1 Samuel 9; 1 Samuel 10; 1 Samuel 11; 1 Samuel 12

1 There was a wealthy man from the tribe of Benjamin named Kish. He was the son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite. 2 He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. No one in Israel was more handsome than Saul, and he stood head and shoulders above everyone else. 3 When the donkeys belonging to Saul's father Kish were lost, Kish said to his son Saul, "Take one of the servant boys with you and go look for the donkeys." 4 So he traveled through the highlands of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but they didn't find anything. They traveled through the land of Shaalim, but still found nothing, so they crossed back into the land of Benjamin, but they still couldn't find the donkeys. 5 When they came to the territory of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, "Let's go back before my father stops worrying about the donkeys and starts worrying about us." 6 But the boy said to him, "Listen, there's a man of God in this town. He's famous—everything he says actually happens! So let's go there. Maybe he'll be able to tell us which way we should go." 7 Saul said to his young boy, "But if we go, what should we bring to the man? The food in our bags is all gone. We don't have any gift to offer the man of God. Do we have anything?" 8 "Here," the boy answered Saul, "I've got a quarter-shekel of silver. I'll give that to the man of God so he tells us which way to go." ( 9 Earlier in Israel, someone going to consult with God would say, "Let's go to the seer," because the people who are called prophets today were previously called seers.) 10 Saul said to the boy, "Great idea! Let's go." So they went into the town where the man of God lived. 11 They were going up the hill to the town when they met some young women coming out to draw water. "Is the seer here?" they asked them. 12 "He's just ahead of you," they answered. "Hurry up! He has just come to town because there is a sacrifice today for the people at the shrine. 13 You'll find him as soon as you enter the town, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. The people won't eat until he gets there, because he must bless the sacrifice. Only after that can the invited guests eat. Now get going because you'll find him momentarily." 14 So Saul and the boy went up to the town, and as they entered it, suddenly Samuel came toward them on his way up to the shrine. 15 Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed the following to Samuel: 16 "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the Benjaminite territory. You will anoint him as leader of my people Israel. He will save my people from the Philistines' power because I have seen the suffering of my people, and their cry for help has reached me." 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, "That's the man I told you about. That's the one who will rule my people." 18 Saul approached Samuel in the city gate and said, "Please tell me where the seer's house is." 19 "I'm the seer," Samuel told Saul. "Go on ahead of me to the shrine. You can eat with me today. In the morning I'll send you on your way, and I will tell you everything you want to know. 20 As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, don't be worried about them because they've been found. Who owns all of Israel's treasures, anyway? Isn't it you and your whole family?" 21 "I'm a Benjaminite," Saul responded, "from the smallest Israelite tribe, and my family is the littlest of the families in the tribe of Benjamin. Why would you say something like that to me?" 22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young servant and brought them to the banquet room. He gave them an honored place among the invited guests. There were about thirty total. 23 Samuel said to the cook, "Serve the portion I gave you—the one I told you to set aside." 24 So the cook took the thigh and what was on it, and put it in front of Saul. Samuel said, "Look, what had been reserved is now in front of you. Eat up, because it was set apart for you for this specific occasion, ever since I invited the guests." So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they came back from the shrine to the town, a bed was made for Saul on the roof, and he slept. 26 Near dawn, Samuel called to Saul on the roof, "Wake up! I will send you on your way." So Saul got up, and the two of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27 As they were nearing the edge of town Samuel said, "Tell the boy to go on ahead of us" (the servant did so) "but you stop for a bit so I can tell you God's word."
