1 Samuel 28; 1 Samuel 29; 1 Samuel 30; 1 Samuel 31

1 While David was living in Ziklag, the Philistines gathered their army together. They planned to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, "I want you to understand that you and your men must march out with me and my army." 2 David said, "I understand. You will see for yourself what I can do." Achish replied, "All right. I'll make you my own personal guard for life." 3 Samuel had died. The whole nation of Israel was filled with sorrow because he was dead. They had buried his body in his own town of Ramah. Saul had gotten rid of people who get messages from those who have died. He had also gotten rid of people who talk to the spirits of the dead. He had thrown all of them out of the land. 4 The Philistines gathered together and set up camp at Shunem. At the same time, Saul gathered all of the fighting men of Israel together. They set up camp at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid. Terror filled his heart. 6 He asked the LORD for advice. But the LORD didn't answer him through dreams or prophets. He didn't answer him when Saul had the priest use the Urim. 7 Saul spoke to his attendants. He said, "Find me a woman who gets messages from those who have died. Then I can go and ask her some questions." "There's a woman like that in Endor," they said. 8 Saul put on different clothes so people wouldn't know who he was. At night he and two of his men went to see the woman. "I want you to talk to a spirit for me," he said. "Bring up the spirit of the dead person I choose." 9 But the woman said to him, "By now you must know what Saul has done. He has cut off everyone who gets messages from those who have died. He has also cut off everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead. He has thrown all of them out of the land. Why are you trying to trap me? Why do you want to have me put to death?" 10 Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord. He promised the woman, "You can be sure that the LORD lives. And you can be just as sure that you won't be punished for helping me." 11 Then the woman asked, "Whose spirit should I bring up for you?" "Bring Samuel up," he said. 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she let out a loud scream. She said to Saul, "Why have you tricked me? You are King Saul!" 13 He said to her, "Don't be afraid. Tell me what you see." The woman said, "I see a spirit. He's coming up out of the ground." 14 "What does he look like?" Saul asked. "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel. He bowed down. He lay down flat with his face toward the ground. 15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you troubled me by bringing me up from the dead?" "I'm having big problems," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me. God has turned away from me. He doesn't answer me anymore. He doesn't speak to me through prophets or dreams. So I've called on you to tell me what to do." 16 Samuel said, "The LORD has turned away from you. He has become your enemy. So why are you asking me what you should do? 17 The LORD has spoken through me and has done what he said he would do. He has torn the kingdom out of your hands. He has given it to one of your neighbors. He has given it to David. 18 You didn't obey the Lord. You didn't carry out his burning anger against the Amalekites. So he's punishing you today. 19 "He will hand both Israel and you over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be down here with me. The LORD will also hand Israel's army over to the Philistines." 20 Immediately Saul fell flat on the ground. What Samuel had said filled Saul with fear. His strength was gone. He hadn't eaten anything all that day and night. 21 The woman went over to Saul because she saw that he was very upset. She said, "Look, I've obeyed you. I put my own life in danger by doing what you told me to do. 22 So please listen to me. Let me give you some food. Eat it. Then you will have the strength to go on your way." 23 But he refused. He said, "I don't want anything to eat." Then his men joined the woman in begging him to eat. Finally, he paid attention to them. He got up from the ground and sat on a couch. 24 The woman had a fat calf at her house. She killed it at once. She got some flour. She mixed it and baked some bread that didn't have any yeast in it. 25 Then she set the food in front of Saul and his men. They ate it. That same night they got up and left.
1 The Philistines gathered their whole army together at Aphek. Israel's army camped by the spring of water at Jezreel. 2 The Philistine rulers marched out in companies of hundreds and thousands. David and his men were marching with Achish behind the others. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, "Why are these Hebrews here?" Achish replied, "That's David, isn't it? Wasn't he an officer of Saul, the king of Israel? He has already been with me for more than a year. I haven't found any fault in him. That's been true from the day he left Saul until now." 4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish. They said, "Send David back. Let him return to the town you gave him. He must not go with us into battle. If he does, he'll turn against us during the fighting. In fact, he might even cut off the heads of our own men. What better way could he choose to win back his master's favor? 5 Isn't David the one the Israelites sang about when they danced? They sang, " 'Saul has killed thousands of men. David has killed tens of thousands.' " 6 So Achish called David over to him. He said, "You have been faithful to me. And that's just as sure as the LORD is alive. I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. I haven't found any fault in you. That's been true from the day you came to me until now. But the Philistine rulers aren't pleased to have you come along. 7 So go back home in peace. Don't do anything that wouldn't please the Philistine rulers." 8 "But what have I done?" asked David. "What have you found against me from the day I came to you until now? Why can't I go and fight against your enemies? After all, you are my king and master." 9 Achish answered, "You have been as pleasing to me as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, 'We don't want David to go up with us into battle.' 10 So get up early in the morning. Take with you the men who used to serve Saul. Leave as soon as the sun begins to come up." 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning. They went back to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
