, the people of Ekron ·yelled [cried out], “Why are you bringing the Ark of the God of Israel to our city? Do you want to kill us and our people?” 11 So they called all the ·kings [rulers] of the Philistines together and said, “Send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own place ·before it kills [or it will kill] us and our people!” All the people in the city were struck with ·terror [deadly panic] because ·God was so hard [L God’s hand was so heavy] on them there. 12 The people who did not die were ·troubled [struck; afflicted] with ·growths on their skin [tumors; or hemorrhoids]. So the people of Ekron ·cried [wailed] loudly to heaven.

The Ark of God Is Sent Home

The Philistines kept the ·Ark of God [4:3] in their ·land [territory; country] seven months. Then the Philistines [4:1] called for their priests and ·magicians [diviners] and said, “What should we do with the Ark of the Lord? Tell us how to send it back ·home [to its place]!”

They answered, “If you send back the Ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it back ·empty [without a gift]. ·You must give [Return it to him with] a ·penalty [guilt] offering. If you are then healed, you will know that it was ·because of the Ark that you had such trouble [L his hand that has been lifted from you].”

The Philistines asked, “What kind of ·penalty [guilt] offering should we send to ·Israel’s God [L him]?”

They answered, “Make five gold ·models [likenesses; images] of the ·growths on your skin [tumors] and five gold ·models [likenesses; images] of ·rats [or mice]. ·The number of ·models [likenesses; images] must match the number of Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords], because the same ·sickness [plague] has ·come on [struck; afflicted] you and your ·kings [rulers; lords]. Make ·models [likenesses; images] of the ·growths [tumors] and the ·rats [or mice] that are ·ruining [destroying; ravaging] the ·country [land], and give ·honor [glory] to Israel’s God. Then maybe he will ·stop being so hard on [L lift his hand from] you, your gods, and your ·land [country]. ·Don’t be stubborn [L Why do you harden your hearts…?] like the ·king [L Pharaoh] of Egypt and the Egyptians [Ex. 7:13; 8:15; 9:34]. After God ·punished them terribly [brought disaster on; or made fools of them], ·they let the Israelites leave Egypt [L did they not send the Israelites out, and they departed?].

“You must ·build [prepare] a new cart and get two cows that have just had calves. These must be cows that have never had yokes on their necks. Hitch the cows to the cart, and take the calves ·home, away from their mothers [away from them and put them in a pen]. Put the Ark of the Lord [4:3] on the cart and the gold ·models [likenesses; objects] you are sending him for the ·penalty [guilt] offering in a ·box [chest] beside the Ark. Then send the cart ·straight on its way [to go its own way]. Watch the cart. If it goes toward Beth Shemesh [C a town on the border with Philistia about 24 miles west of Jerusalem] in ·Israel’s own land [its own territory], [then] the Lord has ·given us this great sickness [brought this great disaster/harm on us]. But if it doesn’t, we will know that ·Israel’s God has not punished us [it was not God’s hand that struck us]. It just happened by chance.”

10 ·The Philistines did what the priests and magicians said [L The men did so]. They took two cows that had just had calves and hitched them to the cart, but they kept their calves ·at home [in a pen]. 11 They put the Ark of the Lord and the ·box [chest] with the gold rats and ·models [likenesses; images] of ·growths [tumors] on the cart. 12 Then the cows went straight toward Beth Shemesh. They stayed on the road, ·mooing [lowing] all the way, and did not turn right or left. The Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords] followed the cows as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.

13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were ·harvesting [reaping] their wheat in the valley. When they ·looked up [L raised their eyes] and saw the Ark of the Lord, they were ·very happy [joyful to see it]. 14 The cart came to the field belonging to Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped near a large rock. The people of Beth Shemesh chopped up the wood of the cart. Then they ·sacrificed [offered] the cows as burnt offerings to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the Ark of the Lord and the ·box [chest] that had the gold ·models [likenesses; images], and they put both on the large rock. That day the people of Beth Shemesh offered whole burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 After the five Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords] saw this, they went back to Ekron [5:10] the same day.

17 The Philistines had sent these gold ·models [likenesses; images] of the ·growths [tumors] as ·penalty [guilt] offerings to the Lord. They sent one ·model [likeness; image] for each Philistine town: Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron [C the five chief cities of Philistia]. 18 And the Philistines also sent gold ·models [likenesses; images] of ·rats [or mice]. The number of ·rats [or mice] matched the number of towns belonging to the Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords], including both ·strong, walled [fortified] cities and country villages. The large rock on which they put the Ark of the Lord is still there [as a witness] in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.

19 But some of the men of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark of the Lord. So God killed seventy of them. The people of Beth Shemesh ·cried [mourned] because the Lord had struck them ·down [so heavily; with a great slaughter]. 20 ·They [L The men of Beth Shemesh] said, “Who can stand ·before [in the presence of] the Lord, this holy God? ·Whom will he strike next [or To whom shall he/it go next]?”

21 Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim [C a town nine miles north of Jerusalem], saying, “The Philistines have ·brought back [returned] the Ark of the Lord. Come down and take it to your city.”

The men of Kiriath Jearim [6:21] came and took the Ark of the Lord [4:3] to Abinadab’s house on a hill. There they made Abinadab’s son Eleazar ·holy [consecrated; C set him apart] for the Lord so he could ·guard [have charge of] the Ark of the Lord.

The Lord Saves the Israelites

The Ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. And the people of Israel ·began to follow [lamented; longed for] the Lord again. Samuel spoke to ·the whole group [L all the people/house] of Israel, saying, “If you’re turning back to the Lord with all your hearts, you must ·remove [get rid of; banish] your foreign gods and your idols of Ashtoreth. You must ·give yourselves [commit; direct your hearts] fully to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will ·save [rescue; deliver] you from the Philistines.”

So the Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] ·put away [got rid of; banished] their idols of Baal and Ashtoreth, and they served only the Lord.

Samuel said, “·All Israel must meet [Gather/Assemble all of Israel] at Mizpah [C just north of Jerusalem within the tribe of Benjamin], and I will ·pray to [plead to; intercede with] the Lord for you.” So the Israelites ·met together [gathered; assembled] at Mizpah. They drew water from the ground and poured it out before the Lord [C a ritual not commonly found in the OT] and fasted that day. They confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel ·served as judge of [judged] Israel at Mizpah.

The Philistines heard the Israelites were ·meeting [gathered; assembled] at Mizpah, so the Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords] came up to attack them. When ·the Israelites [sons/T children of Israel] heard they were coming, they were afraid. They said to Samuel, “Don’t stop ·praying [pleading; interceding; crying out] to the Lord our God for us! Ask him to ·save [rescue; deliver] us from the [L hand of the] Philistines!” Then Samuel took a ·baby [suckling] lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering [C an atonement sacrifice; Lev. 1]. He ·called to [pleaded/interceded with; cried out to] the Lord for Israel’s sake, and the Lord ·answered [heard] him.

10 While Samuel was ·burning [sacrificing] the [L burnt] offering, the Philistines came near to attack Israel. But [L on that day] the Lord thundered against them with ·loud thunder [a loud voice]. They were ·so frightened they became confused. So [… thrown into such a panic that] the Israelites ·defeated [routed] the Philistines in battle. 11 The men of Israel ·ran [rushed; L went] out of Mizpah and ·chased [pursued] the Philistines almost to Beth Car [C exact location is unknown], ·killing the Philistines [slaughtering them] along the way.

Peace Comes to Israel

12 After this happened Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.[b] He named the stone Ebenezer [C “Stone of help”], saying, “The Lord has helped us ·to this point [this far].” 13 So the Philistines were ·defeated [subdued; humbled] and did not enter the Israelites’ ·land [borders] again.

The [L hand of the] Lord was against the Philistines all Samuel’s life. 14 Earlier the Philistines had taken towns from the Israelites, but ·the Israelites won them back [they were restored to Israel], from Ekron [5:10] to Gath [5:8]. They also took back from the [L hand of the] Philistines the ·lands [territory] near these towns. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel ·continued as judge of [judged] Israel all [L the days of] his life. 16 Every year he went [L on circuit] from Bethel [C north of Jerusalem, near Ai in the central hill country] to Gilgal [C near Jericho] to Mizpah and judged the Israelites in all these towns. 17 But he always went back to Ramah [1:1], where his home was. There he judged Israel and built an altar to the Lord.

