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1 Samuel 5:1–9:10

The Ark in Ashdod and Ekron

5 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezerr to Ashdod.s Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon.t When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallenu on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been brokenv off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.w

The Lord’s handx was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastationy on them and afflicted them with tumors.a z When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulersa of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.b” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic.c He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.b 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.d

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulerse of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or itc will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not dief were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

6 When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the divinersg and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”

They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift;h by all means send a guilt offeringi to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his handj has not been lifted from you.”

The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?”

They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the numberk of the Philistine rulers, because the same plaguel has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumorsm and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give gloryn to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you hardeno your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them,p did theyq not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?

“Now then, get a new cartr ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked.s Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh,t then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”

10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. 11 They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the tumors. 12 Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.

13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheatu in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. 14 The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offeringv to the Lord. 15 The Levitesw took down the ark of the Lord, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock.x On that day the people of Beth Shemeshy offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.

17 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one eachz for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. 18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers—the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.

19 But God struck downa some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventya of them to death because they lookedb into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them. 20 And the people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can standc in the presence of the Lord, this holyd God? To whom will the ark go up from here?”

21 Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim,e saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your town.”

7 So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the arkf of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’sg house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. The ark remained at Kiriath Jearimh a long time—twenty years in all.

Samuel Subdues the Philistines at Mizpah

Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord.i So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returningj to the Lord with all your hearts, then ridk yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtorethsl and commitm yourselves to the Lord and serve him only,n and he will delivero you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

Then Samuelp said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah,q and I will interceder with the Lord for you.” When they had assembled at Mizpah,s they drew water and pouredt it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leadera u of Israel at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraidv because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop cryingw out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuelx took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.y

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thunderedz with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panica that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

12 Then Samuel took a stoneb and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,b c saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

13 So the Philistines were subduedd and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 14 The towns from Ekrone to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.f

15 Samuelg continued as Israel’s leaderh alli the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethelj to Gilgalk to Mizpah, judgingl Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah,m where his home was, and there he also held courtn for Israel. And he built an altaro there to the Lord.

Israel Asks for a King

8 When Samuel grew old, he appointedp his sons as Israel’s leaders.a The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah,q and they served at Beersheba.r But his sonss did not follow his ways. They turned asidet after dishonest gain and accepted bribesu and pervertedv justice.

So all the eldersw of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.x They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a kingy to leadb z us, such as all the other nationsa have.”

But when they said, “Give us a kingb to lead us,” this displeasedc Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listend to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected,e but they have rejected me as their king.f As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsakingg me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them knowh what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel toldi all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will takej your sons and make them servek with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.l 12 Some he will assign to be commandersm of thousands and …

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Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate tumors. And rats appeared in their land, and there was death and destruction throughout the city

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Or with tumors in the groin (see Septuagint)

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Or he

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A few Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint 50,070

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Traditionally judge; also in verse 15

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Ebenezer means stone of help.

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Traditionally judges

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Traditionally judge; also in verses 6 and 20

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