Bible: 1 Samuel 1-7

Hannah Gives Birth to Samuel

1:1 There was a man from Ramathaim Zophim, 1  from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 1:2 He had two wives; the name of the first was Hannah and the name of the second was Peninnah. Now Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.

1:3 Year after year 2  this man would go up from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh. It was there that the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, served as the Lord’s priests. 1:4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he used to give meat portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 1:5 But he would give a double 3  portion to Hannah, because he especially loved her. 4  Now the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 5  1:6 Her rival wife used to upset her and make her worry, 6  for the Lord had not enabled her to have children. 1:7 Peninnah 7  would behave this way year after year. Whenever Hannah 8  went up to the Lord’s house, Peninnah 9  would upset her so that she would weep and refuse to eat. 1:8 Finally her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and not eat? Why are you so sad? 10  Am I not better to you than ten 11  sons?

1:9 On one occasion in Shiloh, after they had finished eating and drinking, Hannah got up. 12  (Now at the time Eli the priest was sitting in his chair 13  by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.) 1:10 She was very upset 14  as she prayed to the Lord, and she was weeping uncontrollably. 15  1:11 She made a vow saying, “O Lord of hosts, if you will look with compassion 16  on the suffering of your female servant, 17  remembering me and not forgetting your servant, and give a male child 18  to your servant, then I will dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. His hair will never be cut.” 19 

1:12 As she continued praying to 20  the Lord, Eli was watching her mouth. 1:13 Now Hannah was speaking from her heart. Although her lips were moving, her voice was inaudible. Eli therefore thought she was drunk. 1:14 So he 21  said to her, “How often do you intend to get drunk? Put away your wine!”

1:15 But Hannah replied, “That’s not the way it is, 22  my lord! I am under a great deal of stress. 23  I have drunk neither wine nor beer. Rather, I have poured out my soul to 24  the Lord. 1:16 Don’t consider your servant a wicked woman, 25  for until now I have spoken from my deep pain and anguish.”

1:17 Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the request that you have asked of him.” 1:18 She said, “May I, your servant, find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and got something to eat. 26  Her face no longer looked sad.

1:19 They got up early the next morning and after worshiping the Lord, they returned to their home at Ramah. Elkanah had marital relations with 27  his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered 28  her. 1:20 After some time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, thinking, “I asked the Lord for him. 29 

Hannah Dedicates Samuel to the Lord

1:21 This man Elkanah went up with all his family to make the yearly sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow, 1:22 but Hannah did not go up with them. 30  Instead she told her husband, “Once the boy is weaned, I will bring him and appear before the Lord, and he will remain there from then on.”

1:23 So her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what you think best. 31  Stay until you have weaned him. May the Lord fulfill his promise.” 32 

So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. 1:24 Once she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with three bulls, an ephah 33  of flour, and a container 34  of wine. She brought him to the Lord’s house at Shiloh, even though he was young. 35  1:25 Once the bull had been slaughtered, they brought the boy to Eli. 1:26 She said, “Just as surely as you are alive, my lord, I am the woman who previously stood here with you in order to pray to the Lord. 1:27 I prayed for this boy, and the Lord has given me the request that I asked of him. 1:28 Now I dedicate him to the Lord. From this time on he is dedicated to the Lord.” Then they 36  worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah Exalts the Lord in Prayer

2:1 Hannah prayed, 37 

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;

my horn 38  is exalted high because of the Lord.

I loudly denounce 39  my enemies,

for I am happy that you delivered me. 40 

2:2 No one is holy 41  like the Lord!

There is no one other than you!

There is no rock 42  like our God!

2:3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly, 43 

letting proud talk come out of your mouth!

For the Lord is a God who knows;

he 44  evaluates what people do.

2:4 The bows of warriors are shattered,

but those who stumble find their strength reinforced.

2:5 Those who are well-fed hire themselves out to earn food,

but the hungry no longer lack.

