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1 Samuel 1–4

Current version: ESV – English Standard Version – English

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1 Samuel 1

1There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.
2He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD.
4On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.
5But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb.
6And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.
7So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.
8And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
9After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.
10She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
11And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
13Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.
14And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”
15But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.
16Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
17Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
18And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.
20And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.”
21The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow.
22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever.”
23Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the LORD establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.
24And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young.
25Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.
26And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD.
27For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.
28Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 2

1And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
2“There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
3Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.
5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.
6The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
8He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and on them he has set the world.
9“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.
10The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.”
11Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy ministered to the LORD in the presence of Eli the priest.
12Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD.
13The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand,
14and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.
15Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.”
16And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.”
17Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.
18Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.
19And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the LORD.” So then they would return to their home.
21Indeed the LORD visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the young man Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD.
22Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
23And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people.
24No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad.
25If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.
26Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man.
27And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the LORD has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh?
28Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel.
29Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’
30Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.
32Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever.
33The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.
34And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day.
35And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.
36And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.” ’ ”

1 Samuel 3

1Now 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.
2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place.
3The 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.
4Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!”
5and 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.
6And 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.”
7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8And 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.
9Therefore 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.
10And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
11Then 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.
12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
13And 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.
14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
15Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.
16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.”
17And 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.”
18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.”
19And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
20And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.
21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

1 Samuel 4

1And 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.
2The 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.
3And 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.”
4So 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.
5As 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.
6And 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,
7the 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.
8Woe 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.
9Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”
10So 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.
11And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
12A 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.
13When 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.
14When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli.
15Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see.
16And 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?”
17He 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.”
18As 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.
19Now 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.
20And 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.
21And 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.
22And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”