1 On the third day David and his men arrived in Ziklag. The Amalekites had attacked the people of the Negev Desert. They had also attacked Ziklag and burned it. 2 They had captured the women and everyone else who was in Ziklag. They had taken as prisoners young people and old people alike. But they didn't kill any of them. Instead, they carried them off as they went on their way. 3 David and his men came to Ziklag. They saw that it had been destroyed by fire. They found out that their wives and sons and daughters had been captured. 4 So David and his men began to sob out loud. They sobbed until they couldn't sob anymore. 5 David's two wives had been captured. Their names were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal's widow. 6 David was greatly troubled. His men were even talking about killing him by throwing stones at him. All of them were very bitter because their sons and daughters had been taken away. But David was made strong by the LORD his God. 7 Then David spoke to the priest Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. He said, "Bring me the linen apron." Abiathar brought it to him. 8 David asked the LORD for advice. He said, "Should I chase after the men who attacked Ziklag? If I do, will I catch up with them?" "Chase after them," the LORD answered. "You will certainly catch up with them. You will succeed in saving those who were captured." 9 David and his 600 men came to the Besor Valley. Some of them stayed behind there. 10 That's because 200 of them were too tired to go across the valley. But David and the other 400 continued the chase. 11 David's men found an Egyptian in a field. They brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat. 12 They gave him part of a cake of pressed figs. They also gave him two raisin cakes. After he ate them, he felt as good as new. That's because he hadn't eaten any food for three days and three nights. He hadn't drunk any water during that time either. 13 David asked him, "Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?" The man said, "I'm from Egypt. I'm the slave of an Amalekite. My master deserted me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We attacked the people in the Negev Desert of the Kerethites. We attacked the territory that belongs to Judah. We attacked the people in the Negev Desert of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag." 15 David asked him, "Can you lead me down to the men who attacked Ziklag?" He answered, "Take an oath in the name of God. Promise me that you won't kill me. Promise that you won't hand me over to my master. Then I'll take you down to them." 16 He led David down to where the men were. They were scattered all over the countryside. They were eating and drinking and dancing wildly. That's because they had taken a large amount of goods from those they had attacked. They had taken it from the land of the Philistines and from the people of Judah. 17 David fought against them from sunset until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped except 400 young men. They rode off on camels and got away. 18 David got everything back that the Amalekites had taken. That included his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing. Not one young person or old person or boy or girl was missing. None of the goods or anything else the Amalekites had taken was missing. David brought everything back. 20 He brought back all of the flocks and herds. His men drove them on ahead of the other livestock. They said, "Here's what David has captured." 21 Then David came to the 200 men who had been too tired to follow him. They had been left behind in the Besor Valley. They came out to welcome David and the people who were with him. As David and his men approached, he greeted them. 22 But some of the men who had gone out with David were evil. They wanted to stir up trouble. They said, "The 200 men didn't go out into battle with us. So we won't share with them the goods we brought back. But each man can take his wife and children and go home." 23 David replied, "No, my friends. You must not hold back their share of what the LORD has given us. He has kept us safe. He has handed over to us the men who attacked Ziklag. 24 So no one will pay any attention to what you are saying. Each man who stayed with the supplies will receive the same share as each man who went down to the battle. Everyone's share will be the same." 25 David made that a law and a rule for Israel. It has been followed from that day until now. 26 David arrived in Ziklag. He sent some of the goods to the elders of Judah. They were his friends. He said, "Here's a present for you. It's part of the things we took from the LORD's enemies." 27 He sent some goods to the elders who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir. 28 He sent some to those who were in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Racal. He sent some to those who were in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites. 30 He sent some to those who were in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach 31 and Hebron. He also sent some to those who were in all of the other places where he and his men had wandered around.
1 The Philistines fought against Israel. The men of Israel ran away from them. But many Israelites were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines kept chasing Saul and his sons. They killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting was heavy around Saul. Men who were armed with bows and arrows caught up with him. They shot their arrows at him and wounded him badly. 4 Saul spoke to the man who was carrying his armor. He said, "Pull out your sword. Stick it through me. If you don't, those fellows who aren't circumcised will come. They'll stick their swords through me and hurt me badly." But the man was terrified. He wouldn't do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 The man saw that Saul was dead. So he fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 Saul and his three sons died together that same day. The man who carried his armor also died with them that day. So did all of Saul's men. 7 The Israelites who lived along the valley saw that their army had run away. So did those who lived across the Jordan River. They saw that Saul and his sons were dead. So they left their towns and ran away. Then the Philistines came and settled down in them. 8 The day after the Philistines had won the battle, they came to take what they wanted from the dead bodies. They found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off Saul's head. They took his armor from his body. Then they sent messengers through the whole land of the Philistines. They announced the news in the temple where they had set up statues of their gods. They also announced it among their people. 10 They put Saul's armor in the temple where they had set up statues of goddesses that were named after Ashtoreth. They hung his body up on the wall of Beth Shan. 11 The people of Jabesh Gilead heard about what the Philistines had done to Saul. 12 So all of their brave men traveled through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan. They brought them to Jabesh. There they burned them. 13 Then they got the bones of Saul and his sons and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh. They didn't eat anything for seven days.
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