Israel Asks for a King

When Samuel was old, he ·made [appointed] his sons judges ·for [over] Israel. His first son was named Joel, and his second son was named Abijah. Joel and Abijah were judges in Beersheba [C in the Negev to the extreme south]. But Samuel’s sons did not ·live as he did [L walk/follow in his ways]. They ·tried to get money dishonestly [were greedy; wandered after money], and they accepted ·money secretly [bribes] ·to make wrong judgments [and perverted justice/made biased decisions].

So all the elders ·came together [assembled] and met Samuel at Ramah [1:1]. They said to him, “You’re old, and your sons don’t ·live as you do [L walk/follow in your ways]. Give us a king to ·rule over [judge] us like all the other nations [Deut. 17:14].”

When the elders said, “Give us [Appoint; L Now, set for us] a king to ·rule over [judge] us,” ·Samuel was not pleased [L it was evil/wrong in the eyes of Samuel]. So he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord told Samuel, “Listen to ·whatever [L the voice of] the people [L regarding what they] say to you. They have not rejected you. They have rejected me from being their king. They are doing as they have always done. When I ·took them out of [brought them up from] Egypt, they ·left [abandoned; deserted; forsook] me and ·served [followed] other gods. They are doing the same to you. Now ·listen to the people [listen to their voice; do as they ask], but [L solemnly] warn them ·what the king who rules over them will do [about the way/manner/custom in which he will rule/reign over them].”

10 So Samuel told those who had asked him for a king ·what [everything; L all the words] the Lord had said. 11 Samuel said, “If you have a king ·ruling [reigning] over you, ·this is what he will do [he will act this way; L this will be the way/manner/custom in which he will rule/reign over you]: He will ·take [draft] your sons and make them serve with his chariots and his ·horses [or charioteers; horsemen], and they will run in front of the king’s chariot. 12 He will make some of your sons commanders over thousands or over fifties. He will make some of your other sons plow his ·ground [fields] and ·reap his harvest [harvest his crops]. He will take others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to make perfume and cook and bake for him. 14 He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his ·servants [officials; attendants]. 15 He will take ·one-tenth [a tithe] of your ·grain [crops; seed] and ·grapes [vineyards] and give it to his officers and ·servants [officials; attendants]. 16 He will take your male and female servants, your best cattle, and your donkeys and use them all for his own work. 17 He will take ·one-tenth [a tithe] of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his ·slaves [servants]. 18 ·When that time comes [L In that day], you will cry out because of the king you ·chose [selected]. But the Lord will not ·answer [help] you then.”

19 But the people ·would not [L refused to] listen to [L the voice of] Samuel. They said, “No! We ·want [are determined to have] a king to rule over us. 20 Then we will be the same as all the other nations. Our king will ·judge for [govern; rule over] us and go ·with [before] us and fight our battles.”

21 After Samuel ·heard [listened to] all that the people said, he repeated their words ·to the Lord [L in the Lord’s hearing/ears]. 22 The Lord answered, “You must ·listen to them [do as they say]. ·Give [Appoint] them a king.”

Then Samuel told the people of Israel, “Go back [L each of you] to your ·towns [own town/city].”

Saul Looks for His Father’s Donkeys

Kish, son of Abiel from the tribe of Benjamin, was an ·important man [man of wealth/rank/standing/valor]. (Abiel was the son of Zeror, who was the son of Becorath, who was the son of Aphiah of Benjamin.) Kish had a son named Saul, who was a ·fine [handsome] young man. There was no Israelite ·better [more handsome] than he. Saul stood ·a head [head and shoulders] taller than any other man in Israel.

Now the donkeys of Saul’s father, Kish, were lost. So Kish said to Saul, his son, “Take one of the servants, and go and look for the donkeys.” Saul went through the ·mountains [hill country] of Ephraim and the ·land [area; territory] of Shalisha, but he and the servant could not find the donkeys. They went into the ·land [area; territory] of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. They went through the ·land [area; territory] of Benjamin, but they still did not find them. When they arrived in the area of Zuph, Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go back or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and will start worrying about us.”

But the servant answered, “A man of God [C a title for a prophet] is in this town. People ·respect [honor] him because everything he says comes true. Let’s go ·into the town now [L there]. Maybe he can tell us ·something about the journey we have taken [or what way to go].”

Saul said to his servant, “If we go into the town, what can we give him? The ·food [bread] in our bags is gone. We have no gift to give him. ·Do we have anything [What do we have]?”

Again the servant answered Saul. “Look, I have ·one-tenth of an ounce [L a quarter of a shekel] of silver. ·Give [or I will give] it to the man of God. Then he will tell us ·about our journey [L what to do/way to go].” (In ·the past [L those days], if someone in Israel wanted to ·ask something from [inquire of] God, he would say, “Let’s go to the seer.” We call the person a prophet today, but in ·the past [L those days] he was called a seer.)

10 Saul said to his servant, “·That’s a good idea [Well said]. Come, let’s go.” So they went toward the town where the man of God was.

11 As Saul and the servant were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to ·get [draw] water. Saul and the servant asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 The young women answered, “Yes, he’s here. He’s ahead of you. Hurry now. He has just come to our town today, because the people will offer a sacrifice at the ·place of worship [high place]. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you ·will [can] find him before he goes up to the ·place of worship [high place] to eat. The people will not begin eating until the seer comes, because he must bless the sacrifice. After that, the guests will eat. Go now, and you should find him [L quickly; at once].”

Saul Meets Samuel

14 Saul and the servant went up to the town. Just as they ·entered it [L arrived in the midst of the town], they saw Samuel coming toward them on his way up to the ·place of worship [high place].

15 The day before Saul came, the Lord had ·told [revealed this to] Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the ·land [territory] of Benjamin. ·Appoint [Anoint] him ·to lead [L ruler/prince over] my people Israel. He will ·save [rescue; deliver] my people from the [L hand of the] Philistines. I have seen ·the suffering of my people, and I have listened to their cry [L my people because their cry has reached me].”

17 When Samuel first saw Saul, the Lord said to Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He will ·organize [rule over; govern] my people.”

18 Saul approached Samuel at the gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”

19 Samuel answered, “I am the seer. Go ·with [ahead of] me to the ·place of worship [high place]. Today you and your servant are to eat with me. Tomorrow morning I will ·answer all your questions [L tell you all that is in your heart/mind] and send you home. 20 Don’t worry about the donkeys you lost three days ago, because they have been found. Soon all the ·wealth [desires] of Israel will ·belong to [be focused/fixed on; turn to] you and your family.”

21 Saul answered, “·But I am [L Am I not…?] from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel. And ·my family group is [L is not my family/clan…?] the ·smallest [least] in the tribe of Benjamin. Why are you ·saying such things [talking this way to me]?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into ·a large room [the hall] and ·gave them a choice place at [placed them at the head of] the table. About thirty guests were there. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the meat I gave you, the portion I told you to set aside.”

24 So the cook took the thigh and put it on the table in front of Saul. Samuel said, “This is the meat saved for you. Eat it, because it was set aside for you for this ·special [appointed] time. ·As I said, ‘I had invited the people.’ [or … even before I invited these others].” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 After they finished eating, they came down from the ·place of worship [high place] and went to the town. Then Samuel ·talked with [or prepared a bed for] Saul on the roof of his house [C the flat roofs of Israelite houses served as living space]. 26 At dawn they got up, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof. He said, “Get up, and I will send you on your way.” So Saul got up and went out of the house with Samuel. 27 As Saul, his servant, and Samuel were getting near the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stay, ·because I have a message from [so I may give/proclaim the word of] God for you.”

