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Samuel the Prophet

1 Samuel 3:1-4:22
1 Samuel 3:1-4:22
1 Samuel 3:1-4:22
1 Samuel 3:1-4:22

1 Samuel 3-4

3:1 Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

4:1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

The Lord Speaks to Samuel

1-2 Samuel served the Lord by helping Eli the priest, who was by that time almost blind. In those days, the Lord hardly ever spoke directly to people, and he did not appear to them in dreams very often. But one night, Eli was asleep in his room, 3 and Samuel was sleeping on a mat near the sacred chest in the Lord's house. They had not been asleep very long 4 when the Lord called out Samuel's name.

“Here I am!” Samuel answered. 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

“I didn't call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel went back.

6 Again the Lord called out Samuel's name. Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “What do you want?”

Eli told him, “Son, I didn't call you. Go back to sleep.”

7 The Lord had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice. 8 When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”

Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel. 9 So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I'm listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’ ”

Once again Samuel went back and lay down.

10 The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

“I'm listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?”

11 The Lord said:

Samuel, I am going to do something in Israel that will shock everyone who hears about it! 12 I will punish Eli and his family, just as I promised. 13 He knew that his sons refused to respect me, and he let them get away with it, even though I said I would punish his family forever. 14 I warned Eli that sacrifices or offerings could never make things right! His family has done too many disgusting things.

15 The next morning, Samuel got up and opened the doors to the Lord's house. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said. 16 But Eli told him, “Samuel, my boy, come here!”

“Yes, sir!” Samuel answered.

17 Eli said, “What did God say to you? Tell me everything. I'll ask God to punish you terribly if you don't tell me every word he said!”

18 Samuel told Eli everything. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord, and he will do what's right.”

The Lord Helps Samuel

19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord helped him and made everything Samuel said come true. 20 From the town of Dan in the north to the town of Beersheba in the south, everyone in the country knew that Samuel was truly the Lord's prophet. 21 The Lord often appeared to Samuel at Shiloh and told him what to say.

1 Then Samuel would speak to the whole nation of Israel.

The Philistines Capture the Sacred Chest

One day the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines. They set up camp near Ebenezer, and the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines made a fierce attack. They defeated the Israelites and killed about 4,000 of them.

3 The Israelite army returned to their camp, and the leaders said, “Why did the Lord let us lose to the Philistines today? Let's get the sacred chest where the Lord's agreement with Israel is kept. Then the Lord will help us and rescue us from our enemies.”

4 The army sent some soldiers to bring back the sacred chest from Shiloh, because the Lord All-Powerful has his throne on the winged creatures on top of the chest.

As Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, 5 brought the chest into camp, the army cheered so loudly that the ground shook. 6 The Philistines heard the noise and said, “What are those Hebrews shouting about?”

When the Philistines learned that the sacred chest had been brought into the camp, 7 they were scared to death and said:

The gods have come into their camp. Now we're in real trouble! Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. 8 We're in big trouble! Who can save us from these powerful gods? They're the same gods who made all those horrible things happen to the Egyptians in the desert.

9 Philistines, be brave and fight hard! If you don't, those Hebrews will rule us, just as we've been ruling them. Fight and don't be afraid.

10 The Philistines did fight. They killed 30,000 Israelite soldiers, and all the rest ran off to their homes. 11 Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and the sacred chest was captured.

Eli Dies

12 That same day a soldier from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefront to Shiloh. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show his sorrow. 13 He went into town and told the news about the battle, and everyone started crying.

Eli was afraid that something might happen to the sacred chest. So he was sitting on his chair beside the road, just waiting. 14-15 He was 98 years old and blind, but he could hear everyone crying, and he asked, “What's all that noise?”

The soldier hurried over and told Eli, 16 “I escaped from the fighting today and ran here.”

“Young man, what happened?” Eli asked.

17 “Israel ran away from the Philistines,” the soldier answered. “Many of our people were killed, including your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. But worst of all, the sacred chest was captured.”

18 Eli was still sitting on a chair beside the wall of the town gate. And when the man said that the Philistines had taken the sacred chest, Eli fell backwards. He was a very heavy old man, and the fall broke his neck and killed him. He had been a leader of Israel for 40 years.

19 The wife of Phinehas was about to give birth. And soon after she heard that the sacred chest had been captured and that her husband and his father had died, her baby came. The birth was very hard, 20 and she was dying. But the women taking care of her said, “Don't be afraid—it's a boy!”

She didn't pay any attention to them. 21-22 Instead she kept thinking about losing her husband and her father-in-law. So she said, “My son will be named Ichabod, because the glory of Israel left our country when the sacred chest was captured.”