1 Samuel took a small jar of oil and poured it over Saul's head and kissed him. "The LORD hereby anoints you leader of his people Israel," Samuel said. "You will rule the LORD's people and save them from the power of the enemies who surround them. And this will be the sign for you that the LORD has anointed you as leader of his very own possession: 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will tell you, ‘The donkeys you went looking for have been found. Now your father has stopped thinking about the donkeys and is worried about you. He's asking: What should I do about my son?' 3 Then, when you've gone on a bit farther, you will come to the oak at Tabor. Three men who are going to consult God at Bethel will meet up with you there, one carrying three young goats, one carrying three loaves of bread, and one carrying a jar of wine. 4 They will ask how you're doing and will offer you sacrificial bread, which you should accept. 5 After that, you will come to Gibeath-elohim, which is a Philistine fort. When you enter the town, you will encounter a group of prophets coming down from the shrine preceded by harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres. They will be caught up in a prophetic frenzy. 6 Then the LORD's spirit will come over you, and you will be caught up in a prophetic frenzy right along with them; it will be like you've become a completely different person. 7 Once these signs have happened to you, do whatever you would like to do, because God is with you. 8 Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me. I'll come down to meet you to offer entirely burned offerings and to make well-being sacrifices. Wait seven days until I get to you, then I'll tell you what you should do next." 9 And just as Saul turned to leave Samuel's side, God gave him a different heart, and all these signs happened that very same day. 10 When Saul and the boy got to Gibeah, there was a group of prophets coming to meet him. God's spirit came over Saul, and he was caught up in a prophetic frenzy right along with them. 11 When all the people who had known Saul saw him prophesying with the prophets, they said to each other, "What's happened to Kish's son? Is Saul also one of the prophets?" 12 One of the locals then asked, "And who is their leader?" So it became a proverb: "Is Saul also one of the prophets?" 13 When the prophetic frenzy was over, Saul went home. 14 Saul's uncle said to him and to his young servant, "Where did you go?" "To look for the donkeys," Saul replied, "but when we couldn't find anything, we went to Samuel." 15 "Please tell me what Samuel told you," Saul's uncle said. 16 "He reassured us that the donkeys had been found," Saul answered. But Saul didn't tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship. 17 Samuel summoned the people to the LORD at Mizpah. 18 Then he told the Israelites: "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the Egyptians' power and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19 But today you've rejected your God who saved you from all your troubles and difficulties by saying, ‘No! Appoint a king over us!' So now assemble yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans." 20 Then Samuel brought all the Israelite tribes forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was selected. 21 Next Samuel brought the tribe of Benjamin forward by its families, and the family of Matri was selected. Samuel then brought the family of Matri forward, person by person, and Saul, Kish's son, was selected. But when they looked for him, he wasn't to be found. 22 So they asked another question of the LORD: "Has the man come here yet?" The LORD said, "Yes, he's hiding among the supplies." 23 They ran and retrieved Saul from there, and when he stood up in the middle of the people, he was head and shoulders taller than anyone else. 24 "Can you see the one the LORD has chosen?" Samuel asked all the people. "He has no equal among the people." Then the people shouted, "Long live the king!" 25 Samuel then explained to the people how the monarchy should operate and wrote it in a scroll and placed it in the LORD's presence. Then Samuel sent every person back to their homes. 26 Saul also went back to his home in Gibeah. Along with him went courageous men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some despicable people said, "How can this man save us?" They despised Saul and didn't bring him gifts, but Saul didn't say anything. Nahash the Ammonite king had been severely oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He gouged out everyone's right eye, thereby not allowing Israel to have a deliverer. There wasn't a single Israelite left across the Jordan River who hadn't had their right eye gouged out by the Ammonite king Nahash. But seven thousand people had escaped from the Ammonites' power and fled to Jabesh-gilead.
