1Samuel Chapter 11 (Bible Marathon Day 123)

1Samuel Chapter 11 (Bible Marathon Day 123)

Defeat of the Ammonites.
1
* About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead. All the people of Jabesh begged Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.”a
2
But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “This is my condition for making a treaty with you: I will gouge out the right eye of every man,* and thus bring shame on all Israel.”
3
The elders of Jabesh said to him: “Give us seven days to send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If there is no one to save us, we will surrender to you.”
4
When the messengers arrived at Gibeah of Saul and reported the news in the people’s hearing, they all wept aloud.
5
Just then Saul came in from the field, behind his oxen. “Why are the people weeping?” he asked. They repeated the message of the inhabitants of Jabesh for him.
6
As he listened to this report, the spirit of God rushed upon him and he became very angry.b
7
Taking a yoke of oxen, he cut them into pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel* by messengers saying, “If anyone does not come out to follow Saul and Samuel, the same thing will be done to his oxen!” The dread of the LORD came upon the people and they went forth as one.c
8
When Saul reviewed them in Bezek,* there were three hundred thousand Israelites and seventy thousand Judahites.

9
To the messengers who had come he said, “Tell the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead that tomorrow, when the sun grows hot, they will be saved.” The messengers went and reported this to the inhabitants of Jabesh, and they rejoiced.
10
The men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you may do with us whatever you want.”
11
The next day, Saul arranged his troops in three companies and invaded the camp during the dawn watch. They slaughtered Ammonites until the day had gotten hot; by then the survivors were so scattered that no two of them were left together.
Saul Accepted as King.
12
* The people then said to Samuel: “Who questioned whether Saul should rule over us? Hand them over and we will put them to death.”d
13
But Saul objected, “No one will be put to death this day, for today the LORD has rescued Israel.”e
14
Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal to renew the kingship there.”
15
So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king in the LORD’s presence. They also sacrificed communion offerings there before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.
* [11:1] A text from Qumran (1QSama) introduces this chapter with the report that Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had attacked the Gadites and the Reubenites, gouging out their right eyes. Seven thousand of them had fled to Jabesh-gilead. This additional information would explain why Nahash besieged Jabesh-gilead. There is no consensus among scholars whether the Qumran text represents an original reading or a secondary expansion.

* [11:2] Right eye of every man: thus rendering them incapable of military action.

* [11:7] Throughout the territory of Israel: Saul’s gesture summons the Israelite confederacy to a coordinated response against Nahash; cf. Jgs 19:29 for a similar action. Dread of the LORD: often a panic that immobilizes Israel’s enemies; here, however, it has the opposite effect and incites the Israelites to battle.

* [11:8] Bezek: probably modern Khirbet Ibziq, northeast of Shechem, on the west slope of the Jordan valley, opposite Jabesh-gilead.

* [11:12–14] With the defeat of the Ammonites, Saul demonstrates his ability to command Israel’s army and defend the land. At Gilgal, Saul’s kingship is ratified; ironically, he loses his kingship at the same place (13:7).

a. [11:1] 1 Sm 12:12; 31:11; 2 Sm 10:2.

b. [11:6] 1 Sm 16:13; Jgs 14:6, 19; 15:14.

c. [11:7] 1 Kgs 11:30; 2 Kgs 13:18.

d. [11:12] 1 Sm 10:27.

e. [11:13] 2 Sm 19:23.

1Samuel Chapter 10 (Bible Marathon Day 123)

1Samuel Chapter 10 (Bible Marathon Day 123)

1 Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying: “The LORD anoints you ruler over his people Israel. You are the one who will govern the LORD’s people and save them from the power of their enemies all around them.a

