March 27

1 Samuel 3:1 — 6:21

3 All the while the boy Samuel was ministering to Jehovah before Eli, and word from Jehovah had become rare in those days; there was no vision being spread abroad.

2 Now it came about on that day that Eli was lying in his place, and his eyes had begun to grow dim; he was not able to see. 3 And the lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was lying in the temple of Jehovah, where the ark of God was. 4 And Jehovah proceeded to call Samuel. At this he said: “Here I am.” 5 And he went running to Eli and saying: “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said: “I did not call. Lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And Jehovah went on to call yet again: “Samuel!” At this Samuel got up and went to Eli and said: “Here I am, for you did call me.” But he said: “I did not call, my son. Lie down again.” 7 (As regards Samuel, he had not yet come to know Jehovah, and the word of Jehovah had not yet begun to be revealed to him.) 8 So Jehovah called again for the third time: “Samuel!” At that he got up and went to Eli and said: “Here I am, for you must have called me.”

And Eli began to discern that it was Jehovah that was calling the boy. 9 Consequently Eli said to Samuel: “Go, lie down, and it must occur that, if he should call you, you must say, ‘Speak, Jehovah, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then Jehovah came and took his position and called as at the other times: “Samuel, Samuel!” At this Samuel said: “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 And Jehovah went on to say to Samuel: “Look! I am doing something in Israel which if anyone hears about, both his ears will tingle. 12 On that day I shall carry out toward Eli all that I have said respecting his house, from beginning to end. 13 And you must tell him that I am judging his house to time indefinite for the error that he has known, because his sons are calling down evil upon God, and he has not rebuked them. 14 And that is why I have sworn to the house of Eli that the error of the house of Eli will not be brought to exemption from punishment by sacrifice or by offering to time indefinite.”

15 And Samuel continued lying down until the morning. Then he opened the doors of Jehovah’s house. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli of the appearing. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said: “Samuel, my son!” At this he said: “Here I am.” 17 And he went on to say: “What is the word that he has spoken to you? Do not, please, hide it from me. May God do so to you and so may he add to it if you should hide from me a word of all the word that he has spoken to you.” 18 So Samuel told him all the words, and he did not hide anything from him. At that he said: “It is Jehovah. What is good in his eyes let him do.”

19 And Samuel continued growing up, and Jehovah himself proved to be with him and did not cause any of all his words to fall to the earth. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba became aware that Samuel was one accredited for the position of prophet to Jehovah. 21 And Jehovah proceeded to appear again in Shiloh, because Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of Jehovah.

4 And the word of Samuel continued to come to all Israel.

Then Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle; and they took up camping alongside Ebenezer, and the Philistines themselves encamped in Aphek. 2 And the Philistines proceeded to draw up in formation to meet Israel, and the battle went badly, so that Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who went striking down about four thousand men in closed battle line in the field. 3 When the people came to the camp the older men of Israel began to say: “Why did Jehovah defeat us today before the Philistines? Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of Jehovah’s covenant, that it may come into our midst and may save us from the palm of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh and carried from there the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of armies, who is sitting upon the cherubs. And the two sons of Eli were there with the ark of the covenant of the [true] God, namely, Hophni and Phinehas.

5 And it came about that as soon as the ark of the covenant of Jehovah came into the camp, all the Israelites broke out into loud shouting, so that the earth was in a stir. 6 The Philistines also got to hear the sound of the shouting and began saying: “What does the sound of this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Finally they got to know that the ark of Jehovah itself had come into the camp. 7 And the Philistines became afraid, because, they said: “God has come into the camp!” So they said: “Woe to us, for such a thing as this never occurred before! 8 Woe to us! Who will save us from the hand of this majestic God? This is the God that was the smiter of Egypt with every sort of slaughter in the wilderness. 9 Show yourselves courageous and prove yourselves men, YOU Philistines, that YOU may not serve the Hebrews just as they have served YOU; and YOU must prove yourselves men and fight!” 10 Accordingly the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and they went fleeing each one to his tent; and the slaughter came to be very great, so that out of Israel there fell thirty thousand men on foot. 11 And the ark of God itself was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 And a man of Benjamin went running from the battle line so that he arrived at Shiloh on that day with his garments ripped apart and dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on the seat by the roadside, watching, because his heart had become atremble over the ark of the [true] God. And the man himself went in to report in the city, and the whole city began crying out. 14 And Eli got to hear the sound of the outcry. So he said: “What does the sound of this turmoil mean?” And the man himself hurried that he might go in and report to Eli. 15 (Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes had set so that he was unable to see.) 16 And the man proceeded to say to Eli: “I am the one coming from the battle line, and I—it is from the battle line that I have fled today.” At this he said: “What is the thing that has happened, my son?” 17 So the news bearer answered and said: “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also occurred a great defeat among the people; and also your own two sons have died—Hophni and Phinehas—and the very ark of the [true] God has been captured.”

18 And it came about that at the moment that he mentioned the ark of the [true] God, he began to fall from the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck got broken so that he died, because the man was old and heavy; and he himself had judged Israel forty years. 19 And his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant near to giving birth, and she got to hear the report that the ark of the [true] God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband had died. At that she bowed herself and began giving birth, because her pangs came unexpectedly upon her. 20 And about the time of her death, the women standing by her began to speak: “Do not be afraid, because it is a son that you have borne.” And she did not answer and did not set her heart on it. 21 But she called the boy Ichabod, saying: “Glory has gone away from Israel into exile,” [this] with reference to the ark of the [true] God’s being captured and with reference to her father-in-law and her husband. 22 So she said: “Glory has gone away from Israel into exile, because the ark of the [true] God has been captured.”

