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

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1 Samuel 9

1 There was a man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Kish was a very important person. He was the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah from the tribe of Benjamin.
2 Kish had a son named Saul. Saul was a handsome young man. There wasn't anyone like him among the people of Israel. He was a head taller than any of them.
3 The donkeys that belonged to Saul's father Kish were lost. So Kish spoke to his son Saul. He said, "Go and look for the donkeys. Take one of the servants with you."
4 Saul and his servant went through the hill country of Ephraim. They also went through the area around Shalisha. But they didn't find the donkeys. So they went on into the area of Shaalim. But the donkeys weren't there either. Then Saul went through the territory of Benjamin. But they still didn't find the donkeys.
5 When Saul and the servant who was with him reached the area of Zuph, Saul spoke to him. He said, "Come on. Let's go back. If we don't, my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us."
6 But the servant replied, "There's a man of God here in Ramah. People have a lot of respect for him. Everything he says comes true. So let's go and see him now. Perhaps he'll tell us which way to go."
7 Saul said to his servant, "If we go to see the man, what can we give him? There isn't any food in our sacks. We don't have a gift for the man of God. So what can we give him?"
8 The servant answered Saul again. "Look," he said. "I've got a tenth of an ounce of silver. I'll give it to the man of God. Then maybe he'll tell us which way to go."
9 In Israel, prophets used to be called seers. So if a man wanted to ask God for advice, he would say, "Come on. Let's go to the seer."
10 Saul said to his servant, "That's a good idea. Come on. Let's go and ask the seer." So they started out for the town where the man of God lived.
11 They were going up the hill toward the town. Along the way they met some young women who were coming out to get water from the well. Saul and his servant asked them, "Is the seer here?"
12 "Yes, he is," they answered. "In fact, he's just up ahead of you. So hurry along. He has just come to our town today. The people are going to offer a sacrifice at the high place where they worship.
13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him. He'll be there until he goes up to the high place to eat. The people won't start eating until he gets there. He must bless the sacrifice first. After that, those who are invited will eat. So go on up. You should find him there just about now."
14 They went up to the town. As they were entering it, they saw Samuel. He was coming toward them. He was on his way up to the high place.
15 The LORD had spoken to Samuel the day before Saul came. He had said,
16 "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man. He is from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people Israel. He will save them from the powerful hand of the Philistines. I have seen how much my people are suffering. Their cry for help has reached me."
17 When Samuel saw a man coming toward him, the LORD spoke to Samuel again. He said, "He is the man I told you about. His name is Saul. He will govern my people."
18 Saul approached Samuel at the gate of the town. He asked Samuel, "Can you please show me the house where the seer is staying?"
19 "I'm the seer," Samuel replied. "Go on up to the high place ahead of me. I want you and your servant to eat with me today. Tomorrow morning I'll tell you what's on your mind. Then I'll let you go.
20 Don't worry about the donkeys you lost three days ago. They've already been found. But who are all of the people of Israel longing for? You and your father's whole family!"
21 Saul answered, "But I'm from the tribe of Benjamin. It's the smallest tribe in Israel. And my family group is the least important in the whole tribe of Benjamin. So why are you saying that to me?"
22 Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the room where they would be eating. He seated them at the head table. About 30 people had been invited.
23 Samuel said to the cook, "Bring the piece of meat I gave you. It's the one I told you to put to one side."
24 So the cook went and got a choice piece of thigh. He set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, "Here is what has been kept for you. Eat it. It was put to one side for you for this special occasion. We've saved it for you ever since I invited the guests." And Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 They came down from the high place to the town. After that, Samuel talked with Saul on the roof of Samuel's house.
26 The next day they got up at about the time the sun was rising. Samuel called out to Saul on the roof. He said, "Get ready. Then I'll send you on your way." So Saul got ready. And he and Samuel went outside together.
27 As they were on their way down to the edge of town, Samuel spoke to Saul. He said, "Tell the servant to go ahead of us." So the servant went on ahead. Then Samuel continued, "Stay here awhile. I'll give you a message from God."