The Signs Foretold. “This will be the sign* for you that the LORD has anointed you ruler over his heritage:
2
When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb* at Zelzah in the territory of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went to look for have been found. Now your father is no longer worried about the donkeys, but is anxious about you and says: What shall I do about my son?’b
3
Farther on, when you arrive at the oak of Tabor,* three men will meet you as they go up to God at Bethel; one will be bringing three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and the third a skin of wine.
4
They will greet you and offer you two elevated offerings of bread, which you should accept from them.
5
c After that you will come to Gibeath-elohim, where the Philistine garrison* is located. As you enter that city, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place. They will be preceded by lyres, tambourines, flutes, and harps, and will be in prophetic ecstasy.
6
The spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will join them in their prophetic ecstasy and will become a changed man.d
7
When these signs have come to pass, do whatever lies to hand, because God is with you.
8
e Now go down ahead of me to Gilgal, for I shall come down to you, to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice communion offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you; I shall then tell you what you must do.”*
The Signs Come to Pass.
9
As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his heart. That very day all these signs came to pass….
10
* From there they arrived at Gibeah, where a band of prophets met Saul, and the spirit of God rushed upon him, so that he joined them in their prophetic ecstasy.f
11
When all who had known him previously saw him in a prophetic state among the prophets, they said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”g
12
And someone from that district responded, “And who is their father?” Thus the saying arose, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
13
When he came out of the prophetic ecstasy, he went home.
Silence About the Kingship.
14
Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?” Saul replied, “Looking for the donkeys. When we could not find them, we went to Samuel.”
15
Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, then, what Samuel said to you.”
16
Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But Saul told him nothing about what Samuel had said about the kingship.
Saul Chosen King.
17
Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpahh
18
and addressed the Israelites: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: It was I who brought Israel up from Egypt and delivered you from the power of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you.i
19
But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your evils and calamities, by saying, ‘No! You must appoint a king over us.’ Now, therefore, take your stand before the LORD according to your tribes and families.”j
20
So Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen.*
21
Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by clans, and the clan of Matri was chosen, and finally Saul, son of Kish, was chosen. But when they went to look for him, he was nowhere to be found.
22
k Again they consulted the LORD, “Is there still someone else to come forward?” The LORD answered: He is hiding among the baggage.
23
They ran to bring him from there; when he took his place among the people, he stood head and shoulders above all the people.l
24
Then Samuel addressed all the people, “Do you see the man whom the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people!” Then all the people shouted out, “Long live the king!”m
25
Samuel next explained to the people the rules of the monarchy,* wrote them in a book, and placed them before the presence of the LORD. Samuel then sent the people back to their own homes.n
26
Saul also went home to Gibeah, accompanied by warriors whose hearts the LORD had touched.
27
But some worthless people said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no tribute.* o
* [10:1] The sign: the role of the new ruler is confirmed by specific signs; cf. Ex 7:9.

* [10:2] Here, as in Jer 31:15, Rachel’s tomb is placed at Ramah, north of Jerusalem. Later tradition understood Ephrath (Gn 35:19–20) as Bethlehem and placed the tomb farther south (Mt 2:16–18).

* [10:3] Oak of Tabor: or terebinth. Such a tree often indicates a shrine.

* [10:5] The Philistine garrison: the Hebrew word for “garrison” has been explained alternatively to mean a stele established to mark the Philistine occupation, or an inspector or officer for the collection of taxes. Prophetic ecstasy: a condition of religious enthusiasm often induced by communal rituals of music and dancing.

* [10:8] By inserting this verse, with its seven days, an editor has named in the very context of Saul’s anointing the condition which in a later narrative will be the grounds for the rejection of the dynastic character of Saul’s kingship (13:8–15).

* [10:10] An editor has abridged a longer version of this story by omitting mention of the first two signs Samuel has given (vv. 2–4).

* [10:20] Was chosen: probably by casting lots; cf. 14:40–42; Jos 7:14, 17.

* [10:25] Rules of the monarchy: a charter describing the relationship between the king and the people.

* [10:27] Tribute: a gift to honor a new ruler as a pledge of one’s loyalty; see Gn 32:14; Jgs 3:15; 2 Sm 8:2.

a. [10:1] 1 Sm 9:16–17; 16:13; 24:7; Jgs 9:9; 1 Kgs 1:39; Acts 13:21.

b. [10:2] Jer 31:15; Mk 14:13.

c. [10:5–6] 1 Sm 13:3; 16:13; 19:20–21.

d. [10:6] 1 Sm 11:6; 16:13; Jgs 14:6, 19; 15:14; 2 Kgs 3:15.

e. [10:8] 1 Sm 13:8; Lv 3:1.

f. [10:10] 1 Sm 19:20–24; Nm 11:25.

g. [10:11] 1 Sm 19:24.

h. [10:17] 1 Sm 7:5.

i. [10:18] Ex 20:2; Lv 11:45; 25:38; Nm 15:41; Dt 5:6; Jgs 6:8–9.

j. [10:19] 1 Sm 8:19.

k. [10:22] 1 Sm 30:24.

l. [10:23] 1 Sm 9:2; 16:7.

m. [10:24] 2 Sm 16:16; 1 Kgs 1:25; 2 Kgs 11:12.

n. [10:25] 1 Sm 8:11; Dt 17:14–20.

o. [10:27] 1 Sm 11:12.