Samuel Appoints Saul

10 Samuel took a ·jar [flask; vial] of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “The Lord has ·appointed [anointed] you ·to lead [ruler; prince over] his ·people[c] [special possession; inheritance]. After you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb on the border of Benjamin at Zelzah [Gen. 35:19]. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you were looking for have been found. But now your father has stopped thinking about his donkeys and is ·worrying [anxious] about you. He is asking, “What will I do about my son?” ’

“Then you will go on until you reach the ·big [L oak] tree at Tabor. Three men ·on their way to worship [L going up to] God at Bethel will meet you there. One man will be carrying three ·goats [kids]. Another will be carrying three loaves of bread. And the third will have a ·leather bag [skin] full of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you must accept. Then you will go to ·Gibeah [or the hill] of God, where a Philistine ·camp [garrison] is. When you approach this town, a group of prophets will come down from the ·place of worship [high place]. They will be playing harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres, and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will ·rush upon [come on; seize; possess] you with power. You will prophesy with them, and you will be changed into a different man. After these signs happen, do ·whatever you find to do [what must be done; what you see fit to do; L what your hand finds to do], because God ·will help [is with] you [C Saul was supposed to attack the garrison, but he did not do so].

“Go ahead of me to Gilgal. I will come down to you to offer whole burnt offerings [Lev. 1] and to sacrifice ·fellowship [peace; well-being] offerings [Lev. 3:1]. But you must wait seven days. Then I will come and ·tell [show; reveal to] you what to do [C Saul did not do this either].”

Saul Made King

When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God ·changed Saul’s [gave Saul a new/another] heart. All these signs ·came true [were fulfilled; occurred] that day. 10 When they arrived at Gibeah, Saul met a ·group [band; procession] of prophets. The Spirit of God ·rushed upon [overwhelmed; seized; possessed] him, and he prophesied with the prophets. 11 When people who had known Saul before saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What has happened to Kish’s son? Is even Saul ·one of [among] the prophets?”

12 A man who lived there ·said [answered; retorted], “Who is the father of these prophets [C Saul’s prophesying amazed and confused him]?” So this became a ·famous saying [proverb]: “Is ·even Saul one of [Saul also among] the prophets?” 13 When Saul finished prophesying, he ·entered the place of worship [came/went to the high place].

14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?”

Saul said, “We were looking for the donkeys. When we couldn’t find them, we went to talk to Samuel.”

15 Saul’s uncle asked, “Please tell me. What did Samuel say to you?”

16 Saul answered, “He told us the donkeys had already been found.” But Saul did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about ·his becoming king [the kingdom; C Saul should have announced publicly that he was king].

17 Samuel called all the people of Israel ·to meet with [to] the Lord at Mizpah [7:5–11, 15–17]. 18 He said [L to the sons of Israel], “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I ·led [brought up] Israel out of Egypt. I ·saved [rescued; delivered] you from Egypt’s ·control [L hand] and from [L the hand of] other kingdoms that were ·troubling [oppressing] you.’ 19 But ·now [today] you have rejected your God. He ·saves [rescues; delivers] you from all your ·troubles [calamities; disasters; miseries] and ·problems [distresses], but you said, ‘No! ·We want [Appoint; Set] a king to rule over us.’ Now come, ·stand [present yourselves] before the Lord in your tribes and ·family groups [clans].”

20 When Samuel ·gathered [brought forward] ·all [each of] the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin was ·picked [chosen/taken by lot]. 21 Samuel had ·them [the tribe of Benjamin] pass by in ·family groups [clans], and Matri’s family was ·picked [chosen/taken by lot]. Then he had each man of Matri’s family pass by, and Saul son of Kish was ·picked [chosen/taken by lot]. But when they looked for Saul, ·they could not find him [he had disappeared]. 22 They ·asked [inquired further of] the Lord, “Has ·Saul [L the man] come here yet?”

The Lord said, “Yes. He’s hiding ·behind [among] the baggage.”

23 So they ran and brought him out. When Saul stood among the people, he was ·a head [head and shoulders] taller than anyone else. 24 Then Samuel said to the people, “See the man the Lord has chosen. ·There is no one like him [He has no equal] among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Samuel explained the ·rights and duties [ordinances; customs] of the king and then wrote them ·in a book [on a scroll] and put it before the Lord. Then he told the people to go to their homes.

26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah. ·God touched the hearts of certain brave men who went along with him […accompanied by warriors/valiant men whose hearts God had touched]. 27 But some ·troublemakers [scoundrels; worthless men] said, “How can this man ·save [rescue; deliver] us?” They ·disapproved of [scorned; despised] Saul and refused to bring gifts to him. But Saul kept ·quiet[d] [silent; held his peace; ignored them].

Nahash Troubles Jabesh Gilead

11 About a month later[e] Nahash the Ammonite and his army ·surrounded [attacked and besieged] the city of Jabesh in Gilead. All the people of Jabesh said to Nahash, “·Make [L Cut] a ·treaty [covenant] with us, and we will ·serve [be subject to] you.”

But Nahash the Ammonite answered, “I will ·make a treaty [L cut] with you only if I’m allowed to ·poke [gouge] out the right eye of each of you. Then all Israel will be ·ashamed [disgraced]!”

The elders of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Give us seven days to send messengers through all [L the borders/territories of] Israel. If no one comes to ·help [rescue; deliver] us, we will ·give ourselves up [surrender] to you.”

When the messengers came to Gibeah where Saul lived and told the people the news, they ·cried loudly [L raised their voices and wept]. Saul was coming home from plowing the fields with his oxen when he heard the people crying. He asked, “What’s wrong with the people that they are crying?” Then they told Saul what the ·messengers [L men] from Jabesh had said. When Saul heard their words, God’s Spirit ·rushed upon him with power [came mightily/powerfully on Saul], and he ·became very angry [burned with anger]. So he took a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces. Then he gave the pieces of the oxen to messengers and ordered them to carry them through all the land of Israel [C a ritual to curse an enemy].

The messengers said, “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who does not ·follow [march with; C into battle] Saul and Samuel.” So the ·people became very afraid of the Lord [L terror/dread of the Lord fell on the people]. They all ·came together [marched out] as if they were one person. Saul ·gathered [mobilized; mustered] the people together at Bezek. There were three hundred thousand men from Israel and thirty[f] thousand men from Judah.

They said to the messengers who had come, “Tell the people at Jabesh Gilead this: ‘·Before the day warms up tomorrow [By the time the sun is hot], you will be ·saved [rescued; delivered].’” So the messengers went and reported this to the people at Jabesh, and they were ·very happy [elated; overjoyed]. 10 The people said to Nahash the Ammonite, “Tomorrow we will ·come out to meet [surrender to] you. Then you can do ·anything you want to us [to us whatever seems good to you].”

11 The next morning Saul divided his soldiers into three ·groups [companies; divisions]. At dawn they entered the Ammonite camp and defeated them ·before [until] the heat of the day. The Ammonites who ·escaped [survived] were scattered; no two of them were still together.

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who ·didn’t want Saul as king [was it that questioned, ‘Will Saul rule/reign over us]?’ Bring them here and we will kill them!”

13 But Saul said, “No! No one will be put to death today. Today the Lord has ·saved [rescued; delivered] Israel!”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal. There we will ·again promise to obey the king [renew the kingdom].” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there, before the Lord, the people made Saul king. They offered ·fellowship [peace; communion] offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites ·had a great celebration [rejoiced greatly].

Samuel’s Farewell Speech

12 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have ·done everything you wanted me to do [listened to everything you said] and have ·put [appointed] a king over you. Now you have a king ·to lead [walking before/in front of] you. I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have ·been your leader [walked before/in front of you] since I was young [L until this day]. Here I am. ·If I have done anything wrong, you must testify [Bear witness] against me before the Lord and his ·appointed king [anointed]. Did I steal anyone’s ox or donkey? Did I ·hurt [oppress] or cheat anyone? Did I ever secretly accept a bribe to ·look the other way [L close my eyes]? If I did any of these things, I will make ·it right [amends].”

The Israelites answered, “You have not cheated us, or ·hurt [oppressed] us, or taken anything ·unfairly from anyone [from anyone’s hand].”

Samuel said to them, “The Lord is a witness ·to what you have said [against you]. His ·appointed [anointed] king is also a witness today that you did not find anything ·wrong in me [L in my hand].”

“He is our witness,” they said.

Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who ·chose [appointed; L made] Moses and Aaron and brought your ·ancestors [fathers] out of Egypt. Now, ·stand there [or take your stand], and I will ·remind you of [plead with you/confront you concerning] all the ·good things [righteous/saving acts] the Lord did for you and your ·ancestors [fathers].

