1 Israel went to fight against the Philistines and camped near Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines organized their troops to meet Israel in battle. As the battle spread, the Philistines defeated Israel and killed about 4,000 soldiers in the field. 3 When the troops came back to the camp, the leaders of Israel asked, "Why has the LORD used the Philistines to defeat us today? Let's get the ark of the LORD's promise from Shiloh so that he may be with us and save us from our enemies." 4 The troops sent some men who brought back the ark of the promise of the LORD of Armies--who is enthroned over the angels. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, came along with God's ark. 5 When the LORD's ark came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth rang with echoes. 6 As the Philistines heard the noise, they asked, "What's [all] this shouting in the Hebrew camp?" The Philistines found out that the LORD's ark had come into the camp. 7 Then they were frightened and said, "A god has come into [their] camp." They also said, "Oh no! Nothing like this has ever happened before. 8 We're in trouble now! Who can save us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every kind of plague in the desert. 9 Be strong, Philistines, and act like men, or else you will serve the Hebrews as they served you. Act like men and fight." 10 The Philistines fought and defeated Israel. Every [Israelite] soldier fled to his tent. It was a major defeat in which 30,000 Israelite foot soldiers died. 11 The ark of God was captured. Both of Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. 12 A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the front line of the battle. He went to Shiloh that day with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on a chair beside the road, watching. He was worried about the ark of God. The man went into the city to tell the news. The whole city cried out. 14 Hearing the cry, Eli asked, "What is this commotion?" So the man went quickly to tell Eli the news. 15 (Eli was 98 years old, and his eyesight had failed so that he couldn't see.) 16 The man told Eli, "I'm the one who came from the battle. I fled from the front line today." "What happened, son?" Eli asked. 17 "Israel fled from the Philistines," the messenger answered. "Our troops suffered heavy casualties. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, also are dead, and the ark of God has been captured." 18 When the messenger mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell from his chair backwards toward the gate. He broke his neck, and he died. (The man was old and heavy.) He had judged Israel for 40 years. 19 His daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was pregnant. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor prematurely and gave birth to a son. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her said, "Don't be afraid. You've given birth to a son." But she didn't answer or pay attention. 21 She called the boy Ichabod [No Glory], saying, "Israel's glory is gone," because the ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and her husband [died]. 22 "Israel's glory is gone because the ark of God has been captured," she said.
1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. 3 Early the next day the people of Ashdod saw that Dagon had fallen forward on the ground in front of the LORD's ark. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the next morning they saw that Dagon had [again] fallen forward on the ground in front of the LORD's ark. Dagon's head and his two hands were cut off [and were lying] on the temple's threshold. The rest of Dagon's body was intact. 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and everyone else who comes into Dagon's temple in Ashdod still don't step on the temple's threshold. 6 The LORD dealt harshly with the people of Ashdod. He destroyed them by striking the people in the vicinity of Ashdod with tumors. 7 When the people of Ashdod realized what was happening, they said, "The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, because their God is dealing harshly with us and our god Dagon." 8 The people of Ashdod called together all the Philistine rulers. "What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?" they asked. "The ark of the God of Israel must be taken to Gath," the rulers said. So the people took the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 But after they had moved it, the LORD threw the city into a great panic: He struck all the important and unimportant people in the city, and they were covered with tumors. 10 So the people of Gath sent the ark of God to Ekron. But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, "They brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us." 11 They called together all the Philistine rulers. "Send the ark of the God of Israel away," they said. "Let it go back to its own place so that it won't kill us or our people." There was a fear of death throughout the city, where God dealt [with them] very harshly. 12 The people who didn't die were struck with tumors. So the cry of the city went up to heaven.