1Samuel Chapter 9 (Bible Marathon Day 122)

1Samuel Chapter 9 (Bible Marathon Day 122)

Saul.
1
There was a powerful man from Benjamin named Kish, who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.a
2
He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other Israelite more handsome than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people.b

The Lost Donkeys.
3
Now the donkeys of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go out and hunt for the donkeys.”
4
So they went through the hill country of Ephraim, and through the land of Shalishah. Not finding them there, they continued through the land of Shaalim without success. They also went through the land of Benjamin, but they failed to find the animals.
5
When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let us turn back, lest my father forget about the donkeys and become anxious about us.”
6
The servant replied, “Listen! There is a man of God in this city, a man held in high esteem; everything he says comes true. Let us go there now! Perhaps he can advise us about the journey we have undertaken.”
7
c But Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we offer the man? The food in our bags has run out; we have no present to give the man of God. What else do we have?”
8
Again the servant answered Saul, “I have a quarter shekel of silver.* If I give that to the man of God, he will advise us about the journey.”
9
d (In former times in Israel, anyone who went to consult God used to say, “Come, let us go to the seer.” For the one who is now called prophet was formerly called seer.)
10
Saul then said to his servant, “You are right! Come on, let us go!” So they headed toward the city where the man of God lived.

Meeting the Young Women.
11
e As they were going up the path to the city, they met some young women coming out to draw water and they asked them, “Is the seer in town?”
12
f The young women answered, “Yes, there—straight ahead. Hurry now; just today he came to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place.*
13
When you enter the city, you may reach him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not eat until he arrives; only after he blesses the sacrifice will the invited guests eat. Go up immediately, for you should find him right now.”

Saul Meets Samuel.
14
So they went up to the city. As they entered it—there was Samuel coming toward them on his way to the high place.
15
The day before Saul’s arrival, the LORD had revealed to Samuel:g
16
At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin whom you are to anoint as ruler of my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people; their cry has come to me.h
17
When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him: This is the man I told you about; he shall govern my people.
18
Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer lives.”
19
Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. In the morning, before letting you go, I will tell you everything on your mind.
20
As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not worry about them, for they have been found. Whom should Israel want if not you and your father’s family?”
21
Saul replied: “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel,* and is not my clan the least among the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why say such things to me?”i

The Meal.*
22
Samuel then took Saul and his servant and brought them into the room. He seated them at the head of the guests, of whom there were about thirty.
23
He said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you and told you to put aside.”
24
So the cook took up the leg and what went with it, and placed it before Saul. Samuel said: “This is a reserved portion that is set before you. Eat, for it was kept for you until this time; I explained that I was inviting some guests.” Thus Saul dined with Samuel that day.
25
When they came down from the high place into the city, a mattress was spread for Saul on the roof,
26
and he slept there.

Saul’s Anointing.
At daybreak 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 outside the city together.
27
As they were approaching the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stay here for a moment, that I may give you a word from God.”

* [9:8] A quarter shekel of silver: about a tenth of an ounce of silver.

* [9:12] On the high place: the local sanctuary on the top of a hill, where the sacrifice was offered and the sacrificial meal eaten.

* [9:21] Smallest of the tribes of Israel: Saul’s objection is a common element in call narrative, e.g., Ex 3:11; 4:10; Jgs 6:15.

* [9:22–24] At this ritual meal, Samuel treats the youthful Saul as if he were already king. Saul receives the part of the sacrificed animal reserved for the priest and his family, perhaps the sheep’s fat tail. Legal texts (Ex 29:22; Lv 3:9; 7:3–4) require the priest to burn this portion of the sheep on the altar.

a. [9:1] 1 Sm 14:51; 1 Chr 8:33.

b. [9:2] 1 Sm 10:23; 16:12.

c. [9:7–8] Nm 22:7; 1 Kgs 14:3; 2 Kgs 4:42; 5:15; 8:8–9.

d. [9:9] Sir 46:15.

e. [9:11] Gn 24:11–14; Ex 2:16.

f. [9:12] 1 Sm 7:17; 16:2, 5; 20:6, 29; Dt 12:13; 1 Kgs 3:2, 4.

g. [9:15] Acts 13:21.

h. [9:16] 1 Sm 10:1; Jgs 6:14.

i. [9:21] 1 Sm 15:17.