“After Jacob [C the Israelites] ·entered [went to; arrived in] Egypt, ·his descendants [they] cried to the Lord for help. So the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who took your ·ancestors [fathers] out of Egypt and ·brought them to live [settled them] in this place.

“But they forgot the Lord their God. So he ·handed them over as slaves [sold them] to Sisera [Judg. 4–5], the commander of the army of Hazor, and ·as slaves to [into the hand of] the Philistines [Judg. 13–16] and the king of Moab. ·They all […all of whom had] fought against your ·ancestors [fathers]. 10 Then your ancestors cried to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned. We have ·left [turned away from; forsaken] the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths [C gods and goddesses of the Canaanites]. But now ·save [rescue; deliver] us from [L the hand of] our enemies, and we will ·serve [worship] you.’ 11 So the Lord sent ·Gideon [L Jerubbaal; C another name for Gideon; Judg. 6:32], ·Barak [L Bedan; Judg. 4:6], Jephthah [Judg. 11–12], and Samuel. He ·saved [rescued; delivered] you from [L the hands of] your enemies around you, and you lived in ·safety [security]. 12 But when you saw Nahash king of the ·Ammonites [L sons of Ammon] ·coming [marching] against you, you said, ‘No! We want a king to ·rule [reign] over us!’—even though the Lord your God was your king. 13 ·Now [All right; So] here is the king you chose, the one you asked for. The Lord has ·put [set; appointed] him over you. 14 ·You must [If you…] ·honor [fear] the Lord and ·serve [worship] him. You must ·obey [listen to] his ·word [voice] and not ·turn [rebel] against ·his commands [L the mouth of the Lord]. Both you and the king ·ruling [reigning] over you must follow the Lord your God. If you do, it will be well with you. 15 But if you don’t ·obey [listen to the voice of] the Lord, and if you ·turn [rebel] against ·his commands [L the mouth of the Lord], ·he [the hand of the Lord] will be ·against [heavy on] you. ·He will do to you what he did to […as it was on] your ·ancestors [fathers].

16 “Now stand ·still [where you are] and see the ·great thing [wonder; L thing] the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 ·It is [Is it not…?] now the time of the wheat harvest [C the dry season]. I will pray for the Lord to send thunder and rain [C the rain would destroy the wheat harvest]. Then you will know what an ·evil [wicked] thing you did ·against [in the eyes/sight of] the Lord when you ·asked for [demanded] a king.”

18 Then Samuel ·prayed [called] to the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So the people were ·very afraid [in awe] of the Lord and Samuel. 19 ·They [L All the people] said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for us, your servants! Don’t let us die! We’ve added to all our sins the evil of ·asking for [demanding] a king.”

20 Samuel answered [L the people], “Don’t be afraid. It’s true that you did ·wrong [evil], but don’t turn away from the Lord. ·Serve [Worship] the Lord with all your heart. 21 ·Idols [Futile things] are of no use, so don’t worship them. They can’t help you or ·save [rescue; deliver] you. They are ·useless [futile]! 22 For his own [L name’s] sake, the Lord won’t ·leave [abandon; reject; desert] his people. ·Instead, [For; Because] he was pleased to make you his own people. 23 [L As for me,] ·I will surely not [Far be it from me to] stop praying for you, because that would be sinning against the Lord. I will ·teach [instruct] you ·what [in the way that] is good and right. 24 ·You must honor [Fear only] the Lord and ·truly serve [worship] him with all your heart. ·Remember [Keep in mind; Consider] the ·wonderful [great] things he did for you! 25 But if you ·are stubborn and do [persist in doing] evil, he will sweep you and your king away.”

13 Saul was thirty years old when he ·became king [began to reign/rule], and he ·was king [reigned; ruled] over Israel forty-two years.[g] Saul chose three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand men stayed with him at Micmash in the ·mountains [hill country] of Bethel, and one thousand men stayed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul sent the other men in the army back ·home [L to their tents].

Jonathan ·attacked [L struck] the Philistine ·camp [garrison] in Geba, and the other Philistines heard about it. Saul said, “Let the Hebrews hear what happened.” So he told the men to blow ·trumpets [ram’s horns] through all the land of Israel. All the Israelites heard the news. The men said, “Saul has ·defeated [struck] the Philistine camp [garrison; C Saul receives credit for Jonathan’s victory]. Now ·the Philistines will really hate us [L Israel will stink among the Philistines]!” Then the Israelites were called to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines gathered to fight Israel with three thousand[h] chariots and six thousand ·men to ride in them [horsemen; charioteers]. Their soldiers were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. The Philistines went and camped at Micmash, which is east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that they were in ·trouble [a tight spot; desperate straits], they went to hide in caves and ·bushes [thickets; or holes], among the ·rocks [cliffs; crevices], and in ·pits [cellars; tombs; vaults] and ·wells [cisterns]. Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead.

But Saul stayed at Gilgal, and all the men in his army were ·shaking with fear [trembling; quaking]. Saul waited seven days, ·because Samuel had said he would meet him then [L the period/time Samuel had set; C as a priest, Samuel had to offer sacrifices before battle]. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to ·leave [scatter; slip away].

So Saul said, “Bring me the whole burnt offering and the ·fellowship [peace; communion] offerings.” Then Saul ·offered [sacrificed] the whole burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to greet him.

11 Samuel asked, “What have you ·done [been doing]?”

Saul answered, “I saw the soldiers ·leaving [scattering from] me, and you were not here ·when you said you would be [at the set/appointed time]. The Philistines were gathering at Micmash. 12 Then I thought, ‘The Philistines will come against me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked for the Lord’s ·approval [help; favor].’ So I ·forced myself [felt compelled/it necessary] to offer the whole burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said, “You acted foolishly [C only priests could legitimately offer sacrifices]! You haven’t ·obeyed [kept] the command of the Lord your God [C frightened troops should have been allowed to leave; Deut. 20:8–9]. If you had obeyed him, the Lord would have ·made your kingdom continue [established your kingdom] ·in [over] Israel always [C Saul rather than David would have had a dynasty], 14 but now your kingdom will not ·continue [last; endure]. The Lord has ·looked for the kind of man he wants [L sought a man after his own heart; 16:6–13]. He has appointed him to ·rule [L be prince over] his people, because you haven’t ·obeyed his [kept the Lord’s] command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were still with him, and there were about six hundred.

Hard Times for Israel

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the soldiers with him stayed in Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. The Philistines made their camp at Micmash. 17 Three ·groups [raiding parties] went out from the Philistine camp to make raids. One ·group [company] went on the Ophrah road in the land of Shual. 18 The second group went on the Beth Horon road. The third group went on the border road that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim toward the ·desert [wilderness].

19 The whole land of Israel had no blacksmith because the Philistines had said, “The Hebrews ·might [L must not] make swords and spears.” 20 So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to have their plows, hoes, axes, and sickles sharpened. 21 The Philistine blacksmiths charged ·about one-fourth of an ounce of silver [L two-thirds of a shekel] for sharpening plows and hoes. And they charged ·one-eighth of an ounce of silver [L one-third of a shekel] for sharpening picks, axes, and the ·sticks used to guide oxen [goads].

22 So when the battle came, the ·soldiers [people] with Saul and Jonathan had no swords or spears [L in their hands]. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Israel Defeats the Philistines

23 A ·group from [unit/detachment of] the Philistine army had gone out to the pass at Micmash.

14 One day Jonathan, Saul’s son, said to ·the officer who carried his armor [his armor bearer], “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine ·camp [outpost] on the other side.” But Jonathan did not tell his father.

Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree at ·the threshing floor [or Migron] near Gibeah. He had about six hundred men with him. One man was Ahijah who was wearing the ·holy vest [ephod; Ex. 28:6–14]. (Ahijah was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub. Ichabod was the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh.) No one knew Jonathan had left.

There was a ·steep slope [rocky crag/cliff] on each side of the pass that Jonathan planned to go through to reach the Philistine ·camp [outpost]. The cliff on one side was named Bozez, and the cliff on the other side was named Seneh. One ·cliff [crag] faced north toward Micmash. The other faced south toward Geba.