Even 45  the barren woman gives birth to seven, 46 

but the one with many children withers away. 47 

2:6 The Lord both kills and gives life;

he brings down to the grave 48  and raises up.

2:7 The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;

he humbles and he exalts.

2:8 He lifts the weak 49  from the dust;

he raises 50  the poor from the ash heap

to seat them with princes

and to bestow on them an honored position. 51 

The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord,

and he has placed the world on them.

2:9 He watches over 52  his holy ones, 53 

but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness,

for it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails.

2:10 The Lord shatters 54  his adversaries; 55 

he thunders against them from 56  the heavens.

The Lord executes judgment to the ends of the earth.

He will strengthen 57  his king

and exalt the power 58  of his anointed one.” 59 

2:11 Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah. But the boy was serving the Lord under the supervision of 60  Eli the priest.

Eli’s Sons Misuse Their Sacred Office

2:12 The sons of Eli were wicked men. 61  They did not recognize the Lord’s authority. 62  2:13 Now the priests would always treat the people in the following way: 63  Whenever anyone was making a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s attendant would come with a three-pronged fork 64  in his hand. 2:14 He would jab it into the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot, and everything that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they used to do to all the Israelites 65  when they came there to Shiloh.

2:15 Even before they burned the fat, the priest’s attendant would come and say to the person who was making the sacrifice, “Hand over some meat for the priest to roast! He won’t take boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 66  2:16 If the individual said to him, “First let the fat be burned away, and then take for yourself whatever you wish,” he would say, “No! 67  Hand it over right now! If you don’t, I will take it forcibly!

2:17 The sin of these young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they 68  treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.

2:18 Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord. The boy was dressed in a linen ephod. 2:19 His mother used to make him a small robe and bring it up to him at regular intervals when she would go up with her husband to make the annual sacrifice. 2:20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife saying, “May the Lord raise up for you descendants 69  from this woman to replace the one that she 70  dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would go to their 71  home. 2:21 So the Lord graciously attended to Hannah, and she was able to conceive and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the Lord’s sanctuary. 72 

2:22 Now Eli was very old when he heard about everything that his sons used to do to all the people of Israel 73  and how they used to have sex with 74  the women who were stationed at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 2:23 He said to them, “Why do you behave in this way? For I hear about these evil things from all these 75  people. 2:24 This ought not to be, 76  my sons! For the report that I hear circulating among the Lord’s people is not good. 2:25 If a man sins against a man, one may appeal to God on his behalf. But if a man sins against the Lord, who then will intercede for him?” But Eli’s sons 77  would not listen to their father, for the Lord had decided 78  to kill them.

2:26 Now the boy Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.

The Lord Judges the House of Eli

2:27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not plainly 79  reveal myself to your ancestor’s 80  house when they were in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh? 2:28 I chose your ancestor 81  from all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifice on my altar, to burn incense, and to bear the ephod before me. I gave to your ancestor’s house all the fire offerings made by the Israelites. 2:29 Why are you 82  scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place? 83  You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel.’

2:30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I really did say 84  that your house and your ancestor’s house would serve 85  me forever.’ But now the Lord says, ‘May it never be! 86  For I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed! 2:31 In fact, days are coming when I will remove your strength 87  and the strength 88  of your father’s house. There will not be an old man in your house! 2:32 You will see trouble in my dwelling place! 89  Israel will experience blessings, 90  but there will not be an old man in your 91  house for all time. 92  2:33 Any one of you that I do not cut off from my altar, I will cause your 93  eyes to fail 94  and will cause you grief. 95  All of those born to your family 96  will die in the prime of life. 97  2:34 This will be a confirming sign for you that will be fulfilled through your two sons, 98  Hophni and Phinehas: in a single day they both will die! 2:35 Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest. He will do what is in my heart and soul. I will build for him a secure dynasty 99  and he will serve my chosen one for all time. 100  2:36 Everyone who remains in your house will come to bow before him for a little money 101  and for a scrap of bread. Each will say, ‘Assign me to a priestly task so I can eat a scrap of bread.’