1 Samuel 10

1 Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil. He poured it on Saul's head and kissed him. He said, "The LORD has anointed you to be the leader of his people.
2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men. They will be near Rachel's tomb at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They'll say to you, 'The donkeys you have been looking for have been found. Now your father has stopped thinking about them. Instead, he's worried about you. He's asking, "What can I do to find my son?" '
3 "You will go on from Zelzah until you come to the large tree at Tabor. Three men will meet you there. They'll be on their way up to Bethel to worship God. One of them will be carrying three young goats. Another will be carrying three loaves of bread. A third will be carrying a bottle of wine. It will be a bottle that is made out of animal skin.
4 The men will greet you. They'll offer you two loaves of bread. You will accept the loaves from them.
5 "After that, you will go to Gibeah of God. Some Philistine soldiers are stationed there. As you approach the town, you will meet a group of prophets. They'll be coming down from the high place where they worship. People will be playing lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps at the head of the group. The prophets will be prophesying.
6 The Spirit of the LORD will come on you with power. Then you will prophesy along with them. You will become a different person.
7 "All of those things will happen. Then do what you want to do. God is with you.
8 "Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. You can be sure that I'll come down to you there. I'll come and sacrifice burnt offerings and friendship offerings. But you must wait there for seven days until I come to you. Then I'll tell you what to do."
9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart. All of those things happened that day.
10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met Saul. Then the Spirit of God came on him with power. He prophesied along with them.
11 Those who had known Saul before saw him prophesying with the prophets. They asked one another, "What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also one of the prophets?"
12 A man who lived in Gibeah answered, "Yes, he is. In fact, he's their leader." That's why people say, "Is Saul also one of the prophets?"
13 After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place to worship.
14 Later, Saul's uncle spoke to him and his servant. He asked, "Where have you been?" "Looking for the donkeys," he said. "But we couldn't find them. So we went to Samuel."
15 Saul's uncle said, "Tell me what Samuel said to you."
16 Saul replied, "He told us the donkeys had been found." But Saul didn't tell his uncle that Samuel had said he would become king.
17 Samuel sent a message to the people of Israel. He told them to meet with the LORD at Mizpah.
18 He said to them, "The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, 'Israel, I brought you up out of Egypt. I saved you from their powerful hand. I also saved you from the powerful hand of all of the kingdoms that had beaten you down.'
19 "But now you have turned your backs on your God. He saves you out of all of your trouble and suffering. In spite of that, you have said, 'We refuse to listen. Place a king over us.' "So now gather together to meet with the Lord. Do it tribe by tribe and family group by family group."
20 Then Samuel had each tribe of Israel come forward. The tribe of Benjamin was chosen.
21 Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward, family group by family group. Matri's group was chosen. Finally Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen. But when people looked for him, they realized he wasn't there.
22 They needed more help from the Lord. So they asked him, "Has the man come here yet?" The LORD said, "Yes. He has hidden himself among the supplies."
23 So they ran over there and brought him out. When he stood up, the people saw that he was a head taller than any of them.
24 Samuel spoke to all of the people. He said, "Look at the man the LORD has chosen! There isn't anyone like him among all of the people." Then the people shouted, "May the king live a long time!"
25 Samuel explained to the people what the king who ruled over them should do. He wrote it down on a scroll. He placed it in front of the LORD in the holy tent. Then he sent the people away. He sent each of them to their own homes.
26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah. Some brave men whose hearts God had touched went with Saul.
27 But some evil people who wanted to stir up trouble said, "How can this fellow save us?" They looked down on him. They didn't bring him any gifts. But Saul kept quiet about it.

1 Samuel 11

1 Nahash was the king of Ammon. He and his army went up to Jabesh Gilead. They surrounded it and got ready to attack it. All of the men of Jabesh spoke to Nahash. They said, "Make a peace treaty with us. Then we'll be under your control."
2 Nahash, the king of Ammon, replied, "I will make a peace treaty with you. But I'll do it only on one condition. You must let me put out the right eye of every one of you. I want to bring shame on the whole nation of Israel."
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days to report back to you. We'll send messengers all through Israel. If no one comes to save us, we'll hand ourselves over to you."
4 The messengers came to Gibeah of Saul. They reported to the people the terms Nahash had required. Then all of the people sobbed out loud.
5 Just then Saul was coming in from the fields. He was walking behind his oxen. He asked, "What's wrong with the people? Why are they sobbing?" He was told what the men of Jabesh had said.
6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came on him with power. He burned with anger.
7 He got a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces. He sent the pieces by messengers all through Israel. They announced, "You must follow Saul and Samuel. If you don't, this is what will happen to your oxen." The terror of the LORD fell on the people. So all of them came together with one purpose in mind.
8 Saul brought his army together at Bezek. There were 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 from Judah.
9 The messengers who had come were told, "Go back and report to the men of Jabesh Gilead. Tell them, 'By the hottest time of the day tomorrow, you will be saved.' " The messengers went and reported it to the men of Jabesh. It made those men very happy.
10 They said to the people of Ammon, "Tomorrow we'll hand ourselves over to you. Then you can do to us what seems best to you."
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three groups. While it was still dark, they broke into the camp of the Ammonite army. They kept killing the men of Ammon until the hottest time of the day. Those who got away alive were scattered. There weren't two of them left together anywhere.
12 The people said to Samuel, "Who asked, 'Is Saul going to rule over us?' Bring those people to us. We'll put them to death."
13 But Saul said, "We won't put anyone to death today! After all, this is the day the LORD has saved Israel."
14 Then Samuel said to the people, "Come on. Let's go to Gilgal. There we'll agree to have Saul as our king."
15 So all of the people went to Gilgal. There, with the LORD as witness, they agreed to have Saul as their king. There they sacrificed friendship offerings to the Lord. And there Saul and all of the people of Israel celebrated with great joy.