The Lord Appears to Samuel

1 In those days, when the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under the direction of Eli, there were very few messages from the Lord, and visions from him were quite rare. 2 One night Eli, who was now almost blind, was sleeping in his own room; 3 Samuel was sleeping in the sanctuary, where the sacred Covenant Box was. Before dawn, while the lamp was still burning, 4 the Lord called Samuel. He answered, “Yes, sir!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

But Eli answered, “I didn't call you; go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.

6-7 The Lord called Samuel again. The boy did not know that it was the Lord, because the Lord had never spoken to him before. So he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

But Eli answered, “My son, I didn't call you; go back to bed.”

8 The Lord called Samuel a third time; he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, 9 so he said to him, “Go back to bed; and if he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 The Lord came and stood there, and called as he had before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Speak; your servant is listening.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Some day I am going to do something to the people of Israel that is so terrible that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 12 On that day I will carry out all my threats against Eli's family, from beginning to end. 13 I have already told him that I am going to punish his family forever because his sons have spoken evil things against me. Eli knew they were doing this, but he did not stop them. 14 So I solemnly declare to the family of Eli that no sacrifice or offering will ever be able to remove the consequences of this terrible sin.”

15 Samuel stayed in bed until morning; then he got up and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision. 16 Eli called him, “Samuel, my boy!”

“Yes, sir,” answered Samuel.

17 “What did the Lord tell you?” Eli asked. “Don't keep anything from me. God will punish you severely if you don't tell me everything he said.” 18 So Samuel told him everything; he did not keep anything back. Eli said, “He is the Lord; he will do whatever seems best to him.”

19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and made come true everything that Samuel said. 20 So all the people of Israel, from one end of the country to the other, knew that Samuel was indeed a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to reveal himself at Shiloh, where he had appeared to Samuel and had spoken to him. And when Samuel spoke, all Israel listened.

The Capture of the Covenant Box

1 At that time the Philistines gathered to go to war against Israel, so the Israelites set out to fight them. The Israelites set up their camp at Ebenezer and the Philistines at Aphek. 2 The Philistines attacked, and after fierce fighting they defeated the Israelites and killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3 When the survivors came back to camp, the leaders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let the Philistines defeat us today? Let's go and bring the Lord's Covenant Box from Shiloh, so that he will go with us and save us from our enemies.” 4 So they sent messengers to Shiloh and got the Covenant Box of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned above the winged creatures. And Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, came along with the Covenant Box.

5 When the Covenant Box arrived, the Israelites gave such a loud shout of joy that the earth shook. 6 The Philistines heard the shouting and said, “Listen to all that shouting in the Hebrew camp! What does it mean?” When they found out that the Lord's Covenant Box had arrived in the Hebrew camp, 7 they were afraid, and said, “A god has come into their camp! We're lost! Nothing like this has ever happened to us before! 8 Who can save us from those powerful gods? They are the gods who slaughtered the Egyptians in the desert! 9 Be brave, Philistines! Fight like men, or we will become slaves to the Hebrews, just as they were our slaves. So fight like men!”

10 The Philistines fought hard and defeated the Israelites, who went running to their homes. There was a great slaughter: thirty thousand Israelite soldiers were killed. 11 God's Covenant Box was captured, and Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were both killed.

The Death of Eli

12 A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran all the way from the battlefield to Shiloh and arrived there the same day. To show his grief, he had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head. 13 Eli, who was very worried about the Covenant Box, was sitting in his seat beside the road, staring. The man spread the news throughout the town, and everyone cried out in fear. 14 Eli heard the noise and asked, “What is all this noise about?” The man hurried to Eli to tell him the news. ( 15 Eli was now ninety-eight years old and almost completely blind.) 16 The man said, “I have escaped from the battle and have run all the way here today.”

Eli asked him, “What happened, my son?”

17 The messenger answered, “Israel ran away from the Philistines; it was a terrible defeat for us! Besides that, your sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and God's Covenant Box was captured!”

18 When the man mentioned the Covenant Box, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He was so old and fat that the fall broke his neck, and he died. He had been a leader in Israel for forty years.

The Death of the Widow of Phinehas

19 Eli's daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, and it was almost time for her baby to be born. When she heard that God's Covenant Box had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she suddenly went into labor and gave birth. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her said to her, “Be brave! You have a son!” But she paid no attention and did not answer. 21 She named the boy Ichabod, explaining, “God's glory has left Israel”—referring to the capture of the Covenant Box and the death of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 “God's glory has left Israel,” she said, “because God's Covenant Box has been captured.”

The Call of Samuel

3:1 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent.

2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am!” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.”

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place.

10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Look! I am about to do something in Israel; when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle. 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I spoke about his house – from start to finish! 13 You should tell him that I am about to judge his house forever because of the sin that he knew about. For his sons were cursing God, and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I swore an oath to the house of Eli, ‘The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.’”

