Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
1 Samuel 6
Now the ark of Yahweh had been in the territory of the Philistines for seven months, and the Philistines called to the priests and to those who practiced divination, saying, "What should we do with the ark of Yahweh? Inform us how we should send it to its place." They said, "If you are sending the ark of the God of Israel away, you must not send it away empty, but by all means return it with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will become known to you why his hand is not turned aside from you." And they said, "What is the guilt offering that we should return to him?" They said, "The number of the rulers of the Philistines is five. Therefore send five gold tumors and five gold mice, because one plague was on all of you and all your rulers. You must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that are ravaging the land, and you must give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and on your gods and on your land. Why should you harden your hearts like the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their heart? Is it not just like when he dealt with them wantonly so that they sent them away and they left? So then, prepare one new utility cart and two milking cows that have never had a yoke on them, and you must harness the cows to the utility cart and then turn their calves from following them to their stall. And you must take the ark of Yahweh and place it on the utility cart with the gold objects that you are returning to him as a guilt offering. You must place them in the container beside the ark and then send it off so that it goes away. You must watch; if it goes up by the way of its territory to Beth Shemesh, he has caused this great disaster to come on us. But if not, then we will know his hand has not struck us; it was by chance that this happened to us. So the men did so; they took two milking cows and harnessed them to the utility cart, but they shut up their calves in the stall. Then they put the ark of Yahweh on the utility cart with the container holding the gold mice and the images of their tumors. The cows went straight on the way on the road to Beth Shemesh, on the one main road, lowing as they went. They did not turn aside to the right or to the left, and the rulers of the Philistines were walking after them up to the border of Beth Shemesh.
Now the people of Beth Shemesh were reaping the wheat harvest in the valley. They lifted their eyes and saw the ark, and they were glad to see it. The utility cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped there where there was a large stone. They split the wood of the utility cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to Yahweh. Then the Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the container that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and they set them on the large stone. Then the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings, and they made sacrifices to Yahweh on that day. The five rulers of the Philistines saw it and returned to Ekron that same day.
Now these are the gold tumors which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron. And the gold mice according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines, for their five rulers, from the fortified city to the unwalled village of the open country as far as the great stone, where they set the ark of Yahweh until this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh. He struck seventy men among the men of Beth Shemesh because they looked into the ark of Yahweh. So the people mourned because Yahweh had struck a great blow among the people. Then the men of Beth Shemesh asked, "Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom shall it go up from us?" So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath Jearim saying, "The Philistines have returned the ark of Yahweh. Come down and take it up to yourselves."
1 Samuel 7
The men of Kiriath Jearim came and brought up the ark of Yahweh, and they brought it to the house of Abinadab in Gibeah. They consecrated Eleazer his son to guard the ark of Yahweh. From the day the ark stayed in Kiriath Jearim, days multiplied and became twenty years while all the house of Israel mourned after Yahweh. And Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If with all your heart you are turning to Yahweh, remove the foreign gods and Ashtoreths from your midst. Commit your hearts to Yahweh and serve him alone. Then he will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines." So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and they served Yahweh alone.
Then Samuel said, "Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to Yahweh for you." So they gathered to Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before Yahweh. They fasted on that day and said there, "We have sinned against Yahweh!" So Samuel judged the Israelites at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. Then the Israelites said to Samuel, "You must not cease from crying out to Yahweh our God, so that he will deliver us from the hand of the Philistines." So Samuel took a single nursing lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to Yahweh. Then Samuel cried out to Yahweh on behalf of Israel, and Yahweh answered him. While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near for the battle against Israel. But Yahweh thundered against the Philistines with a great noise on that day and threw them into confusion so that they were defeated before Israel. Then the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and they struck them down as far as below Beth Car.
So Samuel took a single stone and put it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer and said, "Up to here Yahweh has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come into the territory of Israel again, and the hand of Yahweh was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns which the Philistines had taken from Israel were returned to Israel from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territories from the hand of the Philistines. Then there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He used to go on the circuit from year to year. He went around Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. Then he returned to Ramah, because his house was there, and there he judged Israel, and he built an altar to Yahweh there.
1 Samuel 8
When Samuel grew old he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after gain, they took bribes, and they perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "Look, you are old and your sons do not follow in your ways. So then appoint a king for us to judge us, like all the nations. But the matter was displeasing to Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us," so Samuel prayed to Yahweh.