5 As for the Philistines, they took the ark of the [true] God and then brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 And the Philistines proceeded to take the ark of the [true] God and bring it into the house of Dagon and station it beside Dagon. 3 Then the Ashdodites got up early the very next day, and there Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of Jehovah. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place. 4 When they got up early in the morning the very day after, there Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of Jehovah, with the head of Dagon and the palms of both his hands cut off, to the threshold. Only the fish part had been left upon him. 5 That is why the priests of Dagon and all those going into the house of Dagon do not tread upon the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod down to this day.

6 And the hand of Jehovah came to be heavy upon the Ashdodites, and he began causing panic and striking them with piles, namely, Ashdod and its territories. 7 And the men of Ashdod came to see that it was so, and they said: “Do not let the ark of the God of Israel dwell with us, because his hand has been hard against us and against Dagon our god.” 8 Consequently they sent and gathered all the axis lords of the Philistines to them and said: “What shall we do to the ark of the God of Israel?” Finally they said: “Toward Gath let the ark of the God of Israel go around.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel around to there.

9 And it came about that after they had brought it around to there, the hand of Jehovah came to be upon the city with a very great confusion, and he began striking the men of the city, from small to great, and piles began breaking out on them. 10 Hence they sent the ark of the [true] God to Ekron. And it came about that as soon as the ark of the [true] God came to Ekron, the Ekronites began to cry out, saying: “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel around to me to put me and my people to death!” 11 Consequently they sent and gathered all the axis lords of the Philistines and said: “SEND the ark of the God of Israel away that it may return to its place and may not put me and my people to death.” For a death-dealing confusion had occurred in the whole city; the hand of the [true] God had been very heavy there, 12 and the men that did not die had been struck with piles. And the cry of the city for help kept ascending to the heavens.

6 And the ark of Jehovah proved to be in the field of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines proceeded to call the priests and the diviners, saying: “What shall we do with the ark of Jehovah? Let us know with what we should send it away to its place.” 3 To this they said: “If YOU are sending the ark of the God of Israel away, do not send it away without an offering, for YOU should by all means return to him a guilt offering. Then it is that YOU will be healed, and it must become known to YOU why his hand would not turn away from YOU.” 4 At this they said: “What is the guilt offering that we ought to return to him?” Then they said: “According to the number of the axis lords of the Philistines, five golden piles and five golden jerboas, for every one of YOU and YOUR axis lords have the same scourge. 5 And YOU must make images of YOUR piles and images of YOUR jerboas that are bringing the land to ruin, and YOU must give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off YOU and YOUR god and YOUR land. 6 Also, why should YOU make YOUR heart unresponsive just the way Egypt and Pharaoh made their heart unresponsive? Was it not as soon as He dealt severely with them that they proceeded to send them away, and they went their way? 7 And now take and make a new wagon, and two cows that are giving suck, upon which no yoke has come up, and YOU must hitch the cows to the wagon, and YOU must make their young ones go back home from following them. 8 And YOU must take the ark of Jehovah and place it on the wagon, and the golden articles that YOU must return to him as a guilt offering YOU should put into a box at the side of it. And YOU must send it away, and it must go. 9 And YOU must look: if it is the road to its territory that it goes up, to Beth-shemesh, it is he that has done to us this great evil; but if not, we must know that it was not his hand that touched us; an accident it was that happened to us.”

10 And the men proceeded to do accordingly. So they took two cows that were giving suck and hitched them to the wagon, and their young ones they shut up at home. 11 Then they put the ark of Jehovah upon the wagon, and also the box and the golden jerboas and the images of their piles. 12 And the cows began to go straight ahead on the road to Beth-shemesh. On the one highway they went, lowing as they went, and they did not turn aside to the right or to the left. All the while the axis lords of the Philistines were walking after them as far as the boundary of Beth-shemesh. 13 And people of Beth-shemesh were reaping the wheat harvest in the low plain. When they raised their eyes and saw the Ark, they gave way to rejoicing at seeing it. 14 And the wagon itself came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and kept standing there, where there was a large stone. And they went splitting up the wood of the wagon, and the cows they offered up as a burnt offering to Jehovah.

15 And the Levites themselves took the ark of Jehovah down and the box that was with it, in which the golden articles were, and they proceeded to put it upon the large stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh, for their part, offered up burnt offerings, and they continued rendering up sacrifices on that day to Jehovah.

16 And the five axis lords of the Philistines themselves saw it and went their way back to Ekron on that day. 17 Now these are the golden piles that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to Jehovah: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one. 18 And the golden jerboas were to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five axis lords, from the fortified city to the village of the open country.

And the great stone upon which they rested the ark of Jehovah is a witness down to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite. 19 And he went striking down the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked upon the ark of Jehovah. So he struck down among the people seventy men—fifty thousand men—and the people began mourning because Jehovah had struck down the people with a great slaughter. 20 Further, the men of Beth-shemesh said: “Who will be able to stand before Jehovah this holy God, and to whom will he withdraw from off us?” 21 Finally they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying: “The Philistines have returned the ark of Jehovah. Come down. Take it up to yourselves.”