15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision. 16 However, Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.” 17 Eli said, “What message did he speak to you? Don’t conceal it from me. God will judge you severely if you conceal from me anything that he said to you!”

18 So Samuel told him everything. He did not hold back anything from him. Eli said, “The Lord will do what he pleases.” 19 Samuel continued to grow, and the Lord was with him. None of his prophecies fell to the ground unfulfilled. 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba realized that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord again appeared in Shiloh, for it was in Shiloh that the Lord had revealed himself to Samuel through the word of the Lord. 4:1 Samuel revealed the word of the Lord to all Israel.

The Ark of the Covenant is Lost to the Philistines

Then the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines. They camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines arranged their forces to fight Israel. As the battle spread out, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men in the battle line in the field.

3 When the army came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let us be defeated today by the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us from the hand of our enemies.

4 So the army sent to Shiloh, and they took from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits between the cherubim. Now the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5 When the ark of the covenant of the Lord arrived at the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the ground shook.

6 When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout, they said, “What is this loud shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they realized that the ark of the Lord had arrived at the camp. 7 The Philistines were scared because they thought that gods had come to the camp. They said, “Too bad for us! We’ve never seen anything like this! 8 Too bad for us! Who can deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all sorts of plagues in the desert! 9 Be strong and act like men, you Philistines, or else you will wind up serving the Hebrews the way they have served you! Act like men and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated; they all ran home. The slaughter was very great; thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in battle. 11 The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were killed.

Eli Dies

12 On that day a Benjaminite ran from the battle lines and came to Shiloh. His clothes were torn and dirt was on his head. 13 When he arrived in Shiloh, Eli was sitting in his chair watching by the side of the road, for he was very worried about the ark of God. As the man entered the city to give his report, the whole city cried out.

14 When Eli heard the outcry, he said, “What is this commotion?” The man quickly came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes looked straight ahead; he was unable to see.

16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle lines! Just today I fled from the battle lines!” Eli asked, “How did things go, my son?” 17 The messenger replied, “Israel has fled from the Philistines! The army has suffered a great defeat! Your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are dead! The ark of God has been captured!”

18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his chair beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and heavy. He had judged Israel for forty years.

19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas, was pregnant and close to giving birth. When she heard that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she doubled over and gave birth. But her labor pains were too much for her. 20 As she was dying, the women who were there with her said, “Don’t be afraid! You have given birth to a son!” But she did not reply or pay any attention.

21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” referring to the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been captured.”

The Creation
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
The Great Flood
The Tower of Babel
God Calls Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah
Abraham's Obedience
Isaac Marries Rebekah
Esau's Birthright
Isaac Blesses Jacob
Jacob and Laban
Jacob Wrestles
Revenge against Shechem
Joseph in Prison
Joseph as a Ruler
Family Reunion
Moses' Birth
The Burning Bush
The Ten Plagues
The Exodus
The Red Sea
The Gold Calf
Exploring the Land
Rebellion in the Ranks
Balak and Balaam
Rahab and the Spies
Jericho Falls
Gibeon's Con Artists
Deborah and Barak
Gideon as Judge
Abimelech's Ambition
Samson as Judge
Ruth, Naomi and Boaz
Samuel is Born
Samuel the Prophet
Saul Becomes King
Jonathan's Bravery
Saul's Disobedience
David Kills Goliath
David and Jonathan
Nabal and Abigail
Saul's Death
David's Success
David and Bathsheba
Amnon and Tamar
Absalom
Solomon's Wisdom
Jeroboam and Rehoboam
Elijah's Challenge
God Speaks to Elijah
Micaiah the Prophet
Chariot of Fire
Elisha Heals Naaman
Famine and Unbelief
Joash and Jehoiada
Hezekiah Trusts God
Josiah's Reign
Fall of Jerusalem
David's Power
David's Census
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
Ezra Rebuilds the Altar
Nehemiah Builds the Wall
Enemy Opposition
Nehemiah's Justice
Esther Saves the Jews
Job is Tested
Ezekiel's Vision
The Fiery Furnace
The Lions' Den
Jonah
Jesus is Born
Wise Men and King Herod
Jesus is Tempted
Jesus Feeds 5,000
The Bread of Life
Jesus Walks on Water
The Good Samaritan
The Lost Son
Jesus Raises Lazarus
Jesus and Zacchaeus
The Triumphal Entry
The Last Supper
Jesus' Trial
Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus' Resurrection
Jesus' Ascension
The Holy Spirit Comes
The Apostles' Courage
Ananias and Sapphira
Philip and the Eunuch
Saul Encounters Jesus
Peter and Cornelius
Paul in Corinth
Paul in Ephesus
Paul Goes to Rome