1 Samuel, 6
The Philistines return the Ark
1: And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2: And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. 3: And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. 4: Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. 5: Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. 6: Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? 7: Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: 8: And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go. 9: And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us. 10: And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home: 11: And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. 12: And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh. 13: And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. 14: And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD. 15: And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD. 16: And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. 17: And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one; 18: And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemite. 19: And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. 20: And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? 21: And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.
1 Samuel, 7
1: And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 2: And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
Samuel leads Israel
3: And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. 4: Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. 5: And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. 6: And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. 7: And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8: And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. 9: And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. 10: And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. 11: And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. 12: Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 13: So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14: And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15: And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16: And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. 17: And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.
1 Samuel, 8
Israel ask for a King
1: And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2: Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba. 3: And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. 4: Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5: And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6: But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7: And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8: According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9: Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10: And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11: And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12: And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13: And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14: And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15: And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16: And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17: He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18: And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19: Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20: That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21: And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. 22: And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
In today’s reading we see the Philistines bring back the Ark of the Covenant. Samuel begins to lead the Children of Israel and Israel asks Samuel to give them a king. After a period of seven months the Philistines are glad to bring back the Ark of the Covenant. This object which was such a blessing to Israel was a curse to them. They ask what they should do with the ark and true to custom; they decide to send it back with images of five golden emerods and five golden mice. So they made a new cart to put the ark on and they take two new cows that have calves and join then together. They did this and sent the cows away and they walked straight to Beth-shemesh lowing as they went on their way. When the people of Beth-shemech saw the Ark coming they rejoiced. The cart came and stood in the field of Joshua. In the field was a great stone where they chopped up the cart and offered the cows as an offering to the Lord. Then the Lord killed the men of Beth-shemesh – 50,070, because they looked on the ark which was forbidden to be seen. The people wept in great mourning and asked for it to be removed from their territory. The men of Kirjath-jearim came and took the ark and brought it to the house of Abinadab in the hill. They sanctified Eleazar to look after the ark of the LORD and there is remained for 20 yrs. Samuel led a great revival in calling on the people to return to the Lord their God with a whole heart. But he said if you do return to the Lord then put away the Ashtaroth. These were the gods of the Canaanites. So they put away Baalim and Ashtaroth and served only the LORD. So the people fasted and sought the Lord that day. They said we have sinned against the LORD. The Philistines heard that Israel was gathered together so they Philistines went up to stand against them. When Israel heard that the Philistines came they were afraid and they pleaded with Samuel to pray for them. Samuel offered a sacrifice to the LORD. Then the Lord thundered on the Philistines on that day and they were killed in front of Israel. Then the men of war went out against the Philistines and chased them along way. Then Samuel set up a stone calling it Eben-ezar saying up to this point the Lord has helped us. All the days of Samuel the children of Israel didn’t come into the land of Israel. The cites that the Philistines had taken were restored and the Amorites didn’t try anything against Israel again while Samuel lived. Samuel judged Israel all his life and every year he went on a circuit around the land judging in the cites of Bethel, Gilgall and Mizpeh. Then he would return to Ramah where he had a house and there he built an altar. When Samuel was old he made his two sons, Joel and Abiah, judges over Israel, however they took bribes and did not follow the righteous example of their Father. The elders of Israel came to Samuel and said your sons do not follow you so give us a king that will reign over us. Samuel was not pleased and took the matter to the LORD. But the LORD told Samuel look they have not forsaken you - they have forsaken me, in asking for a king. The LORD said even though you will tell them that this is a very bad thing yet you will do what they ask. Samuel told the elders what the LORD said. He said a king will take yours sons and make them serve him. He will appoint captains of 1,000’s and 100’s and 50’s. He will make them his servants to work for him. He will make your daughters, cook and bake for him. He will take you vineyards and oliveyards and give them to his servants and he will tax you of your produce and of your herds. And in the end you will cry out to the LORD because of his oppression and when you do the LORD will not hear you. But the people were adamant and said No Samuel we are determined to have a king over us. We want to be like the nations who all have kings. Samuel told the Lord everything they said and the LORD told to anoint a king over them. Then Samuel dismissed the people and they all went home. This was bringing to an end the period of the Judges, which had lasted while Israel was faithful to the LORD a period of 490 years or 70 weeks of years. The next period would be the Monarchy which would last also for 490 years (In the years of the Lord – while Israel is faithful)