1 About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. All the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Make a treaty with us, and we'll be your servants." 2 "I will make a treaty with you on one condition: that everyone's right eye be gouged out!" Nahash the Ammonite said to them. "That's how I bring humiliation on all Israel." 3 The elders of Jabesh replied to him, "Leave us alone for seven days so we can send messengers thoughout Israel's territory. If there's no one to save us, then we'll surrender to you." 4 When the messengers reached Gibeah where Saul lived, they reported the news directly to the people there. Then they all wept aloud. 5 At just that moment, Saul was coming back from keeping the cattle in the fields. "What's wrong with everybody?" he asked. "Why are they crying?" Saul was then told what the men from Jabesh had said. 6 God's spirit came over Saul when he heard those words, and he burned with anger. 7 He took two oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent them by messengers throughout Israel's territory. "This is exactly what will be done to the oxen of anyone who doesn't come to the aid of Saul and Samuel," he said. Great fear of the LORD came over the people, and they came to Saul completely unified. 8 When Saul counted them at Bezek, the soldiers from Israel totaled three hundred thousand and those from Judah thirty thousand. 9 The messengers who had come were then told, "Say this to the people of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow by the time the sun is hot, you will be saved." When the messengers returned and reported this to the people of Jabesh, they were overjoyed. 10 Then the people of Jabesh told the Ammonites, "We will surrender to you tomorrow. Then you can do whatever you want to us." 11 The next day Saul organized his troops into three formations. They attacked the Ammonite camp during the morning watch and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. The survivors were so scattered that not even two of them could be found together. 12 Then people asked Samuel, "Who was it who said, ‘Will Saul rule over us?' Give us those people; we'll kill them!" 13 But Saul said, "No one will be executed because today the LORD has saved Israel." 14 "Let's go to Gilgal," Samuel told the people, "and renew the monarchy there." 15 So everyone went to Gilgal, and there at Gilgal they made Saul king in the LORD's presence. They offered well-being sacrifices in the LORD's presence, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration there.
1 Samuel said to all Israel: "Listen: I have done everything you asked of me and have placed a king over you. 2 The king will lead you now. I am old and gray, though my sons are still with you, and I've been your leader since I was young until now. 3 So I'm here: Tell the truth about me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Have I ever stolen someone's ox? Have I ever taken someone's donkey? Have I ever oppressed or mistreated anyone? Have I ever taken bribes from someone and looked the other way about something? Tell me the truth. I will make it right." 4 "You haven't oppressed or mistreated us, and you've never taken anything from anyone," the people answered. 5 Samuel replied, "The LORD and his anointed one are witnesses against you today that you haven't found anything in my possession." "Agreed," they said. 6 Then Samuel told the people: “The witness is indeed the LORD, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up from the land of Egypt. 7 So now stand here, and I will judge you in the LORD's presence because of all the LORD's righteous acts that he has done for you and your ancestors: 8 “When Jacob entered Egypt, the Egyptians oppressed them. So your ancestors cried out to the LORD. The LORD then sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them here. 9 But your ancestors forgot the LORD their God, so he handed them over to Sisera the commander of Hazor's army, and to the Philistines, and to the Moabite king, all of whom fought against them. 10 Then your ancestors cried out to the LORD and said: ‘We have sinned because we have abandoned the LORD and have worshipped the Baals and the Astartes. But now deliver us from the power of our enemies, and we will worship you.' 11 So the LORD sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samson, and he delivered you from the power of your enemies on every side. And you lived safe and secure. 12 But when you saw that Nahash the Ammonite king was coming against you, you said to me, ‘No! There must be a king to rule over us.' But the LORD your God was already your king! 13 "So now, here is the king you chose, the one you asked for. Yes, the LORD has put a king over you! 14 If you will fear the LORD, worship him, obey him, and not rebel against the LORD's command, and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the LORD your God—all will be well. 15 But if you don't obey the LORD and rebel against the LORD's command, then the LORD's power will go against you and your king to destroy you. 16 “So now take a stand! Look at this awesome thing the LORD is doing. 17 Isn't the wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD to send thunder and rain. Then you will know and will see for yourselves what great evil you've done in the LORD's eyes by asking for a king." 18 Samuel called upon the LORD, and God sent thunder and rain on that very day. Then all the people were in awe of the LORD and Samuel. 19 All of them said to Samuel, "Please pray for us, your servants, to the LORD your God so we don't die because we have added to our many sins the evil of asking for a king." 20 But Samuel answered the people, "Don't be afraid. Yes, you've done all this evil; just don't turn back from following the LORD. Serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 Don't turn aside to follow useless idols that can't help you or save you. They're absolutely useless! 22 For the sake of his reputation, the LORD won't abandon his people, because the LORD has decided to make you his very own people. 23 But me? I would never sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. I will teach you what is good and right. 24 Just fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Look at what great things he has done for you! 25 But if you continue to do evil, then both you and your king will be destroyed."
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