Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?
When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, 'The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, "What shall I do about my son?" '
"Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine.
They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them.
"After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying.
The Spirit of the LORD will come on you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
"Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do."
As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.
When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came on him in power, and he joined in their prophesying.
When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, "What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?"
A man who lived there answered, "And who is their father?" So it became a saying: "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
Now Saul's uncle asked him and his servant, "Where have you been?" "Looking for the donkeys," he said. "But when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel."
Saul's uncle said, "Tell me what Samuel said to you."
Saul replied, "He assured us that the donkeys had been found." But he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship.
Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the LORD at Mizpah
and said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.'
But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, 'No, appoint a king over us.' So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans."
When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot.
Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri's clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found.
So they inquired further of the LORD, "Has the man come here yet?" And the LORD said, "Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies."
They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others.
Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people." Then the people shouted, "Long live the king!"
Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the LORD. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.
Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.
But some scoundrels said, "How can this fellow save us?" They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, "Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you."
But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel."
The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you."
When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud.
Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, "What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?" Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came on him in power, and he burned with anger.
He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, "This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel." Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out with one accord.
When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.
They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be rescued.' " When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated.
They said to the Ammonites, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you like."
The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
The people then said to Samuel, "Who was it that asked, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death."
But Saul said, "No one will be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel."
Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship."
So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the LORD. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
Samuel said to all Israel, "I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you.
Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day.
Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right."
"You have not cheated or oppressed us," they replied. "You have not taken anything from anyone's hand."
Samuel said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand." "We agree," they said.
Then Samuel said to the people, "It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt.
Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the LORD as to all the righteous acts performed by the LORD for you and your ancestors.
"After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the LORD for help, and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
"But they forgot the LORD their God; so he sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them.
They cried out to the LORD and said, 'We have sinned; we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.'
Then the LORD sent Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.
"But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, 'No, we want a king to rule over us'--even though the LORD your God was your king.
Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the LORD has set a king over you.
If you fear the LORD and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God--good!
But if you do not obey the LORD, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
"Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!
Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the LORD to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the LORD when you asked for a king."
Then Samuel called on the LORD, and that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the LORD and of Samuel.
The people all said to Samuel, "Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king."
"Do not be afraid," Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish."
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
41"You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."42
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
44"Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered over to human hands."45
But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For whoever is least among you all is the greatest."49
"Master," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
50"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?"
But Jesus turned and rebuked them.
Then he and his disciples went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."59
He said to another man, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."61
Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."