This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 3 (of 8) in Section 7: "The First Centuries In The Promised Land".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
1 Samuel chapter 7 (TEV)
3 Samuel 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."
4 So the Israelites got rid of their idols of Baal and Astarte, and worshiped only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel called for all the Israelites to meet at Mizpah, telling them, "I will pray to the Lord for you there." 6 So 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 where Samuel settled disputes among the Israelites.)
7 When 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, 8 and said to Samuel, "Keep praying to the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines." 9 Samuel killed a young lamb and burned it whole as a sacrifice to the Lord. Then he prayed to the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered his prayer. 10 While 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. 11 The Israelites marched out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines almost as far as Bethcar, killing them along the way.
12 Then 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."
13 So the Philistines were defeated, and the Lord prevented them from invading Israel's territory as long as Samuel lived. 14 All 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.
15 Samuel ruled Israel as long as he lived. 16 Every year he would go around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and in these places he would settle disputes. 17 Then 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.
1 Samuel chapter 8 (NIV)
1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."
6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD . 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do:
He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.
12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties,
and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest,
and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.
15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.
17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.
18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD . 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king." Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Everyone go back to his town."
1 Samuel chapter 9 (TEV)
1 There was a wealthy and influential man named Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin; he ... belonged to the family of Becorath, a part of the clan of Aphiah. 2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Saul was a foot taller than anyone else in Israel and more handsome as well.
1 Samuel chapter 9 (GWT)
3 Some 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."
4 They 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. 5 When 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."
6 The 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 don't have a thing to give him, do we?"
8 The 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 Saul 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 "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 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."
14 So Saul and his servant went on to the town, and as they were going in, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way to the place of worship. 15 Now on the previous day the Lord had told 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." 17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, "This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people."
18 Then Saul went over to Samuel, who was near the gate, and asked, "Tell me, where does the seer live?"
19 Samuel 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. 20 As 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? It is you-you and your father's family."
21 Saul 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?"
22 Then 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. 23 Samuel said to the cook, "Bring the piece of meat I gave you, which I told you to set aside." 24 So the cook brought the choice piece of the leg and placed it before Saul. Samuel 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."
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they went down from the place of worship to the town, they fixed up a bed for Saul on the roof, 26 and he slept there.
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. 27 When they arrived at the edge of 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."
1 Samuel chapter 10 (NLT)
1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul's head. He kissed Saul on the cheek and said, "I am doing this because the LORD has appointed you to be the leader of his people Israel. 2 When you leave me today, you will see two men beside Rachel's tomb at Zelzah, on the border of Benjamin. They will tell you that the donkeys have been found and that your father is worried about you and is asking, 'Have you seen my son?' 3 "When you get to the oak of Tabor, you will see three men coming toward you who are on their way to worship God at Bethel. One will be bringing three young goats, another will have three loaves of bread, and the third will be carrying a skin of wine. 4 They will greet you and offer you two of the loaves, which you are to accept. 5 "When you arrive at Gibeah of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the altar on the hill. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. 6 At that time the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you with power, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. 7 After these signs take place, do whatever you think is best, for God will be with you. 8 Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me and wait for me there seven days. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. When I arrive, I will give you further instructions."
9 As Saul turned and started to leave, God changed his heart, and all Samuel's signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, they saw the prophets coming toward them. Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy. 11 When his friends heard about it, they exclaimed, "What? Is Saul a prophet? How did the son of Kish become a prophet?" 12 But one of the neighbors responded, "It doesn't matter who his father is; anyone can become a prophet." So that is the origin of the saying "Is Saul a prophet?"
13 When Saul had finished prophesying, he climbed the hill to the altar. 14 "Where in the world have you been?" Saul's uncle asked him.
"We went to look for the donkeys," Saul replied, "but we couldn't find them. So we went to the prophet Samuel to ask him where they were."
15 "Oh? And what did he say?" his uncle asked. 16 "He said the donkeys had been found," Saul replied.
But Saul didn't tell his uncle that Samuel had anointed him to be king.
17 Later Samuel called all the people of Israel to meet before the LORD at Mizpah. 18 And he gave them this message from the LORD, the God of Israel: "I brought you from Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and from all of the nations that were oppressing you. 19 But though I have done so much for you, you have rejected me and said, 'We want a king instead!' Now, therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by tribes and clans."