1Samuel Chapter 8 (Bible Marathon Day 122)

1Samuel Chapter 8 (Bible Marathon Day 122)

Request for a King.
1
* In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel.a
2
His firstborn was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beer-sheba.
3
His sons did not follow his example, but looked to their own gain, accepting bribes and perverting justice.b
4
Therefore all the elders of Israel assembled and went to Samuel at Ramah
5
and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, like all the nations, to rule us.”c
6
Samuel was displeased when they said, “Give us a king to rule us.” But he prayed to the LORD.
7
The LORD said: Listen to whatever the people say. You are not the one they are rejecting. They are rejecting me as their king.d
8
They are acting toward you just as they have acted from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this very day, deserting me to serve other gods.
9
Now listen to them; but at the same time, give them a solemn warning and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.

The Governance of the King.
10
Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king.
11
He told them: “The governance of the king who will rule you will be as follows: He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot.e
12
He will appoint from among them his commanders of thousands and of hundreds. He will make them do his plowing and harvesting and produce his weapons of war and chariotry.f
13
He will use your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
14
He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his servants.g
15
He will tithe your crops and grape harvests to give to his officials* and his servants.h
16
He will take your male and female slaves, as well as your best oxen and donkeys, and use them to do his work.
17
He will also tithe your flocks. As for you, you will become his slaves.i
18
On that day you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you on that day.”

Persistent Demand.
19
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said, “No! There must be a king over us.j
20
We too must be like all the nations, with a king to rule us, lead us in warfare, and fight our battles.”
21
Samuel listened to all the concerns of the people and then repeated them to the LORD.
22
The LORD said: Listen to them! Appoint a king to rule over them. Then Samuel said to the people of Israel, “Return, each one of you, to your own city.”*

* [8:1–22] From this chapter on, the editors of 1 Samuel provide two and sometimes three perspectives on the same event: e.g., the selection of Saul as king is recounted in chap. 8; 10:17–24; chap. 12.

* [8:15] Officials: lit., eunuchs. These high-ranking administrators were not necessarily emasculated.

* [8:22] To your own city: Samuel will later reassemble the people at Mizpah (10:17) to acclaim Saul as their king.

a. [8:1] 1 Chr 6:13.

b. [8:3] 1 Sm 2:12–17; Ex 23:8; Dt 16:19; Prv 17:23.

c. [8:5–6] Dt 17:14–15; Hos 13:10; Acts 13:21.

d. [8:7–8] 1 Sm 12:1, 12–13; Jgs 8:22–23; 10:13; 1 Kgs 9:9.

e. [8:11] 1 Sm 10:25; Dt 17:14–20; 1 Kgs 12.

f. [8:12] 2 Sm 15:1; 1 Kgs 1:5.

g. [8:14] Dt 14:22–23.

h. [8:15] 1 Sm 22:7; 1 Kgs 21:1–24; Ez 46:18.

i. [8:17] 1 Kgs 12:4.

j. [8:19] 1 Sm 10:19.

1Samuel Chapter 7 (Bible Marathon Day 121)

1Samuel Chapter 7 (Bible Marathon Day 121)

1
So the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, appointing his son Eleazar as guardian of the ark of the LORD.

Samuel the Judge.
2
From the day the ark came to rest in Kiriath-jearim, a long time, twenty years, elapsed, and the whole house of Israel turned to the LORD.
3
Then Samuel addressed the whole house of Israel: “If you would return to the LORD with your whole heart, remove your foreign gods and your Astartes, fix your hearts on the LORD, and serve him alone, then the LORD will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”a
4
So the Israelites removed their Baals and Astartes,* and served the LORD alone.
5
Samuel then gave orders, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, that I may pray to the LORD for you.”b
6
When they had gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out* on the ground before the LORD, and they fasted that day, saying, “We have sinned against the LORD.” It was at Mizpah that Samuel began to judge the Israelites.c