1 The ark of the LORD had been in Philistine territory seven months 2 when the Philistines called for priests and people skilled in explaining omens. The Philistines asked, "What should we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how to return it to its [proper] place." 3 The priests answered, "If you're returning the ark of the God of Israel, don't send it away empty, but by all means return it to its [proper] place with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and you will know why he would not turn his anger away from you." 4 The Philistines asked, "What kind of guilt offering should we give him?" The priests answered, "Five gold tumors and five gold mice for the [five] Philistine rulers because all of you and your rulers suffer from the same plague. 5 Make models of your tumors and your mice which are destroying the country, and give glory to the God of Israel. Maybe he will no longer be so hard on you, your gods, and your country. 6 Why should you be as stubborn as the Egyptians and their Pharaoh were? After he toyed with the Egyptians, didn't they send the Israelites on their way? 7 Now get a new cart ready for two dairy cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart. Take their calves away, and leave them in their stall. 8 Take the ark of the LORD, and put it on the cart. Put the gold objects which you're giving him as a guilt offering in a box beside the ark. Send the cart on its way, 9 but then watch where it goes. If it goes up the road to its own country toward Beth Shemesh, then this disaster is the LORD's doing. But if not, we'll know it wasn't his hand that struck us, but what happened to us was an accident." 10 The people did this. They took two dairy cows, hitched them to a cart, and shut the calves in the stall. 11 They put the ark of the LORD and the box containing the gold mice and the models of their hemorrhoids on the cart. 12 The cows went straight up the road to Beth Shemesh. Continually mooing, they stayed on the road and didn't turn right or left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth Shemesh. 13 The people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they were overjoyed. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped there by a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD. 15 (The Levites had already taken down [from the cart] the ark of the LORD and the box which contained the gold objects and put them on the large rock.) The people of Beth Shemesh presented burnt offerings and sacrifices to the LORD that day. 16 After the five rulers of the Philistines saw this, they went back to Ekron that same day. 17 The gold hemorrhoids which the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the LORD were for the cities of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 18 And the number of gold mice was the same as the number of Philistine cities belonging to the five rulers, including walled cities and farm villages. The large rock on which they put the ark of the LORD is a witness. It is still there today in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh. 19 God struck down some of the people from Beth Shemesh because they looked inside the ark of the LORD. He struck down 70 people. The people mourned because the LORD struck them with such a great blow. 20 The people of Beth Shemesh asked, "Who can stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to which people will he go when he leaves us?" 21 They sent messengers to the people living at Kiriath Jearim to say, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD. Come and take it back with you."
1 The men of Kiriath Jearim came to take the LORD's ark and brought it into Abinadab's house on the hill. They gave Abinadab's son Eleazar the holy occupation of guarding the LORD's ark. 2 A long time passed after the ark came to stay at Kiriath Jearim. For 20 years the entire nation of Israel mournfully sought the LORD. 3 Samuel told the entire nation of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD wholeheartedly, get rid of the foreign gods you have, including the statues of the goddess Astarte. Make a commitment to the LORD, and serve only him. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines." 4 So the Israelites got rid of the statues of Baal and Astarte and served only the LORD. 5 Then Samuel said, "Gather all the Israelites together at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you." 6 So the Israelites gathered together at Mizpah. They drew some water, poured it out in front of the LORD, and fasted that day. They confessed, "We have sinned against the LORD." So Samuel judged Israel in Mizpah. 7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the Philistine rulers came to attack Israel. The Israelites heard [about the Philistine plan] and were afraid of them. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, "Don't turn a deaf ear to us! Don't stop crying to the LORD our God for us! Ask him to save us from the Philistines!" 9 Then Samuel took a lamb, one still feeding on milk, and sacrificed it as a burnt offering to the LORD. Samuel cried to the LORD on behalf of Israel, and the LORD answered him. 10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines came to fight against Israel. On that day the LORD thundered loudly at the Philistines and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel. 11 Israel's soldiers left Mizpah, pursued the Philistines, and killed them as far as Beth Car. 12 Then Samuel took a rock and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer [Rock of Help] and said, "Until now the LORD has helped us." 13 The power of the Philistines was crushed, so they didn't come into Israel's territory again. The LORD restrained the Philistines as long as Samuel lived. 14 The cities between Ekron and Gath which the Philistines took from Israel were returned to Israel. And Israel recovered the territory controlled by these cities from the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15 Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived. 16 Every year he went around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah in order to judge Israel in all those places. 17 Then he would return home to Ramah. There, too, he judged Israel. And in Ramah he built an altar to the LORD.
1 When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel; the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. 3 The sons didn't follow their father's example but turned to dishonest ways of making money. They took bribes and denied people justice. 4 Then all the leaders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They told him, "You're old, and your sons aren't following your example. Now appoint a king to judge us so that we will be like all the other nations." 6 But Samuel considered it wrong for them to request a king to judge them. So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 The LORD told Samuel, "Listen to everything the people are saying to you. They haven't rejected you; they've rejected me. 8 They're doing just what they've done since I took them out of Egypt--leaving me and serving other gods. 9 Listen to them now, but be sure to warn them and tell them about the rights of a king." 10 Then Samuel told the people who had asked him for a king everything the LORD had said. 11 Samuel said, "These are the rights of a king: He will draft your sons, make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots. 12 He will appoint them to be his officers over 1,000 or over 50 soldiers, to plow his ground and harvest his crops, and to make weapons and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters and have them make perfumes, cook, and bake. 14 He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials. 16 He will take your male and female slaves, your best cattle, and your donkeys for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks. In addition, you will be his servants. 18 "When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. The LORD will not answer you when that day comes." 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. They said, "No, we want a king! 20 Then we, too, will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us, lead us out [to war], and fight our battles." 21 When Samuel heard everything the people had to say, he reported it privately to the LORD. 22 The LORD told him, "Listen to them, and give them a king." Then Samuel told the people of Israel, "Go [back] to your own cities."