20 So Samuel called the tribal leaders together before the LORD, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the LORD, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! 22 So they asked the LORD, "Where is he?"And the LORD replied, "He is hiding among the baggage." 23 So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else. 24 Then Samuel said to all the people, "This is the man the LORD has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is his equal!"And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!" 25 Then Samuel told the people what the rights and duties of a king were. He wrote them down on a scroll and placed it before the LORD. Then Samuel sent the people home again.
26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a band of men whose hearts God had touched became his constant companions. 27 But there were some wicked men who complained, "How can this man save us?" And they despised him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.
1 Samuel chapter 11 (NIV)
1 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, "Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you." 2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel."
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you."
4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. 5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, "What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?" Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger. 7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, "This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel."
Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out as one man. 8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be delivered.' "
When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated. 10 They said to the Ammonites, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever seems good to you."
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12 The people then said to Samuel, "Who was it that asked, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring these men to us and we will put them to death."
13 But Saul said, "No one shall be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel."
14 Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal and there reaffirm the kingship."
15 So all the people went to Gilgal and confirmed Saul as king in the presence of the LORD . There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD , and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
1 Samuel chapter 12 (TEV)
1 Then Samuel said to the people of Israel, "I have done what you asked me to do. I have given you a king to rule you, 2 and now you have him to lead you. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are with you. I have been your leader from my youth until now. 3 Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, accuse me now in the presence of the Lord and the king he has chosen.
Have I taken anybody's cow or anybody's donkey?
Have I cheated or oppressed anyone?
Have I accepted a bribe from anyone?
If I have done any of these things, I will pay back what I have taken."
4 The people answered, "No, you have not cheated us or oppressed us; you have not taken anything from anyone."
5 Samuel replied, "The Lord and the king he has chosen are witnesses today that you have found me to be completely innocent."
"Yes, the Lord is our witness," they answered.
6 Samuel continued, "The Lord is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors out of Egypt. 7 Now stand where you are, and I will accuse you before the Lord by reminding you of all the mighty actions the Lord did to save you and your ancestors.
"8 When Jacob and his family went to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, your ancestors cried to the Lord for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron, who brought them out of Egypt and settled them in this land. 9 But the people forgot the Lord their God, and so he let the Philistines and the king of Moab and Sisera, commander of the army of the city of Hazor, fight against your ancestors and conquer them.
10 Then they cried to the Lord for help and said, "We have sinned, because we turned away from you, Lord, and worshiped the idols of Baal and Astarte. Rescue us from our enemies, and we will worship you!'
11 And the Lord sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, and finally me. Each of us rescued you from your enemies, and you lived in safety.
12 But when you saw that King Nahash of Ammon was about to attack you, you rejected the Lord as your king and said to me, "We want a king to rule us.'
13 "Now here is the king you chose; you asked for him, and now the Lord has given him to you. 14 All will go well with you if you honor the Lord your God, serve him, listen to him, and obey his commands, and if you and your king follow him.
15 But if you do not listen to the Lord but disobey his commands, he will be against you and your king.
16 So then, stand where you are, and you will see the great thing which the Lord is going to do. 17 It's the dry season, isn't it? But I will pray, and the Lord will send thunder and rain. When this happens, you will realize that you committed a great sin against the Lord when you asked him for a king."
18 So Samuel prayed, and on that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. Then all the people became afraid of the Lord and of Samuel, 19 and they said to Samuel, "Please, sir, pray to the Lord your God for us, so that we won't die. We now realize that, besides all our other sins, we have sinned by asking for a king."
20 "Don't be afraid," Samuel answered. "Even though you have done such an evil thing, do not turn away from the Lord, but serve him with all your heart. 21 Don't go after false gods; they cannot help you or save you, for they are not real. 22 The Lord has made a solemn promise, and he will not abandon you, for he has decided to make you his own people. 23 As for me, the Lord forbid that I should sin against him by no longer praying for you. Instead, I will teach you what is good and right for you to do. 24 Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.
25 But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be destroyed."
1 Samuel chapter 13 (NLT)
1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty-two years.
