So the people of Kiriath Jearim fetched the LORD's Covenant Box and took it to the house of a man named Abinadab, who lived on a hill. They consecrated his son Eleazar to be in charge of it.
2The Covenant Box of the LORD stayed in Kiriath Jearim a long time, some twenty years. During this time all the Israelites cried to the LORD for help.
3Samuel said to the people of Israel, “If you are going to turn to the LORD with all your hearts, you must get rid of all the foreign gods and the images of the goddess Astarte. Dedicate yourselves completely to the LORD and worship only him, and he will rescue you from the power of the Philistines.” 4So the Israelites got rid of their idols of Baal and Astarte, and worshipped only the LORD.
5Then Samuel sent for all the Israelites to meet at Mizpah, saying, “I will pray to the LORD for you there.” 6So they all gathered at Mizpah. They drew some water and poured it out as an offering to the LORD and fasted that whole day. They said, “We have sinned against the LORD.” (It was at Mizpah that Samuel settled disputes among the Israelites.)
7When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the five Philistine kings started out with their men to attack them. The Israelites heard about it and were afraid, 8and said to Samuel, “Keep praying to the LORD our God to save us from the Philistines.” 9Samuel killed a young lamb and burnt it whole as a sacrifice to the LORD. Then he prayed to the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered his prayer. 10While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines moved forward to attack; but just then the LORD thundered from heaven against them. They became completely confused and fled in panic. 11The Israelites marched out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines almost as far as Bethcar, killing them along the way.
12Then Samuel took a stone, set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and said, “The LORD has helped us all the way” — and he named it “Stone of Help”. 13So the Philistines were defeated, and the LORD prevented them from invading Israel's territory as long as Samuel lived. 14All the cities which the Philistines had captured between Ekron and Gath were returned to Israel, and so Israel got back all its territory. And there was peace also between the Israelites and the Canaanites.
15Samuel ruled Israel as long as he lived. 16Every year he would go round to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and in these places he would settle disputes. 17Then he would go back to his home in Ramah, where also he would serve as judge. In Ramah he built an altar to the LORD.
81When Samuel grew old, he made his sons judges in Israel. 2The elder son was named Joel and the younger one Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3But they did not follow their father's example; they were interested only in making money, so they accepted bribes and did not decide cases honestly.
4Then all the leaders of Israel met together, went to Samuel in Ramah, 5
and said to him, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don't follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have.” 6Samuel was displeased with their request for a king; so he prayed to the LORD, 7and the LORD said, “Listen to everything the people say to you. You are not the one they have rejected; I am the one they have rejected as their king. 8Ever since I brought them out of Egypt, they have turned away from me and worshipped other gods; and now they are doing to you what they have always done to me. 9So then, listen to them, but give them strict warnings and explain how their kings will treat them.”
10Samuel told the people who were asking him for a king everything that the LORD had said to him. 11“This is how your king will treat you,” Samuel explained. “He will make soldiers of your sons; some of them will serve in his war chariots, others in his cavalry, and others will run before his chariots. 12He will make some of them officers in charge of a thousand men, and others in charge of fifty men. Your sons will have to plough his fields, harvest his crops, and make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots. 13Your daughters will have to make perfumes for him and work as his cooks and his bakers. 14He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials. 15He will take a tenth of your corn and of your grapes for his court officers and other officials. 16He will take your servants and your best cattle8.16 One ancient translation cattle; Hebrew young men. and donkeys, and make them work for him. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks. And you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that time comes, you will complain bitterly because of your king, whom you yourselves chose, but the LORD will not listen to your complaints.”
19The people paid no attention to Samuel, but said “No! We want a king, 20so that we will be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles.” 21Samuel listened to everything they said and then went and told the LORD. 22The LORD answered, “Do what they want and give them a king.” Then Samuel told all the men of Israel to go back home.
91There was a wealthy and influential man named Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin; he was the son of Abiel and grandson of Zeror, and belonged to the family of Becorath, a part of the clan of Aphiah. 2He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Saul was a head taller than anyone else in Israel and more handsome as well.
3Some donkeys belonging to Kish had wandered off, so he said to Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” 4They went through the hill country of Ephraim and the region of Shalishah, but did not find them; so they went on through the region of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then they went through the territory of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5When they came into the region of Zuph, Saul said to his servant, “Let's go back home, or my father might stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”
6The servant answered, “Wait! In this town there is a holy man who is highly respected because everything he says comes true. Let's go to him, and maybe he can tell us where we can find the donkeys.”
7“If we go to him, what can we give him?” Saul asked. “There is no food left in our packs, and we haven't anything to give him, have we?”
8The servant answered, “I have a small silver coin. I can give him that, and then he will tell us where we can find them.”
9-11Saul replied, “A good idea! Let's go.” So they went to the town where the holy man lived. As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women who were coming out to draw water. They asked these women, “Is the seer in town?”
(At that time a prophet was called a seer, and so whenever someone wanted to ask God a question, he would say, “Let's go to the seer.”)
12-13“Yes, he is,” the young women answered. “In fact, he is just ahead of you. If you hurry, you will catch up with him. As soon as you go into the town, you will find him. He arrived in town today because the people are going to offer a sacrifice on the altar on the hill. The people who are invited won't start eating until he gets there, because he has to bless the sacrifice first. If you go now, you will find him before he goes up the hill to eat.” 14So Saul and his servant went on to the town, and as they were going in, they saw Samuel coming out towards them on his way to the place of worship.
15Now on the previous day the LORD had said to Samuel, 16“Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin; anoint him as ruler of my people Israel, and he will rescue them from the Philistines. I have seen the suffering of my people and have heard their cries for help.”
17When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said to him, “This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people.” 18Then Saul went over to Samuel, who was near the gate, and asked, “Tell me, where does the seer live?”
19Samuel answered, “I am the seer. Go on ahead of me to the place of worship. Both of you are to eat with me today. Tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions and send you on your way. 20As for the donkeys that were lost three days ago, don't worry about them; they have already been found. But who is it that the people of Israel want so much?9.20 who is it… much?; or who is to have the most desirable thing in Israel? It is you — you and your father's family.”
21Saul answered, “I belong to the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important one in the tribe. Why, then, do you talk like this to me?”
22Then Samuel led Saul and his servant into the large room and gave them a place at the head of the table where the guests, about thirty in all, were seated. 23Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, which I told you to set aside.” 24So the cook brought the choice piece of the leg and placed it before Saul. Samuel9.24 Some ancient translations Samuel; Hebrew He (that is, the cook). said, “Look, here is the piece that was kept for you. Eat it. I saved it for you to eat at this time with the people I invited.”9.24 Probable text I saved it… invited; Hebrew unclear.
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they went down from the place of worship to the town, they made up a bed for Saul9.25 One ancient translation they made up a bed for Saul; Hebrew he spoke with Saul. on the roof,9.25 on the roof: At that time houses had flat roofs, and it was common for people to sleep on them. 26and he slept there.9.26 Some ancient translations and he slept there; Hebrew and they got up early.
At dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, and I will send you on your way.” Saul got up, and he and Samuel went out to the street together. 27When they arrived at the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” The servant left, and Samuel continued, “Stay here a minute, and I will tell you what God has said.”