Jonathan said to his ·officer who carried his armor [armor bearer], “Come. Let’s go to the ·camp [outpost] of those men who are not circumcised [C Philistines were among the few Near Eastern people of the day who did not practice circumcision; it had special significance in Israel; Gen. 17:9–14]. Maybe the Lord will ·help [act/work something for] us. The Lord ·can give us victory if [is able to save/rescue whether] we have many people, or just a few.”

·The officer who carried Jonathan’s armor [His armor bearer] said to him, “Do whatever you think is best. Go ahead. ·I’m with you [Our hearts/minds are one].”

Jonathan said, “Then come. We will cross over to the Philistines and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay there until we come to you [C in order to kill them],’ we will stay where we are. We won’t go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us [C in order to fight],’ we will climb up, and the Lord will ·let us defeat them [L give them into our hands]. This will be the sign for us.”

11 When they both let the Philistines see them, the Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in!” 12 The Philistines in the ·camp [outpost] shouted to Jonathan and his officer, “Come up to us. ·We’ll teach you a lesson [or We have something to tell/show you]!”

Jonathan said to his ·officer [armor bearer], “Climb up behind me, because the Lord has given the Philistines ·to [L into the hands of] Israel!” 13 So Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, and his ·officer [armor bearer] climbed just behind him. ·Jonathan struck down the Philistines [L And they fell before Jonathan] as he went, and his ·officer [armor bearer] killed ·them as he followed [those who came from] behind him. 14 In that first ·fight [attack; slaughter] Jonathan and his officer killed about twenty Philistines over a ·half acre [L yoke] of ground.

15 All the Philistine soldiers panicked—those in the ·camp [outpost] and those in the raiding party. ·The ground itself shook [An earthquake struck]! God had caused the panic.

16 Saul’s ·guards [watchmen] were at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin when they saw the ·Philistine soldiers [L vast army; multitude] ·running in every direction [L melting away, here and there]. 17 Saul said to his army, “·Check to see who has left our camp [Call the roll and see who has left us].” When they ·checked [called the roll], they learned that Jonathan and his ·officer [armor bearer] were gone.

18 So Saul said to Ahijah the priest, “Bring the ·Ark of God[i] [or ephod; C see text note; both are means of discerning God’s will].” (At that time ·it was with [or he was wearing it in front of] the Israelites.) 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp was growing. Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Put your hand down! [C to stop the inquiry of God]

20 Then Saul ·gathered his army [assembled; gathered] and entered the battle. They found the Philistines [L totally; greatly] confused, striking each other with their swords! 21 Earlier, there were Hebrews who had ·served [defected/gone over to] the Philistines and had stayed in their camp, but now they ·joined [went over to] the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites hidden in the ·mountains [hill country] of Ephraim heard that the Philistine soldiers were running away, they also joined the battle ·and chased the Philistines [in hot pursuit]. 23 So the Lord ·saved [rescued; delivered] the Israelites that day, and the battle ·moved on past [spread beyond] Beth Aven.

Saul Makes Another Mistake

24 The men of Israel were ·miserable [exhausted; hard pressed] that day because Saul had ·made an oath for all of them [put them under an oath]. He had said, “No one should eat food before evening and before I ·finish defeating [have had revenge on] my enemies. If he does, he will be cursed!” So no Israelite soldier ate food.

25 Now ·the whole army [L all the land] went into the woods, where there was some honey on the ground. 26 ·They came upon some ·honey [honeycomb], but no one ·took any [L put his hand to his mouth] because they were afraid of the oath. 27 [But] Jonathan had not heard ·the oath Saul had put on the army [that Saul had bound the people with a vow], so he dipped the end of his ·stick [staff] into the honey and lifted some out and ·ate it [L put his hand to his mouth]. Then ·he felt better [his eyes brightened]. 28 Then one of the soldiers told Jonathan, “Your father ·made an oath for all the soldiers [bound the people with a strict oath/vow]. He said any man who eats today will be cursed! That’s why they are so ·weak [weary; faint].”

29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the land! See how ·much better I feel [L my eyes have brightened] after just tasting a little of this honey! 30 It would have been much better for the men to eat the ·food [plunder; spoil] they took from their enemies today. We could have ·killed [slaughtered] many more Philistines!”

31 That day the Israelites ·defeated [attacked; struck down] the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon. After that, they were very ·tired [weary; faint]. 32 They ·had taken [rushed to the plunder, taking] sheep, ·cattle [oxen], and calves from the Philistines. Now they were so hungry they ·killed [butchered] the animals on the ground and ate them, ·without draining the blood from them [with the blood]! 33 Someone said to Saul, “Look! The men are sinning against the Lord. ·They’re eating meat without draining the blood from it […by eating with the blood; Gen. 9:4; Deut. 12:23]!”

Saul said, “You ·have sinned [acted treacherously; broken faith]! Roll a large stone over here now!” 34 Then he said, “·Go [Disperse yourselves] ·to [among] the men and tell them that each person must bring his ox and sheep to me and ·kill [slaughter] it here and eat it. Don’t sin against the Lord by eating ·meat without draining the blood from it [with the blood].”

That night everyone brought his ·animals [oxen] and ·killed [slaughtered] them there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar he had built to the Lord.

36 Saul said, “Let’s go after the Philistines ·tonight [after dark] and ·rob [plunder; despoil] them. We won’t ·let any of them live [leave one of them]!”

The men answered, “Do whatever you think is best.”

But the priest said, “Let’s ·ask [approach; draw near to] God [C by making inquiry through the sacred lots or ephod].”

37 So Saul asked God, “Should I ·chase [L go down after] the Philistines? Will you ·let us defeat them [L give them into Israel’s hand]?” But God did not answer Saul ·at that time [that day]. 38 ·Then [So] Saul said to all the ·leaders [commanders] of his army, “Come here. Let’s find out what sin has been ·done [committed] today [C Saul believed God had not answered him because of a sin]. 39 As surely as the Lord lives who has ·saved [rescued; delivered] Israel, even if my son Jonathan did the sin, he must die.” But no one ·in the army [of all the people] spoke.

40 Then Saul said to all the Israelites, “You stand on this side. I and my son Jonathan will stand on the other side.”

The men answered, “Do whatever you think is best.”

41 Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “·Give me the right answer [Let the sacred lots reveal the answer; L Give Thummim; C Saul is making inquiry through the sacred lots (the Urim and Thummim) as to who sinned; Ex. 28:29–30].”

And Saul and Jonathan were picked; the ·other men went free [people were cleared/went free/escaped blame]. 42 Saul said, “Now ·let us discover if it is I or Jonathan my son who is guilty [cast sacred lots between me and Jonathan].” And Jonathan was ·picked [taken].

43 Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

So Jonathan told Saul, “I only tasted a little honey from the end of my ·stick [staff]. ·And must I die now [Does that deserve death; or I am ready to die.]?”

44 Saul said, “Jonathan, if you don’t die, may God ·punish me terribly [do the same to me, and even more].”

45 But the ·soldiers [people] said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die? Never! He is responsible for ·saving [rescuing; delivering; L this great victory in] Israel today! As surely as the Lord lives, not even a hair of his head will fall to the ground! ·Today Jonathan fought against the Philistines with God’s help […for he has worked with God today]!” So the ·army [people] ·saved [rescued; redeemed] Jonathan, and he did not die.

46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and they [C the Philistines] went back to their own ·land [territory; L place].

Saul Fights Israel’s Enemies

47 When Saul ·became king [had secured/consolidated his rule/kingship] over Israel, he fought against Israel’s enemies ·all around [on every side]. He fought Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the ·king [or kings] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Everywhere Saul ·went [L turned] he ·defeated [punished; routed] Israel’s enemies. 48 He ·fought bravely [performed valiantly] and ·defeated [struck] the Amalekites. He ·saved [rescued; delivered] the Israelites from ·their enemies who had robbed [L the hand of those who plundered/pillaged] them.

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. His ·older [firstborn] daughter was named Merab, and his younger daughter was named Michal. 50 Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

52 All Saul’s life ·he fought hard against [there was bitter/fierce warfare with] the Philistines. When he saw strong or brave men, he ·took [drafted] them into his ·army [service; 8:11].