Rout of the Philistines.
7
When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their leaders went up against Israel. Hearing this, the Israelites became afraid of the Philistines
8
and appealed to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us, to save us from the hand of the Philistines.”d
9
Samuel therefore took an unweaned lamb and offered it whole as a burnt offering to the LORD.e He cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him.
10
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near for battle with Israel. That day, however, the LORD thundered loudly against the Philistines, and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel.f
11
Thereupon the Israelites rushed out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, striking them down even beyond Beth-car.
12
Samuel then took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Jeshanah; he named it Ebenezer,* explaining, “As far as this place the LORD has been our help.”
13
Thus were the Philistines subdued, never again to enter the territory of Israel, for the hand of the LORD was against them as long as Samuel lived.g
14
The cities from Ekron to Gath which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to them. Israel also freed the territory of these cities from Philistine domination. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.*
15
Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived.
16
He made a yearly circuit, passing through Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah* and judging Israel at each of these places.
17
Then he used to return to Ramah, for that was his home. There, too, he judged Israel and built an altar to the LORD.h

* [7:4] Baals and Astartes: a Deuteronomistic phrase; cf. Jgs 2:13; 10:6; 1 Sm 12:10. Baal and Astarte were Canaanite divinities.

* [7:6] Drew water and poured it out: this ritual act does not appear elsewhere in the Old Testament. Linked with fasting and admission of sin, it seems to function as a purification ritual that washes away the guilt incurred by worshiping the Canaanite Baal and his consort Astarte. Its effectiveness is immediately evident when the Lord thunders a response to Samuel’s offering.

* [7:12] Ebenezer: “stone of the helper,” i.e., the Lord.

* [7:14] The Amorites: enemies in Transjordan. Israel is now secure, safe from external and internal threat.

* [7:16] Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah: Bethel and Mizpah are located about five and eight miles north of Jerusalem respectively, in the district around Ramah, Samuel’s home. Perhaps Gilgal, which has not been definitively located, was also in this area.

a. [7:3] 1 Sm 12:10, 20, 24; Jos 24:23; Jgs 6:6–10; 10:10–16.

b. [7:5] 1 Sm 10:17; Jgs 20:1.

c. [7:6] Jgs 20:26; Ps 22:14; Lam 2:19.

d. [7:8] Jos 24:7; Jgs 3:9, 15; 6:6; 10:15.

e. [7:9–10] 2 Sm 22:14–15; Sir 46:16–18.

f. [7:10] Ex 9:23; 2 Sm 22:14.

g. [7:13] Jgs 3:20; 8:28; 11:33.

h. [7:17] 1 Sm 9:12; 14:35.

1Samuel Chapter 6 (Bible Marathon Day 121)

1Samuel Chapter 6 (Bible Marathon Day 121)

The Ark Is Returned.
1
The ark of the LORD had been in the land of the Philistines seven months
2
when they summoned priests and diviners to ask, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us what we should send back with it.”
3
They replied: “If you intend to send back the ark of the God of Israel, you must not send it alone, but must, by all means, make amends to God through a reparation offering.* Then you will be healed, and will learn why God continues to afflict you.”
4
When asked further, “What reparation offering should be our amends to God?” they replied: “Five golden tumors and five golden mice to correspond to the number of Philistine leaders, since the same plague has struck all of you and your leaders.
5
Therefore, make images of the tumors and of the mice that are devastating your land and so give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps then God will lift his hand from you, your gods, and your land.
6
Why should you become stubborn, the way the Egyptians and Pharaoh were stubborn? Was it not after he had dealt ruthlessly with them that the Israelites were released and departed?a
7
So now set to work and make a new cart. Then take two milk cows that have not borne the yoke; hitch them to the cart, but drive their calves indoors away from them.* b
8
You shall next take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart, putting the golden articles that you are offering as reparation for your guilt in a box beside it. Start it on its way, and let it go.
9
Then watch! If it goes up to Beth-shemesh* along the route to the LORD’s territory, then it was the LORD who brought this great calamity upon us; if not, we will know that it was not the LORD’s hand, but a bad turn, that struck us.”