The Call of Samuel

3:1 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. 102  Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent.

3:2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3:3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 3:4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am! 3:5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli 103  said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 3:6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli 104  said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.”

3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 3:9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place.

3:10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening! 3:11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Look! I am about to do something in Israel; 105  when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle. 3:12 On that day I will carry out 106  against Eli everything that I spoke about his house – from start to finish! 3:13 You 107  should tell him that I am about to judge his house forever because of 108  the sin that he knew about. For his sons were cursing God, 109  and he did not rebuke them. 3:14 Therefore I swore an oath to the house of Eli, ‘The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.’

3:15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision. 3:16 However, Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.” 3:17 Eli 110  said, “What message did he speak to you? Don’t conceal it from me. God will judge you severely 111  if you conceal from me anything that he said to you!

3:18 So Samuel told him everything. He did not hold back anything from him. Eli 112  said, “The Lord will do what he pleases.” 113  3:19 Samuel continued to grow, and the Lord was with him. None of his prophecies fell to the ground unfulfilled. 114  3:20 All Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba realized that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 3:21 Then the Lord again appeared in Shiloh, for it was in Shiloh that the Lord had revealed himself to Samuel 115  through the word of the Lord. 116 

4:1 Samuel revealed the word of the Lord 117  to all Israel.

The Ark of the Covenant is Lost to the Philistines

Then the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines. 118  They camped at Ebenezer, 119  and the Philistines camped at Aphek. 4:2 The Philistines arranged their forces to fight 120  Israel. As the battle spread out, 121  Israel was defeated by 122  the Philistines, who 123  killed about four thousand men in the battle line in the field.

4:3 When the army 124  came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let us be defeated today by 125  the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us 126  from the hand of our enemies.

4:4 So the army 127  sent to Shiloh, and they took from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits between the cherubim. Now the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 4:5 When the ark of the covenant of the Lord arrived at the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly 128  that the ground shook.

4:6 When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout, they said, “What is this loud shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they realized that the ark of the Lord had arrived at the camp. 4:7 The Philistines were scared because they thought that gods had come to the camp. 129  They said, “Too bad for 130  us! We’ve never seen anything like this! 4:8 Too bad for us! Who can deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all sorts of plagues in the desert! 4:9 Be strong and act like men, you Philistines, or else you will wind up serving the Hebrews the way they have served you! Act like men and fight!

4:10 So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated; they all ran home. 131  The slaughter was very great; thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in battle. 4:11 The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were killed.

Eli Dies

4:12 On that day 132  a Benjaminite ran from the battle lines and came to Shiloh. His clothes were torn and dirt was on his head. 4:13 When he arrived in Shiloh, Eli was sitting in his chair watching by the side of 133  the road, for he was very worried 134  about the ark of God. As the man entered the city to give his report, 135  the whole city cried out.

4:14 When Eli heard the outcry, 136  he said, “What is this commotion?” 137  The man quickly came and told Eli. 4:15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes looked straight ahead; 138  he was unable to see.

4:16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle lines! Just today I fled from the battle lines!” Eli 139  asked, “How did things go, my son? 4:17 The messenger replied, “Israel has fled from 140  the Philistines! The army has suffered a great defeat! Your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are dead! The ark of God has been captured!

4:18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli 141  fell backward from his chair beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he 142  was old and heavy. He had judged Israel for forty years.

4:19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas, was pregnant and close to giving birth. When she heard that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she doubled over and gave birth. But her labor pains were too much for her. 4:20 As she was dying, the women who were there with her said, “Don’t be afraid! You have given birth to a son!” But she did not reply or pay any attention. 143 

4:21 She named the boy Ichabod, 144  saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” referring to the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 4:22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been captured.”