Saul Rejected as King

15 Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to ·appoint [anoint] you king over [L his people] Israel. Now listen to ·his message [L the words of the Lord]. This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of hosts] says: ‘When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the Amalekites ·tried to stop them from going to Canaan [opposed/laid a trap for them; Ex. 17:8–16]. So I will ·punish [settle accounts with] them [Deut. 25:17–19]. Now go, ·attack [crush; L strike] the Amalekites and ·completely destroy everything they own as an offering devoted to the Lord [devote to destruction; C Israel was commanded to kill all the inhabitants of the land; Deut. 20:15–18]. Don’t ·let anything live [spare anything]. Put to death men and women, children and small babies, ·cattle [ox] and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

So Saul ·called [mobilized] the army together at Telaim and ·counted [reviewed] them. There were two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. Then Saul went to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the ·ravine [valley]. He said to the Kenites [Gen. 15:19; Num. 24:21–22; Judg. 4:11; 5:24], “·Go [Move] away. Leave the Amalekites ·so that I won’t [or I will] destroy you with them, because you showed ·kindness [lovingkindness; treaty faithfulness] to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

Then Saul ·defeated [L struck] the Amalekites. He fought them all the way from Havilah to Shur, ·at the border [east] of Egypt. He ·took [captured] King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but he ·killed all of Agag’s army [totally destroyed all the people; 15:3] with the sword. Saul and the ·army let Agag live [people spared Agag], along with the best sheep, [L oxen,] fat cattle, and lambs. They let every ·good [valuable] animal live, because they did not want to ·destroy them [devote them to destruction; 15:3]. But when they found an animal that was ·weak [despised] or useless, they ·killed it [devoted it to destruction].

10 Then the Lord spoke his word to Samuel: 11 “I ·am sorry [regret] I made Saul king, because he has ·stopped [turned away from] following me and has not ·obeyed [carried out] my commands.” Samuel was ·upset [distressed; angry; deeply moved], and he cried out to the Lord all night long.

12 Early the next morning Samuel got up and went to ·meet [find] Saul. But the people told Samuel, “Saul has gone to Carmel, where he has put up a monument ·in his own honor [to himself]. Now he has gone down to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you! I have ·obeyed [carried out; upheld] the Lord’s commands.”

14 But Samuel said, “Then why do I hear ·cattle mooing [oxen lowing] and sheep bleating?”

15 Saul answered, “The ·soldiers [people] took them from the Amalekites. They saved the best sheep and cattle to offer as sacrifices to the Lord your God, but we ·destroyed [devoted to destruction; 15:3] all the other animals.”

16 Samuel said to Saul, “·Stop [Enough]! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

Saul answered, “·Tell me [Speak].”

17 Samuel said, “·Once [Although] you ·didn’t think much of yourself [L are/were little/small in your own eyes], but now you have become the ·leader [head] of the tribes of Israel. The Lord ·appointed [anointed] you to be king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission. He said, ‘Go and ·destroy [devote to destruction; 15:3] those ·evil people [L sinners], the Amalekites. Make war on them until all of them are ·dead [wiped out; exterminated; consumed].’ 19 Why didn’t you obey the [L the voice of the] Lord? Why did you ·take the best things [L rush for/pounce on the plunder/spoils]? Why did you do what ·the Lord said was wrong [L was evil in the Lord’s sight/eyes]?”

20 Saul said [L to Samuel], “But I did obey [L the voice of] the Lord. I ·did what the Lord told [went on the mission the Lord gave] me to do. I ·destroyed [devoted to destruction; 15:3] all the Amalekites, and I brought back Agag their king. 21 The ·soldiers [people] took [L from the plunder/spoil] the best sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 But Samuel answered,

“What pleases the Lord more:
    burnt offerings and sacrifices
    or obedience to his voice?
·It is better to obey [Obedience is better] than ·to sacrifice [sacrifice].
    ·It is better to listen to God than to offer [Submission/Heeding is better than] the fat of ·sheep [rams].
23 ·Disobedience [Rebellion] is as bad as the sin of ·sorcery [witchcraft; divination].
    ·Pride [Stubbornness; Arrogance; Presumption; Insubordination] is as bad as ·the sin of worshiping idols [idolatry].
You have rejected the Lord’s ·command [word].
    Now he rejects you as king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I ·didn’t obey [broke; violated; transgressed] the Lord’s commands and your ·words [instructions]. I was afraid of the people, and I ·did what they said [L listened to their voice]. 25 Now, I beg you, ·forgive [pardon] my sin. Come back with me so I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I won’t go back with you. You rejected the Lord’s ·command [word], and now he rejects you as king of Israel.”

27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul ·caught [grabbed] his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors [C David; 16:13] who is better than you. 29 The Lord is the ·Eternal One [or Glory] of Israel. He does not lie or change his mind. He is not a ·human being [mortal], so he does not change his mind.”

30 Saul answered, “I have sinned. But please ·honor [respect] me in front of the elders of my people and in front of the Israelites. Come back with me so that I can worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of the Amalekites.”

Agag came to Samuel ·in chains [or cheerfully; hopefully; or haltingly], but Agag thought, “Surely the ·threat [bitterness] of death has passed. [or Surely, death is bitter].”

33 Samuel said to him, “Your sword made other mothers ·lose their children [childless]. Now your mother will ·have no children [be childless].” And Samuel ·cut Agag to pieces [butchered Agag] before the Lord at Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel left and went to Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah [L of Saul]. 35 And Samuel never saw Saul again ·the rest of his life [L until the day of his death], but he ·was sad [mourned; grieved] for Saul. And the Lord ·was very sorry [regretted] he had made Saul king of Israel.

Samuel Goes to Bethlehem

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you ·continue to feel sorry [mourn; grieve] for Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. Fill your ·container [flask; L horn] with olive oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse who lives in Bethlehem, because I have ·chosen [selected; found myself] one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “·If [L How can…?] I go, Saul will hear the news and will try to kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a ·young calf [heifer] with you. Say, ‘I have come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice. Then I will tell you what to do. You must ·appoint [anoint] the one I ·show you [indicate; designate; name; L tell you].”

Samuel did what the Lord told him to do. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of Bethlehem ·shook with fear [trembled]. They met him and asked, “Are you coming in peace?”

Samuel answered, “Yes, I come in peace. I have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. ·Set yourselves apart to the Lord [Consecrate/Purify/Sanctify yourselves] and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he ·set Jesse and his sons apart to the Lord, [consecrated/purified/sanctified Jesse and his sons] and he invited them to come to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab, and he thought, “Surely, here stands before me the Lord’s ·appointed [anointed].”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t look at ·how handsome Eliab is [his appearance] or ·how tall he is [his height], because I have ·not chosen [rejected] him. God does not see ·the same way [as] people see. People look at ·the outside of a person [appearances; the outward appearance], but the Lord looks ·at [on] the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and told him to ·pass by [walk in front of] Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this man either.” Then Jesse had Shammah pass by. But Samuel said, “No, the Lord has not chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons ·pass by [presented to] Samuel. But Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”

11 Then he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

Jesse answered, “I still have the youngest son. He is out taking care of the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him. We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent and had his youngest son brought in. He was ·a fine boy, tanned [dark; ruddy], [L with beautiful eyes] and handsome.

The Lord said to Samuel, “·Go [Rise], ·appoint [anoint] him, because he is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the ·container [flask; L horn] of olive oil and ·poured it on Jesse’s youngest son to appoint [anointed] him in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Lord’s Spirit ·worked in [came powerfully upon] David. Samuel then went back to Ramah.

David Serves Saul

14 But the Lord’s Spirit ·had left [departed from] Saul, and an ·evil [tormenting] spirit from the Lord ·troubled [terrorized; afflicted] him.

15 Saul’s servants said to him, “See, an ·evil [tormenting] spirit from God is ·troubling [terrorizing; afflicting] you. 16 Give ·us [L your servants] the command to look for someone who can play the ·harp [lyre]. When the ·evil [tormenting] spirit from God ·troubles [terrorizes; afflicts] you, he will play, and you will ·feel better [be well].”