Then Yahweh said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people concerning all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Like all the deeds they have done from the day I brought them up from Egypt until this day, they have forsaken me and have served other gods—so they are doing to you also. And so then, listen to their voice. However, you must earnestly warn them; you must explain to them the custom of the king who will rule over them."
So Samuel spoke all the words of Yahweh to the people who were requesting a king from him. He said, "This will be the custom of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and his horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and those to do his plowing and to reap his harvest, and those to make weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters as his perfume makers and as cooks and as bakers. He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive trees and will give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your seed and your vineyards and give it to his high officials and to his servants. He will take your male slaves and your female slaves and the best of your young men and your donkeys and will use them for his projects. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. So you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but Yahweh will not answer you on that day!" However, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel and they said, "No, but there must be a king over us, so that we also may be like all the nations, and our king may rule us and go out before us and fight our battles."
Now when Samuel heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of Yahweh. Then Yahweh said to Samuel, "Listen to their voice, and appoint a king for them." So Samuel spoke to the men of Israel, "Each of you go to his own town."
And the high priest said, "Is it so concerning these things?" So he said, "Men—brothers and fathers—listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your relatives and come to the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, he caused him to move to this land in which you now live. And he did not give him an inheritance in it—not even a footstep—and he promised to give it to him for his possession, and to his descendants after him, although he did not have a child. But God spoke like this: ‘His descendants will be foreigners in a foreign land, and they will enslave them and mistreat them four hundred years, and the nation that they will serve as slaves, I will judge,’ God said, ‘and after these things they will come out and will worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac did so with Jacob, and Jacob did so with the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. And God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And he appointed him ruler over Egypt and all his household. And a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan and great affliction, and our fathers could not find food. So when Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And on the second visit Joseph was made known to his brothers, and the family of Joseph became known to Pharaoh. So Joseph sent and summoned his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five persons in all. And Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers. And they were brought back to Shechem and buried in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
"But as the time of the promise that God had made to Abraham was drawing near, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt until another king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. This man deceitfully took advantage of our people and mistreated our ancestors, causing them to abandon their infants so that they would not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful to God. He was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was abandoned, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in his words and deeds.
"But when he was forty years old, it entered in his heart to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being unjustly harmed, he defended him and avenged the one who had been oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he thought his brothers would understand that God was granting deliverance to them by his hand, but they did not understand. And on the following day, he made an appearance to them while they were fighting and was attempting to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men and brothers, why are you doing wrong to one another?’ But the one who was doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him aside, saying, ‘Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? You do not want to do away with me the same way you did away with the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ And at this statement, Moses fled and became a foreigner in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
"And when forty years had been completed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. And when Moses saw it, he was astonished at the sight, and when he approached to look at it, the voice of the Lord came: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob!’ So Moses began trembling and did not dare to look at it. And the Lord said to him, ‘Untie the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ This Moses whom they had repudiated, saying, ‘Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.
"This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and who with our fathers received living oracles to give to us, to whom our fathers were not willing to become obedient, but rejected him and turned back in their hearts to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go on before us! For this Moses, who led us out from the land of Egypt—we do not know what has happened to him!’ And they manufactured a calf in those days, and offered up a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the prophets:
‘You did not bring offerings and sacrifices to me
for forty years in the wilderness, did you, house of Israel?
And you took along the tabernacle of Moloch
and the star of the god Rephan,
the images that you made, to worship them,
and I will deport you beyond Babylon!’
The tabernacle of the testimony belonged to our fathers in the wilderness, just as the one who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the design that he had seen, and which, after receiving it in turn, our fathers brought in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out from the presence of our fathers, until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built a house for him. But the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands, just as the prophet says,
‘Heaven is my throne
and earth is the footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’
"You stiff-necked people and uncircumcised in hearts and in your ears! You constantly resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so also do you! Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand about the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become, you who received the law by directions of angels and have not observed it!"
Now when they heard these things, they were infuriated in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" But crying out with a loud voice, they stopped their ears and rushed at him with one purpose. And after they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid aside their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they kept on stoning Stephen as he was calling out and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" And falling to his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And after he said this, he fell asleep.