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1 Samuel 7:1--8:22

Context

7:1 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.

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 2  of Israel longed for 3  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. 4  Give your hearts to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will deliver you 5  from the hand of the Philistines.” 7:4 So the Israelites 6  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 7  there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel led 8  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 9  crying out to the Lord our 10  God so that he may save us 11  from the hand of the Philistines!” 7:9 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.

7:10 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. 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. 15  He named it Ebenezer, 16  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 17  of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 7:15 So Samuel led 18  Israel all the days of his life. 7:16 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. 7:17 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.

Israel Seeks a King

8:1 In his old age Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 8:2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beer Sheba. 8:3 But his sons did not follow 21  his ways. Instead, they made money dishonestly, accepted bribes, and perverted justice. 22 

8:4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and approached Samuel at Ramah. 8:5 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 23  us, just like all the other nations have.”

8:6 But this request displeased Samuel, for 24  they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 8:7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you. 25  For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king. 8:8 Just as they have done 26  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. 8:9 So now do as they say. 27  But seriously warn 28  them and make them aware of the policies of the king who will rule over them.” 29 

8:10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 8:11 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. 8:12 He will appoint for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties, 30  as well as those who plow his ground, reap his harvest, and make his weapons of war and his chariot equipment. 8:13 He will take your daughters to be ointment makers, cooks, and bakers. 8:14 He will take your best fields and vineyards and give them to his own servants. 8:15 He will demand a tenth of your seed and of the produce of your vineyards and give it to his administrators 31  and his servants. 8:16 He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best cattle and your donkeys, and assign them for his own use. 8:17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will be his servants. 8:18 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.” 32 

8:19 But the people refused to heed Samuel’s warning. 33  Instead they said, “No! There will be a king over us! 8:20 We will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us 34  and fight our battles.”

8:21 So Samuel listened to everything the people said and then reported it to the Lord. 35  8:22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do as they say 36  and install a king over them.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to his own city.”

1 tn Heb “men.”

2 tn Heb “house” (also in the following verse).

3 tn Heb “mourned after”; NIV “mourned and sought after”; KJV, NRSV “lamented after”; NAB “turned to”; NCV “began to follow…again.”

4 tn Heb “the Ashtarot” (plural; also in the following verse). The words “images of” are supplied for clarity.

sn The Semitic goddess Astarte was associated with love and war in the ancient Near East. The presence of Ashtarot in Israel is a sign of pervasive pagan and idolatrous influences; hence Samuel calls for their removal. See 1 Sam 31:10, where the Philistines deposit the armor of the deceased Saul in the temple of the Ashtarot, and 1 Kgs 11:5, 33; 2 Kgs 23:13, where Solomon is faulted for worshiping the Ashtarot.

5 tn Following imperatives, the jussive verbal form with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result.

6 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”

7 tn Heb “said.”

8 tn Heb “judged”; NAB “began to judge”; TEV “settled disputes among.”

9 tn Heb “don’t stop.”

10 tc The LXX reads “your God” rather than the MT’s “our God.”

11 tn After the negated jussive, the prefixed verbal form with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result.

12 tn Heb “a lamb of milk”; NAB “an unweaned lamb”; NIV “a suckling lamb”; NCV “a baby lamb.”

13 tn Heb “approached for battle against Israel.”

14 tn Heb “before.”

15 tn Cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT “Jeshanah.”

16 sn The name Ebenezer (אֶבֶן הָעָזֶר) means “stone of help” in Hebrew (cf. TEV); NLT adds the meaning parenthetically after the name.

17 tn Heb “hand.”

18 tn Heb “judged” (also in v. 17).

19 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

20 tn Or perhaps “settled disputes for” (cf. NLT “would hear cases there”; NRSV “administered justice there”).

21 tn Heb “walk in” (also in v. 5).

22 tn Heb “and they turned aside after unjust gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”

23 tn Heb “judge” (also in v. 6).

24 tn Heb “when.”

25 tn Heb “Listen to the voice of the people, to all which they say to you.”

26 tn Heb “according to all the deeds which they have done.”

27 tn Heb “and now, listen to their voice.”

28 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the imperative for emphasis.

29 tn Heb “and tell them the manner of the king who will rule over them.”

30 tc The numbers of v. 12 are confused in the Greek and Syriac versions. For “fifties” the LXX has “hundreds.” The Syriac Peshitta has “heads of thousands and heads of hundreds and heads of fifties and heads of tens,” perhaps reflecting influence from Deut 1:15.

31 tn Or “eunuchs” (so NAB); NIV “officials”; KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT “officers.”

32 tc The LXX adds “because you have chosen for yourselves a king.”

33 tn Heb “and the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel.”

34 tn Heb “and go out before us.”

35 tn Heb “and Samuel heard all the words of the people and he spoke them into the ears of the Lord.”

36 tn Heb “listen to their voice.”



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