17 So Saul said to his servants, “Find someone who can play well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants said, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem play the ·harp [lyre]. He is brave and ·courageous [a warrior]. He ·is a good speaker [or has good judgment] and handsome, and the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, “Send me your son David, ·who is with the sheep [the shepherd].” 20 So Jesse loaded a donkey with bread, a ·leather bag [wineskin] full of wine, and a young goat, and he sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 When David came to Saul, he ·began to serve him [entered his service; L stood before him]. Saul ·liked David [loved David very much] and made him ·the officer who carried his armor [his armor bearer]. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse, saying, “Let David ·stay and serve me [remain in my service] because ·I like him [I am pleased with him; L he has found grace/favor in my sight].”

23 When the ·evil [tormenting] spirit from God ·troubled [terrorized; afflicted] Saul, David would take his ·harp [lyre] and play. Then the ·evil [tormenting] spirit would leave him, and Saul would feel ·better [refreshed; soothed].

David and Goliath

17 The Philistines ·gathered [assembled; mustered] their armies for ·war [battle]. They ·met [gathered; assembled; mustered] at Socoh in Judah and camped at Ephes Dammim between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites ·gathered [assembled; mustered] in the Valley of Elah and camped there and ·took their positions [drew up their battle line] to fight the Philistines. The Philistines ·controlled [occupied; stood on] one hill while the Israelites ·controlled [occupied; stood on] another. The valley was between them.

The Philistines had a champion fighter from Gath named Goliath. He was ·about nine feet, four inches tall [L six cubits and a span].[j] He came out of the Philistine camp with a bronze helmet on his head and a coat of bronze ·armor [mail; scale-armor] that weighed ·about one hundred twenty-five pounds [L five thousand shekels]. He wore bronze ·protectors [greaves] on his legs, and he had a bronze spear ·on his back [across his shoulders]. The wooden part of his larger spear was like a weaver’s ·rod [beam], and its ·blade [head] weighed ·about fifteen pounds [L six hundred shekels of iron]. The ·officer who carried his shield [shield bearer] walked in front of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ·Israelite soldiers [L ranks of Israel], “Why have you ·taken positions [lined up] for battle? ·I am [L Am I not…?] a Philistine, and you are Saul’s servants! Choose a man and send him to fight me. If he can fight and kill me, we will be your ·servants [slaves]. But if I can kill him, you will be our ·servants [slaves] [L and serve us].” 10 Then he said, “Today I stand and ·dare [defy; challenge] the ·army [ranks] of Israel! ·Send one of your men [L Give me a man] to fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard the Philistine’s words, they were ·very scared [dismayed and terrified].

12 Now David was the son of Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons. In Saul’s time Jesse was an old man [16:1–13]. 13 His three oldest sons followed Saul to the war. The ·first [L firstborn] son was Eliab, the second was Abinadab, and the third was Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. Jesse’s three oldest sons ·followed [remained with] Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to Bethlehem, where he took care of his father’s sheep.

16 For forty days the Philistine came out every morning and evening and ·stood before the Israelite army [L took his stand].

17 Jesse said to his son David, “Take [L quickly] this ·half bushel [L epah] of ·cooked [roasted] grain and ten loaves of bread to your brothers in the camp. 18 Also take ten ·pieces [cuts] of cheese to the commander [L of thousands]. See how your brothers are and bring back some ·proof to show me that they are all right [news/token/assurance of them]. 19 They are with Saul and the Israelite army in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”

20 Early in the morning David left the sheep with ·another shepherd [L a keeper]. He took the food and left as Jesse had ·told [directed; ordered] him. When David arrived at the camp, the army was going out to their battle positions, shouting their war cry. 21 The Israelites and Philistines were lining up their men ·to face each other in battle [army against army].

22 David left ·the food [his baggage/bundle/things] with the man who kept the supplies and ran to the battle line to ·talk to [greet; L inquire about the welfare of] his brothers. 23 While he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out [L from the Philistine ranks]. He shouted things against Israel as usual, and David heard him. 24 When the Israelites saw Goliath, they were very much afraid and ·ran away [fled].

25 They said, “·Look at [L Have you seen…?] this man! He keeps coming out to ·challenge [defy] Israel. The king will give ·much money [a great reward; great wealth] to whoever kills him. He will also let whoever kills him marry his daughter. And his father’s family will ·not have to pay taxes [be made free] in Israel.”

26 David asked the men who stood near him, “What will be done to reward the man who kills this Philistine and takes away ·the shame [this disgrace/reproach] from Israel? Who does this ·uncircumcised [pagan] Philistine think he is? Does he think he can ·speak against [taunt; defy; challenge] the armies of the living God?”

27 The Israelites told David what would be done for the man who would kill Goliath.

28 When David’s oldest brother Eliab heard David talking with the ·soldiers [men], ·he was angry with [L his anger burned against] David. He asked David, “Why did you come here? Who’s taking care of those few sheep of yours in the ·desert [wilderness]? I know you are ·proud [insolent; impudent] and ·wicked at heart [deceitful]. You came down here just to watch the battle.”

29 David asked, “Now what have I done wrong? Can’t I even ·talk [ask a question]?” 30 When he turned [away] to other people and asked the same questions, they gave him the same answer as before. 31 ·Yet [Then] what David said was told to Saul, and he sent for David.

32 David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone ·be discouraged [lose heart because of him]. I, your servant, will go and fight this Philistine!”

33 Saul answered, “You can’t go out against this Philistine and fight him. You’re only a ·boy [youth]. Goliath has been a warrior since ·he was a young man [his youth].”

34 But David said to Saul, “I, your servant, have been keeping my father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and ·took [carried off; stole] a ·sheep [lamb] from the flock, 35 I would chase it. I would ·attack [L strike] it and ·save [rescue] the sheep from its ·mouth [jaws]. ·When [If] it ·attacked [turned on] me, I caught it by its ·fur [or jaw] and hit [L struck] it and killed it. 36 I, your servant, have ·killed [L struck] both ·a [the] lion and ·a [the] bear! This ·uncircumcised [pagan] Philistine will be like them, because he has ·spoken against [taunted; defied; challenged] the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who ·saved [rescued; delivered] me from a lion and a bear will ·save [rescue; deliver] me from this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” 38 Saul put his own ·clothes [tunic] on David. He put a bronze helmet on his head and dressed him in ·armor [mail; a breastplate]. 39 David put on Saul’s sword [L over it] and tried to walk around, but he was not used to all the armor Saul had put on him.

He said to Saul, “I can’t go in this, because I’m not used to ·it [them].” Then David took it all off. 40 He took his ·stick [staff] in his hand and chose five smooth stones from a ·stream [wadi]. He put them in his shepherd’s bag and grabbed his sling. Then he ·went to meet [walked toward; approached] the Philistine.

41 At the same time, the Philistine was ·coming closer to [approaching] David. ·The man who held his shield [His shield bearer] walked in front of him. 42 When Goliath looked at David and saw that he was only a ·boy [youth], ·tanned [ruddy] and handsome, he looked down on David with ·disgust [contempt; scorn; disdain]. 43 The Philistine said to David, “·Do you think I am [Am I] a dog, that you come at me with a ·stick [staff]?” He used his gods’ names to curse David. 44 He said to David, “Come here. I’ll ·feed your body [L give your flesh] to the birds of the air and the wild animals [L of the field]!”

45 But David said to ·him [the Philistine], “You come to me using a sword ·and two spears [a spear and a javelin]. But I come to you in the name of the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of hosts], the God of the armies of Israel! You have ·spoken against [taunted; defied; challenged] him. 46 Today the Lord will ·hand you over to me [deliver you into my hands], and I’ll ·kill you [L strike you down] and cut off your head. Today I’ll feed the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds of the air and the wild animals. Then all the ·world [earth] will know there is a God in Israel! 47 Everyone ·gathered here [in this assembly/crowd] will know the Lord does not need swords or spears to ·save [rescue; deliver] people [Ps. 46:9]. The battle ·belongs to him [is the Lord’s], and he will ·hand you over to us [give you into our hands].”

48 As ·Goliath [L the Philistine] came ·near [closer] to attack him, David ran quickly [L toward the battle line] to meet him. 49 He took a stone from his bag, put it into his sling, and slung it. The stone hit the Philistine and went deep into his forehead, and Goliath fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David ·defeated [triumphed/prevailed over] the Philistine with only a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. He did not even have a sword in his hand. 51 Then David ran and stood ·beside [over] him. He took Goliath’s sword out of its ·holder [sheath] and killed him ·by cutting [or and then cut] off his head.