The Ark Causes Trouble for the Philistines

5:1 Now the Philistines had captured the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 5:2 The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the temple of Dagon, where they positioned it beside Dagon. 5:3 When the residents of Ashdod got up early the next day, 145  Dagon was lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him back in his place. 5:4 But when they got up early the following day, Dagon was again lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and his two hands were sheared off and were lying at the threshold. Only Dagon’s body was left intact. 146  5:5 (For this reason, to this very day, neither Dagon’s priests nor anyone else who enters Dagon’s temple step on Dagon’s threshold in Ashdod.)

5:6 The Lord attacked 147  the residents of Ashdod severely, bringing devastation on them. He struck the people of 148  both Ashdod and the surrounding area with sores. 149  5:7 When the people 150  of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel should not remain with us, for he has attacked 151  both us and our god Dagon!

5:8 So they assembled 152  all the leaders of the Philistines and asked, “What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They replied, “The ark of the God of Israel should be moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

5:9 But after it had been moved the Lord attacked 153  that city as well, causing a great deal of panic. He struck all the people of that city 154  with sores. 155  5:10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

But when the ark of God arrived at Ekron, the residents of Ekron cried out saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel here 156  to kill our 157  people! 5:11 So they assembled 158  all the leaders of the Philistines and said, “Get the ark of the God of Israel out of here! Let it go back to its own place so that it won’t kill us 159  and our 160  people!” The terror 161  of death was throughout the entire city; God was attacking them very severely there. 162  5:12 The people 163  who did not die were struck with sores; the city’s cry for help went all the way up to heaven.

The Philistines Return the Ark

6:1 When the ark of the Lord had been in the land 164  of the Philistines for seven months, 165  6:2 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.”

6:3 They replied, “If you are going to send the ark of 166  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.” 6:4 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. 6:5 You should make images of the sores and images of the mice 167  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. 168  6:6 Why harden your hearts like the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? 169  When God 170  treated them harshly, didn’t the Egyptians send the Israelites on their way? 171  6:7 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. 6:8 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. 6:9 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.”

6:10 So the men did as instructed. 172  They took two cows that had calves and harnessed them to a cart; they also removed their calves to their stalls. 6:11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, along with the chest, the gold mice, and the images of the sores. 6:12 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.

6:13 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. 6:14 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. 6:15 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. 6:16 The five leaders of the Philistines watched what was happening and then returned to Ekron on the same day.

6:17 These are the gold sores that the Philistines brought as a guilt offering to the Lordone for each of the following cities: Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 6:18 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, 173  where they positioned the ark of the Lord until this very day in the field of Joshua who was from Beth Shemesh.

6:19 But the Lord 174  struck down some of the people of Beth Shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord; he struck down 50,070 175  of the men. The people grieved because the Lord had struck the people with a hard blow. 6:20 The residents of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark 176  go up from here?”

6:21 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.”

7:1 Then the people 177  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.

Further Conflict with the Philistines

7:2 It was quite a long time – some twenty years in all – that the ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim. All the people 178  of Israel longed for 179  the Lord. 7:3 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. 180  Give your hearts to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will deliver you 181  from the hand of the Philistines.” 7:4 So the Israelites 182  removed the Baals and images of Ashtoreth. They served only the Lord.

7:5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.” 7:6 After they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted on that day, and they confessed 183  there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel led 184  the people of Israel at Mizpah.

7:7 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. 7:8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Keep 185  crying out to the Lord our 186  God so that he may save us 187  from the hand of the Philistines! 7:9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb 188  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.

7:10 As Samuel was offering burnt offerings, the Philistines approached to do battle with Israel. 189  But on that day the Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines. He caused them to panic, and they were defeated by 190  Israel. 7:11 Then the men of Israel left Mizpah and chased the Philistines, striking them down all the way to an area below Beth Car.

7:12 Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. 191  He named it Ebenezer, 192  saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” 7:13 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.

7:14 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 193  of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 7:15 So Samuel led 194  Israel all the days of his life. 7:16 Year after year he used to travel the circuit of Bethel, 195  Gilgal, and Mizpah; he used to judge Israel in all of these places. 7:17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there. He also judged 196  Israel there and built an altar to the Lord there.

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