1 Sam 3-5; Psalm 23; Acts 6
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
1 Sam 3-5
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.
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, ”Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, ”Speak, for your servant hears.”
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.
On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
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.
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.”
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.
But Eli called Samuel and said, ”Samuel, my son.” And he said, ”Here I am.”
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.”
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.”
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.
And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
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.”
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.
And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
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.
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.
When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, ”What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli.
Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see.
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?”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
And she said, ”The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon.
And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place.
But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.
This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.
And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, ”The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.”
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, ”What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, ”Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there.
But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them.
So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, ”They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.”
They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, ”Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there.
The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ”It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.
But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
Then they secretly instigated men who said, ”We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council,
and they set up false witnesses who said, ”This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law,
for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”
And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.