When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ·ran [fled]. 52 The men of Israel and Judah ·shouted [surged forward with a shout] and chased the Philistines all the way to the entrance of the city of Gath and to the gates of Ekron.

The Philistines’ bodies lay on the Shaaraim road as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 The ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] returned after chasing the Philistines and ·robbed [sacked; plundered] their camp. 54 David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and put Goliath’s weapons in his own tent.

55 When Saul saw David go out to ·meet [fight] Goliath, Saul asked Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, ·who is that young man’s father [whose son is that young boy]?”

Abner answered, “·As surely as you live [L By your life/soul], my king, I don’t know.”

56 The king said, “Find out whose son ·he [the lad/youth] is.”

57 When David came back from ·killing [striking] ·Goliath [the Philistine], Abner brought him to Saul. David was still holding ·Goliath’s [the Philistine’s] head.

58 Saul asked him, “Young man, ·who is your father [whose son are you]?”

David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

Saul Fears David

18 When David finished talking with Saul, ·Jonathan felt very close to David [L the life/soul of Jonathan was knit/bound to the life/soul of David]. He loved David as much as ·he loved himself [L his own life/soul]. Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him go home to his father’s house. Jonathan made an ·agreement [covenant; solemn pact; treaty] with David, because he loved David as much as ·himself [L his own life/soul]. He took off his ·coat [robe; C perhaps a royal robe] and gave it to David, along with his ·armor [tunic], including his sword, bow, and belt [C an expression of loyalty to David and perhaps even giving him the future kingship].

[L Wherever] Saul sent David ·to fight in different battles, and David [out, he] was very successful. Then Saul put David ·over [in command of] the soldiers, which pleased Saul’s ·officers [servants] and all the other people.

After David had ·killed [L struck] the Philistine, he and the men returned home. Women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul. They sang songs of joy, danced, and played tambourines and ·stringed [musical] instruments. As they played, they sang,

“Saul has ·killed thousands of his enemies [T slain his thousands],
·but [and] David has ·killed [T slain his] tens of thousands.”

The women’s ·song upset [refrain/saying displeased/L was evil in the eyes/sight of] Saul, and he became very angry. He thought, “The women ·say David has killed [credit/ascribe to David] tens of thousands, but they ·say I have killed [credit/ascribe to me] only thousands. The only thing left for him to have is the kingdom!” So Saul watched David closely from then on, because he was jealous.

10 The next day an ·evil [tormenting] spirit from God ·rushed upon [overwhelmed; seized; possessed] Saul, and he ·prophesied [or raved madly] in his house. David was playing the harp as he usually did, but Saul had a spear in his hand. 11 Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David ·escaped from [eluded] him twice.

12 The Lord was with David but had ·left [departed/withdrawn/turned away from] Saul. So Saul was afraid of David. 13 He sent David away and made him commander of a thousand soldiers. So David led them ·in battle [L out and back in]. 14 He ·had great success [prospered] in everything he did because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that David ·was very successful [greatly prospered], he ·feared [dreaded; was in awe of] David even more. 16 But all the people of Israel and Judah loved David because he led them ·well in battle [L out and back in].

Saul’s Daughter Marries David

17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will ·let you marry her [L give her to you as a wife]. ·All I ask is that you remain [or But first you must show yourself] brave [L for me] and fight the Lord’s battles.” Saul thought, “I won’t ·have to kill David [L raise a hand against him]. The Philistines will do that.”

18 But David answered Saul, saying, “Who am I? ·My family is not important enough [What is my father’s family in Israel…?] for me to become the king’s son-in-law.” 19 So, when the time ·came [should have come] for Saul’s daughter Merab to marry David, Saul gave her instead to Adriel of Meholah [L as a wife].

20 Now Saul’s other daughter, Michal, loved David. When they told Saul, ·he was pleased [L the matter was right in his eyes]. 21 He thought, “I will ·let her marry [L give her to] David. ·Then […so that] she will be a ·trap [snare] for him, and the ·Philistines will defeat him [L hand of the Philistines will be against him].” So Saul said to David ·a second time, “You may [You have a second chance to] become my son-in-law.”

22 And Saul ordered his servants to talk with David ·in private [secretly] and say, “Look, the king ·likes [is delighted with] you. His servants love you. You should ·be [become] his son-in-law.”

23 Saul’s servants said these words ·to [L in the ears of] David, but David answered, “Do you think it is ·easy [L a small/trivial thing] to become the king’s son-in-law? I am poor and ·unimportant [have no position/reputation; C David cannot afford to pay the expected dowry].”

24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul said, “Tell David, ‘The king doesn’t want ·money [L a dowry/bride price] for the bride. All he wants is a hundred Philistine foreskins to get ·even with [revenge on] his enemies.’” Saul planned to let ·the Philistines kill David [L David fall at the hands of the Philistines].

26 When Saul’s servants told this to David, ·he was pleased [he was happy/delighted; L the thing was right in the eyes of David] to become the king’s son-in-law. [L So before the days were expired/fulfilled…] 27 He and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. David brought all their foreskins [L and counted them out] to ·Saul [the king] so he could be the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal for his wife. 28 Saul ·saw [realized; L saw and knew] that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David. 29 So he grew even more afraid of David, and he was David’s enemy ·all his life [from then on; L all the days].

30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to fight the Israelites, but every time, David was more ·skillful [successful; wise] than Saul’s officers. So he became ·famous [highly esteemed; L his name became extremely valuable].

Saul Tries to Kill David

19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David, but Jonathan ·liked [delighted in] David very much. So he warned David, “My father Saul is ·looking for a chance [L seeking] to kill you. ·Watch out [Be on guard] in the morning. Hide in a secret place. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are hiding, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll let you know what I find out.”

When Jonathan talked to Saul his father, he ·said good things about [spoke well of] David. Jonathan said, “The king should ·do no wrong to [not harm/sin against] your servant David since he has ·done nothing wrong to [not harmed/sinned against] you. What he has done has ·helped [benefited; served] you greatly. ·David risked his life [L He took his life in his hand] when he ·killed Goliath the Philistine [L struck the Philistine], and the Lord won a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and ·were happy [rejoiced]. Why would you ·do wrong against David? He’s innocent [L … sin against innocent blood?]. There’s no reason to kill him!”

Saul listened to Jonathan and then ·made this promise [vowed; swore]: “As surely as the Lord lives, David won’t be put to death.”


  1. 1 Samuel 3:13 cursed God Some Greek copies read “cursed God.” The Hebrew text has “brought a curse on themselves.”
  2. 1 Samuel 7:12 Shen Hebrew copies read “Shen.” Some Greek copies have “Jeshenah.”
  3. 1 Samuel 10:1 people Some Greek copies add “You will reign over the Lord’s people and will save them from the enemies around them. And this will be the sign to you that the Lord has appointed you to lead his people.”
  4. 1 Samuel 10:27 quiet The Dead Sea Scrolls add an additional paragraph here, which reads, “Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been terribly oppressing the people of Gad and Reuben who lived east of the Jordan River. He gouged out the right eye of each of the Israelites living there, and he didn’t allow anyone to save them. There were no Israelites east of the Jordan whose right eye Nahash had not gouged out. But there were 7,000 men who had escaped from the Ammonites, and they had settled in Jabesh Gilead.”
  5. 1 Samuel 11:1 About a month later This phrase is lacking in Hebrew copies, but appears in some Greek copies.
  6. 1 Samuel 11:8 thirty Some ancient copies read “seventy.”
  7. 1 Samuel 13:1 Saul… years This is how the verse is worded in some early Greek copies. The Hebrew is not clear here.
  8. 1 Samuel 13:5 three thousand Some Greek copies read “three thousand.” Hebrew copies say “thirty thousand.”
  9. 1 Samuel 14:18 Ark of God Some Greek copies read “ephod.”
  10. 1 Samuel 17:4 six cubits and a span Hebrew copies read “six cubits and a span.” Some Greek copies and one Dead Sea Scroll copy read “four cubits and a span” (about six feet, nine inches).

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