1 Samuel 12

1 Samuel spoke to all of the people of Israel. He said, "I've done everything you asked me to do. I've placed a king over you.
2 Now you have a king as your leader. But I'm old. My hair is gray. My sons are here with you. I've been your leader from the time I was young until this very day.
3 "Here I stand. Bring charges against me if you can. The LORD is a witness. And so is his anointed king. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Have I cheated anyone? Have I beaten anyone down? Have I accepted money from anyone who wanted special favors? If I've done any of those things, I'll make it right."
4 "You haven't cheated us," they replied. "You haven't beaten us down. You haven't taken anything from anyone."
5 Samuel said to them, "The LORD is a witness against you this very day. And so is his anointed king. They are witnesses that I haven't taken anything from any of you." "The LORD is a witness," they said.
6 Then Samuel said to the people, "The LORD appointed Moses and Aaron. He brought up out of Egypt your people who lived long ago.
7 Now then, stand here. I'm going to remind you of all of the good things the LORD has done for you and your people. He is a witness.
8 "After Jacob's family entered Egypt, they cried out to the LORD for help. The LORD sent Moses and Aaron. They brought your people out of Egypt. They settled them in this land.
9 "But the people forgot the LORD their God. So he gave them over to the powerful hand of Sisera. Sisera was the commander of the army of Hazor. The LORD also gave the people of Israel over to the powerful hand of the Philistines and the king of Moab. All of those nations fought against Israel.
10 "So the people cried out to the Lord. They said, 'We have sinned. We've deserted the Lord. We've served the gods that are named after Baal. We've served the goddesses that are named after Ashtoreth. But save us now from the powerful hands of our enemies. Then we will serve you.'
11 "The LORD sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah and me. He saved you from the hands of your enemies, who were all around you. So you lived in safety.
12 "But then you saw that Nahash, the king of Ammon, was about to attack you. So you said to me, 'No! We want a king to rule over us.' You said it even though the LORD your God was your king.
13 Now here is the king you have chosen. He's the one you asked for. The LORD has placed a king over you.
14 "But you must have respect for the Lord. You must serve him and obey him. You must not say no to his commands. Both you and the king who rules over you must follow the LORD your God. If you do, that's good.
15 But you must not disobey him. You must not say no to his commands. If you do, his powerful hand will punish you. That's what happened to your people who lived before you.
16 "So stand still. Watch the great thing the LORD is about to do right here in front of you!
17 It's time to gather in the wheat, isn't it? I'll call out to the LORD to send thunder and rain. Then you will realize what an evil thing you did in the sight of the Lord. You shouldn't have asked for a king."
18 Samuel called out to the Lord. That same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So all of the people had great respect for the LORD and for Samuel.
19 They said to Samuel, "Pray to the LORD your God for us. Pray that we won't die because we asked for a king. That was an evil thing to do. We added it to all of our other sins."
20 "Don't be afraid," Samuel replied. "It's true that you have done all of those evil things. But don't turn away from the Lord. Serve him with all your heart.
21 "Don't turn away and worship statues of gods. They are useless. They can't do you any good. They can't save you either. They are completely useless.
22 "But the LORD will be true to his great name. He won't turn his back on his people. That's because he was pleased to make you his own people.
23 "I would never sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. I'll teach you to live in a way that is good and right.
24 "But be sure to have respect for the Lord. Serve him faithfully. Do it with all your heart. Think about the great things he has done for you.
25 But don't be stubborn. Don't continue to do what is evil. If you do, both you and your king will be swept away."