1 Sam 6-8; Acts 7
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
1 Sam 6-8
The ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, ”What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.”
They said, ”If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand does not turn away from you.”
And they said, ”What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, ”Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords.
So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land.
Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed?
Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them.
And take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way
and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”
The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home.
And they put the ark of the LORD on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors.
And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it.
The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.
And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the LORD.
And when the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.
These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the LORD: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron,
and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone beside which they set down the ark of the LORD is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the LORD. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the LORD had struck the people with a great blow.
Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, ”Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?”
So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, ”The Philistines have returned the ark of the LORD. Come down and take it up to you.”
And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the LORD.
From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, ”If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
Then Samuel said, ”Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.”
So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the LORD and fasted on that day and said there, ”We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
And the people of Israel said to Samuel, ”Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. And Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him.
As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel.
And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ”Till now the LORD has helped us.”
So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places.
Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the LORD.
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel.
The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.
Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, ”Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ”Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
And the LORD said to Samuel, ”Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.
According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.
Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him.
He said, ”These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.
He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.
He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.
And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, ”No! But there shall be a king over us,
that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD.
And the LORD said to Samuel, ”Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, ”Go every man to his city.”
And the high priest said, ”Are these things so?”
And Stephen said:”Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’
Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.
Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child.
And God spoke to this effect–that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.
But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’
And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
‘And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him
and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.
Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit.
And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh.
And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers,
and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
‘But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt
until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph.
He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive.
At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house,
and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
‘When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.
And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.
He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.
And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’
But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?
Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’
At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
‘Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.
When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord:
I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look.
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
‘This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’–this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.
This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’
This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.
Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt,
saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’
And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.
But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ”’Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’
‘Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.
Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David,
who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
”Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’
‘You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
And he said, ”Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.
Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ”Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ”Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.