6 When the ark of the Lord had been in the land 1 of the Philistines for seven months, 2 2 the Philistines called the priests and the omen readers, saying, “What should we do with the ark of the Lord? Advise us as to how we should send it back to its place.”
3 They replied, “If you are going to send the ark of 3 the God of Israel back, don’t send it away empty. Be sure to return it with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and you will understand why his hand is not removed from you.” 4 They inquired, “What is the guilt offering that we should send to him?”
They replied, “The Philistine leaders number five. So send five gold sores and five gold mice, for it is the same plague that has afflicted both you and your leaders. 5 You should make images of the sores and images of the mice 4 that are destroying the land. You should honor the God of Israel. Perhaps he will release his grip on you, your gods, and your land. 5 6 Why harden your hearts like the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? 6 When God 7 treated them harshly, didn’t the Egyptians send the Israelites on their way? 8 7 So now go and make a new cart. Get two cows that have calves and that have never had a yoke placed on them. Harness the cows to the cart and take their calves from them back to their stalls. 8 Then take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart, and put in a chest beside it the gold objects you are sending to him as a guilt offering. You should then send it on its way. 9 But keep an eye on it. If it should go up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has brought this great calamity on us. But if that is not the case, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us; rather, it just happened to us by accident.”
10 So the men did as instructed. 9 They took two cows that had calves and harnessed them to a cart; they also removed their calves to their stalls. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, along with the chest, the gold mice, and the images of the sores. 12 Then the cows went directly on the road to Beth Shemesh. They went along, mooing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left. The leaders of the Philistines were walking along behind them all the way to the border of Beth Shemesh.
13 Now the residents of Beth Shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they were pleased at the sight. 14 The cart was coming to the field of Joshua, who was from Beth Shemesh. It paused there near a big stone. Then they cut up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the chest that was with it, which contained the gold objects. They placed them near the big stone. At that time the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 The five leaders of the Philistines watched what was happening and then returned to Ekron on the same day.
17 These are the gold sores that the Philistines brought as a guilt offering to the Lord – one for each of the following cities: Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 18 The gold mice corresponded in number to all the Philistine cities of the five leaders, from the fortified cities to hamlet villages, to greater Abel, 10 where they positioned the ark of the Lord until this very day in the field of Joshua who was from Beth Shemesh.
19 But the Lord 11 struck down some of the people of Beth Shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord; he struck down 50,070 12 of the men. The people grieved because the Lord had struck the people with a hard blow. 20 The residents of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark 13 go up from here?”
21 So they sent messengers to the residents of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down here and take it back home with you.”
7 Then the people 1 of Kiriath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord; they brought it to the house of Abinadab located on the hill. They consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord.
2 It was quite a long time – some twenty years in all – that the ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim. All the people 2 of Israel longed for 3 the Lord. 3 Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you are really turning to the Lord with all your hearts, remove from among you the foreign gods and the images of Ashtoreth. 4 Give your hearts to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will deliver you 5 from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites 6 removed the Baals and images of Ashtoreth. They served only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.” 6 After they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted on that day, and they confessed 7 there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel led 8 the people of Israel at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the leaders of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the Israelites heard about this, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Keep 9 crying out to the Lord our 10 God so that he may save us 11 from the hand of the Philistines!” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb 12 and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Samuel cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
10 As Samuel was offering burnt offerings, the Philistines approached to do battle with Israel. 13 But on that day the Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines. He caused them to panic, and they were defeated by 14 Israel. 11 Then the men of Israel left Mizpah and chased the Philistines, striking them down all the way to an area below Beth Car.
12 Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. 15 He named it Ebenezer, 16 saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were defeated; they did not invade Israel again. The hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 The cities that the Philistines had captured from Israel were returned to Israel, from Ekron to Gath. Israel also delivered their territory from the control 17 of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15 So Samuel led 18 Israel all the days of his life. 16 Year after year he used to travel the circuit of Bethel, 19 Gilgal, and Mizpah; he used to judge Israel in all of these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there. He also judged 20 Israel there and built an altar to the Lord there.
8 In his old age Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beer Sheba. 3 But his sons did not follow 1 his ways. Instead, they made money dishonestly, accepted bribes, and perverted justice. 2
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and approached Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways. So now appoint over us a king to lead 3 us, just like all the other nations have.”
6 But this request displeased Samuel, for 4 they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you. 5 For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king. 8 Just as they have done 6 from the day that I brought them up from Egypt until this very day, they have rejected me and have served other gods. This is what they are also doing to you. 9 So now do as they say. 7 But seriously warn 8 them and make them aware of the policies of the king who will rule over them.” 9
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “Here are the policies of the king who will rule over you: He will conscript your sons and put them in his chariot forces and in his cavalry; they will run in front of his chariot. 12 He will appoint for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties, 10 as well as those who plow his ground, reap his harvest, and make his weapons of war and his chariot equipment. 13 He will take your daughters to be ointment makers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He will take your best fields and vineyards and give them to his own servants. 15 He will demand a tenth of your seed and of the produce of your vineyards and give it to his administrators 11 and his servants. 16 He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best cattle and your donkeys, and assign them for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will be his servants. 18 In that day you will cry out because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won’t answer you in that day.” 12
19 But the people refused to heed Samuel’s warning. 13 Instead they said, “No! There will be a king over us! 20 We will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us 14 and fight our battles.”
21 So Samuel listened to everything the people said and then reported it to the Lord. 15 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do as they say 16 and install a king over them.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to his own city.”