The Ark in Beth-shemesh.
10
They acted upon this advice. Taking two milk cows, they hitched them to the cart but shut up their calves indoors.
11
Then they placed the ark of the LORD on the cart, along with the box containing the golden mice and the images of the tumors.
12
The cows went straight for the route to Beth-shemesh and continued along this road, mooing as they went, turning neither right nor left. The Philistine leaders followed them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
13
The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting the wheat in the valley. They looked up and rejoiced when they saw the ark.
14
The cart came to the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stopped there. At a large stone in the field, the wood of the cart was split up and the cows were offered as a burnt offering to the LORD.c
15
The Levites, meanwhile, had taken down the ark of God and the box beside it, with the golden articles, and had placed them on the great stone. The people of Beth-shemesh also offered other burnt offerings and sacrifices to the LORD that day.d
16
After witnessing this, the five Philistine leaders returned to Ekron the same day.
17
The golden tumors the Philistines sent back as a reparation offering to the LORD were as follows: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, and one for Ekron.
18
The golden mice, however, corresponded to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five leaders, including fortified cities and open villages.* The large stone on which the ark of the LORD was placed is still in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite at the present time.e

Penalty for Irreverence.
19
The descendants of Jeconiah did not join in the celebration with the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh when they saw the ark of the LORD, and seventy of them were struck down. The people mourned over this great calamity which the LORD had inflicted upon them.
20
The men of Beth-shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this Holy God? To whom can the ark go so that we are rid of it?”
21
They then sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the LORD; come down and get it.”

* [6:3] A reparation offering: an offering to make amends for unwitting transgressions against holy things or property rights; cf. Lv 6:1–3.

* [6:7] But drive their calves indoors away from them: a test to confirm the source of the Philistines’ trouble. Left to their instincts, milk cows would remain near their calves rather than head for the road to Beth-shemesh.

* [6:9] Beth-shemesh: a border city (about twenty-four miles west of Jerusalem) between Philistine and Israelite territory.

* [6:18] Open villages: the plague devastated both fortified cities and villages, an indication of the Lord’s power over the Philistines.

a. [6:6] Ex 7:14; 8:15; 9:34.

b. [6:7] Nm 19:2; Dt 21:3; 2 Sm 6:3.

c. [6:14] 2 Sm 24:21–25.

d. [6:15] Dt 31:25; 1 Chr 15:2.

e. [6:18] 1 Sm 7:12; Gn 31:52; Jos 24:27.

1Samuel Chapter 5 (Bible Marathon Day 120)

1Samuel Chapter 5 (Bible Marathon Day 120)

The Ark in the Temple of Dagon.
1
* a The Philistines, having captured the ark of God, transferred it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.b
2
They then took the ark of God and brought it into the temple of Dagon, placing it beside Dagon.
3
When the people of Ashdod rose early the next morning, Dagon was lying face down on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they picked Dagon up and put him back in his place.
4
But early the next morning, when they arose, Dagon lay face down on the ground before the ark of the LORD, his head and hands broken off and lying on the threshold, his trunk alone intact.
5
For this reason, neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter the temple of Dagon tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this very day.

The Ark Is Carried About.
6
Now the hand of the LORD weighed heavily on the people of Ashdod, ravaging them and afflicting the city and its vicinity with tumors.* c
7
On seeing how matters stood, the people of Ashdod decided, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand weighs heavily on us and Dagon our god.”
8
So they summoned all the Philistine leaders and inquired of them, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” The people of Gath replied, “Let them move the ark of the God of Israel to us.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel to Gath.
9
But after it had been brought there, the hand of the LORD was against the city, resulting in utter turmoil: the LORD afflicted its inhabitants, young and old, and tumors broke out on them.
10
The ark of God was next sent to Ekron; but as it entered that city, the people there cried out, “Why have they brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us and our kindred?”
11
Then they, too, sent a summons to all the Philistine leaders and pleaded: “Send away the ark of the God of Israel. Send it back to its place so it does not kill us and our kindred.” A deadly panic had seized the whole city, since the hand of God lay heavy upon it.
12
Those who escaped death were afflicted with tumors. Thus the outcry from the city went up to the heavens.

* [5:1–12] The Philistines take the ark to Dagon’s temple in Ashdod to confirm their victory. Their action, however, underscores Dagon’s impotence and the Lord’s power. The narrator relates the transfer of the ark from Ashdod to Gath and then Ekron as the progress of a conquering warrior king through the Philistine cities along the central plain. The Philistines’ humiliation recalls the climax of the Samson story (Jgs 16:13–21).

* [5:6] Tumors: the Septuagint adds that mice, suggestive of bubonic plague, infested their fields, thus anticipating the golden mice in 6:4–5. One symptom of bubonic plague is swollen lymph nodes (“tumors”).

a. [5:1–5] Jgs 16:23–30; Is 45:5–6, 20–21.

b. [5:1] Jos 13:3.

c. [5:6] Ps 32:4.