2 Saul selected three thousand special troops from the army of Israel and sent the rest of the men home. He took two thousand of the chosen men with him to Micmash and the hill country of Bethel. The other thousand went with Saul's son Jonathan to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.
3 Soon after this, Jonathan attacked and defeated the garrison of Philistines at Geba. The news spread quickly among the Philistines that Israel was in revolt, so Saul sounded the call to arms throughout Israel. 4 He announced that the Philistine garrison at Geba had been destroyed, and he warned the people that the Philistines now hated the Israelites more than ever. So the entire Israelite army mobilized again and met Saul at Gilgal.
5 The Philistines mustered a mighty army of three thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and as many warriors as the grains of sand along the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw the vast number of enemy troops, they lost their nerve entirely and tried to hide in caves, holes, rocks, tombs, and cisterns. 7 Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead. Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 15 When Saul counted the men who were still with him, he found only six hundred left!
19 There were no blacksmiths in the land of Israel in those days. The Philistines wouldn't allow them for fear they would make swords and spears for the Hebrews. 20 So whenever the Israelites needed to sharpen their plowshares, picks, axes, or sickles, they had to take them to a Philistine blacksmith. 21 (The schedule of charges was as follows: a quarter of an ounce of silver for sharpening a plowshare or a pick, and an eighth of an ounce for sharpening an ax, a sickle, or an ox goad.) 22 So none of the people of Israel had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan. 23 The pass at Micmash had meanwhile been secured by a contingent of the Philistine army.
1 Samuel chapter 14 (NLT)
1 One day Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come on, let's go over to where the Philistines have their outpost." But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. 2 Meanwhile, Saul and his six hundred men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. 3 ... No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp.
1 Samuel chapter 14 (TEV)
4 In Michmash Pass, which Jonathan had to go through to get over to the Philistine camp, there were two large jagged rocks, one on each side of the pass: one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5 One was on the north side of the pass, facing Michmash, and the other was on the south side, facing Geba.
6 Jonathan said to the young man, "Let's cross over to the camp of those heathen Philistines. Maybe the Lord will help us; if he does, nothing can keep him from giving us the victory, no matter how few of us there are." 7 The young man answered, "Whatever you want to do, I'm with you."
8 "All right," Jonathan said. "We will go across and let the Philistines see us. 9 If they tell us to wait for them to come to us, then we will stay where we are. 10 But if they tell us to go to them, then we will, because that will be the sign that the Lord has given us victory over them."
11 So they let the Philistines see them, and the Philistines said, "Look! Some Hebrews are coming out of the holes they have been hiding in!" 12 Then they called out to Jonathan and the young man, "Come on up here! We have something to tell you!"
Jonathan said to the young man, "Follow me. The Lord has given Israel victory over them."
13 Jonathan climbed up out of the pass on his hands and knees, and the young man followed him. Jonathan attacked the Philistines and knocked them down, and the young man killed them. 14 In that first slaughter Jonathan and the young man killed about twenty men in an area of about half an acre. 15 All the Philistines in the countryside were terrified; the raiders and the soldiers in the camp trembled with fear; the earth shook, and there was great panic.
16 Saul's men on watch at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin saw the Philistines running in confusion. 17 So Saul said to his men, "Count the soldiers and find out who is missing." They did so and found that Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons were missing. 18 "Bring the ephod here," Saul said to Ahijah the priest. (On that day Ahijah was carrying it in front of the people of Israel.) 19 As Saul was speaking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp kept getting worse, so Saul said to him, "There's no time to consult the Lord!" 20 Then he and his men marched into battle against the Philistines, who were fighting each other in complete confusion. 21 Some Hebrews, who had been on the Philistine side and had gone with them to the camp, changed sides again and joined Saul and Jonathan. 22 Others, who had been hiding in the hills of Ephraim, heard that the Philistines were running away, so they also joined in and attacked the Philistines, 23 fighting all the way beyond Bethaven. The Lord saved Israel that day.
The Bible indicates that under ideal circumstances, God wants people to live in peace. To find out more about the way Christians and ordinary people are instructed to behave when not called upon to participate in defensive wars, visit:
What The Bible Says About Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.
The next file in this section (Part 4), is entitled: "God's Rejection of King Saul for Disobedience and His Choice of David as A Replacement, and Saul's First Plots to Have David Killed".
If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials: