The King who did not Obey God

An EasyEnglish Bible Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) on the Book of 1 Samuel

Words in boxes are comments on the text.

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.


About 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were once one book. Then men made this book into two separate parts. The name of the book is from the first important person in this book. He was Samuel the *prophet. But Samuel died before the end of the book.

Someone wrote the book after King Solomon had died. He died 930 years before Christ was born. After Solomon died, God made the country called *Israel into two countries, *Israel and *Judah. The country called Judah included the *tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (See 1 Kings 12:1-24.)

The *Israelites called their leaders ‘*judges’. They were leaders of the *Israelites for about 350 years after Joshua’s death. Samuel was the last of the judges. He was also a *prophet. Samuel *anointed Saul to be the first king of *Israel. But Saul did not obey God. So God chose another king, David, who would obey him. 1 Samuel tells us about Saul’s death at the end of the book. 2 Samuel records the life of David as king.

Chapter 1

Elkanah and his family go to Shiloh

v1 There was a man whose name was Elkanah. He lived in the town called Ramathaim-zophim (Ramah). This town was in the hills. It was in a place that God had given to Ephraim’s *tribe. Elkanah was the son of Jeroham. Jeroham was the son of Elihu. Elihu was the son of Tohu. Tohu was the son of Zuph. Zuph was in the *tribe of Ephraim. v2 Elkanah had two wives. One wife was called Hannah and the other wife was called Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah did not have any children.

v3 Every year, Elkanah left Ramathaim and he went up to the town called Shiloh. He went there to *worship. There he gave *sacrifices to God, the most powerful *Lord. Hophni and Phinehas were *priests to the *Lord at Shiloh. Eli was their father. v4 Elkanah gave his *sacrifices to God. Then he gave a part of the meat to Peninnah and to her sons and daughters. v5 Elkanah loved Hannah. But she had no children because the *Lord had not let her have children. So Elkanah always gave twice as much meat to Hannah.

v6 Peninnah was not kind to Hannah. She said things that would cause Hannah to feel sad. She did this because God had not given any children to Hannah. Then Hannah became sad. v7 This happened every year when they went to the *Lord’s house in Shiloh. Peninnah would say bad things to Hannah to cause her to cry. Then Hannah would not eat anything. v8 Hannah’s husband, Elkanah said to her, ‘I do not know why you are crying. I do not know why you are not eating. You should not be sad. I am better than 10 sons.’

*Israelite men had to go to a special place to give *sacrifices to God three times every year (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 12:5-7). This place was in Shiloh at this time. The *Israelites met God there. Shiloh was about 24 kilometres (15 miles) east of Ramah.

Hannah and Eli

v9 One day they were at Shiloh. They had finished eating and drinking. Hannah stood up. Eli the *priest was sitting by the door of the *Lord’s *temple. v10 Hannah was very, very sad. She cried very much and she prayed to the *Lord. v11 And she said a promise to God. She prayed, ‘You are the most powerful *Lord. See how sad I am. I am your servant. Remember me and do not forget me. Please give a son to me. If you do that, I will give him back to you for all of his life. Nobody will ever cut his hair.’

‘Nobody will ever cut his hair.’ This is a mark of the *Nazirite promise (Numbers 6:1-21). The person promised to give his life to God.

v12 Hannah continued to pray to the *Lord. Eli watched her mouth while it moved. v13 Hannah was praying inside herself. Her lips moved but Eli could not hear her voice. So he thought that she had drunk too much alcohol. v14 He said to her, ‘Stop drinking so much. Put away your *wine.’ v15 Hannah said to Eli, ‘No, sir, I have not drunk *wine or strong drink. I have trouble deep inside myself. I told the *Lord all about my problems. v16 Please do not think that I am a bad woman. I am praying here because I am sad. And I feel bad inside.’

v17 Eli answered Hannah and he said, ‘Go and let your mind rest. I ask the God of *Israel to give to you the thing that you asked him for.’ v18 Hannah said, ‘I will try always to do the things that will cause you pleasure.’ Then Hannah went away and she ate something. Her face was not sad now.

v19 Elkanah and his family got up early the next morning. They *worshipped the *Lord. Then they went to their home at Ramah. Elkanah had sex with his wife Hannah. And God remembered what she had asked him for. v20 Hannah discovered that she would soon have a baby. She had a son and she called him Samuel. She said, ‘His name is Samuel because I asked the *Lord for him.’

The name Samuel means ‘God’s gift’.

Hannah gives Samuel to God

v21 Every year Elkanah went to Shiloh to give *sacrifices. And he did what he had promised to the *Lord. His family went too. v22 But Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, ‘I will not go until the boy is older. When he can eat proper food, I will take him to the house of the *Lord at Shiloh. I will give him to the *Lord and he will live there for all his life.’ v23 Elkanah said to Hannah, ‘You must do what seems right to you. Stay here until the boy begins to eat proper food. The *Lord will help you do this.’ So, Hannah stayed at her home with her son until he drank no more milk from her.

v24 When Samuel was eating proper food, Hannah took him to Shiloh. She took him to the *Lord’s house there. She took a male cow that was three years old. She also took a big bag of flour and a leather bag full of *wine. Samuel was still young. v25 They killed the male cow for the *sacrifice. Then Hannah took Samuel to Eli. v26 Hannah spoke to Eli. ‘Please believe me sir. I am the woman that was standing here. You saw me here. I was praying to the *Lord. v27 I prayed for this boy and the *Lord answered me. The *Lord gave to me what I asked him for. v28 Now I give this child back to the *Lord. He will work for the *Lord all of his life.’ And Samuel *worshipped the *Lord there.

Chapter 2

v1 Hannah prayed and she said,

            ‘I am very happy when I think about the *Lord.

            The *Lord has made me very strong.

            I can say that I am stronger than my *enemies.

            I am happy because you, *Lord, have saved me.

v2        Nobody else is *holy like the *Lord.

            There is no other God except you.

            You are the only powerful God.

v3        You people must not say that you are very great.

            Stop saying that you are important.

            The *Lord is a God who knows everything.

            And he knows whether people are doing good things or bad things.

v4        The bows of strong soldiers break.

            But people who fall will become strong.

v5        Now the people who had plenty of food have to work for it.

            But the people who were hungry are not hungry any longer.

            The woman who could not have any children now has 7 children.

            But the woman who had many children has become weak.

v6        The *Lord kills people. And he makes people alive.

            He causes people to die. And he raises people up.

v7        The *Lord makes some people poor and he makes other people rich.

            He makes some people not important and he makes other people great.

v8        The *Lord raises up the poor people from the ground.

            He lifts up the people who need help.

            He lets poor people be friends with king’s sons.

            And he puts poor people in places of *honour.

            The deep places of the earth are the *Lord’s.

            He built the world on them.

v9        He saves the people who obey him.

            But he keeps bad people quiet in dark places.

            Men will not win wars only because they are strong.

v10      The *Lord will beat his enemies completely.

            His voice against them is like the noise of a storm from the sky.

            The *Lord will be the *judge of all the earth.

            He will give power to his king.

            He will *anoint a king and he will make him strong.’

v11 Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But Samuel stayed in Shiloh. He lived with Eli the *priest and he became God’s servant.

Eli’s bad sons

v12 But the sons of Eli were very bad men. They did not give *honour to the *Lord.

v13 People brought *sacrifices to Shiloh. And this is what these *priests did. People boiled their meat in a pot. A *priest’s servant went to the pot. v14 He pushed a fork into the pot. And the *priest kept whatever came out on the fork. They did that to all the *Israelites when they came to Shiloh. v15 Often, the servant of the *priest came to the people before they had burned the fat meat from the *sacrifice. The servant said, ‘Give to the *priest some meat to bake. He will not accept meat that you have boiled. He will only accept meat that is fresh.’ v16 Sometimes, the person said, ‘You must burn the fat meat first. Then you can take what you want.’ The servant would reply, ‘No. Give the meat to me now. If you do not give it to me, I will take it from you.’

v17 The *Lord saw what the young men did. They thought that the people’s *sacrifices to the *Lord were not important. The *Lord saw that their *sin was very bad.

Samuel at Shiloh

v18 But Samuel was the *Lord’s servant. He was a young boy. He wore an *ephod (a *linen coat). v19 Every year, Samuel’s mother made a little coat for him. She took it to him when she went to Shiloh. She and her husband went there every year to give their *sacrifice to God. v20 Then Eli *blessed Elkanah and his wife. He said, ‘Hannah prayed for a son and then she gave him back to the *Lord. I pray that the *Lord will give children to you and Hannah to take the place of Samuel.’ Then they returned to their own home. v21 The *Lord was good to Hannah. She had three more sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up in the house of the *Lord.

v22 Eli was very old now. People told him about everything that his sons did in all Israel. Eli’s sons had sex with some women servants. Those women worked at the door of the *Lord’s house. v23 Eli said to his sons, ‘I do not know why you do these *evil things. People have told me what you do. v24 No, my sons, the *Lord’s people all give a bad report to me about you. v25 If you do something bad to another person, God can help you. But if you do something against the *Lord, nobody can ask him to help you.’ Eli’s sons did not listen to him because the *Lord had decided to kill them.

v26 The boy Samuel continued to grow bigger. And he continued to give pleasure to the *Lord and to the people.

The *priests wore special white *linen clothes when they were in God’s house. An *ephod was like a coat. *Linen was a strong kind of cloth.

The *prophecy against Eli’s family

v27 A man of God came and he spoke to Eli. This is what he said: ‘The *Lord says, “A long time ago your *ancestors lived in Egypt. They were slaves to the king of Egypt. I showed myself to your *ancestor Aaron. v28 I chose him and his family from all of the *tribes in *Israel. I chose them to be *priests. They go up to my *altar to burn *incense. They can wear the special *ephod. I also let them eat part of the *sacrifices and *burnt offerings that the *Israelites give. v29 I said that my people must give these *sacrifices and *offerings to me in my house. You should not want them for yourself. Eli, you give more *honour to your sons than you give to me. You eat all the best parts of the *offerings that the *Israelites give to me. So you and your sons have become fat.”

v30 Because of what you have done, the *Lord God of *Israel says this to you: “I promised your family and your *ancestors that they would be my *priests for all time.” But the *Lord says, “That will not happen now. If people give *honour to me, I will give *honour to them. But some people may think that I am worth nothing. I will give no *honour to those people. v31 It will be the time soon when you will die. Also, I will let men kill the young men in your family. Nobody in your family will ever become old.

v32 I will cause trouble for the *Lord’s house. I will do good things for (on behalf of) the *Israelites, but there will never be an old man in your family. v33 But I will not completely stop your family working for me at my *altar. Some of them will continue to be my servants. But you will cry and you will be sad. All your family will die when they are young. v34 Hophni and Phinehas, your two sons, will die on the same day. That will show everyone that I have spoken only true words.

v35 I will choose a *priest. And he will always do the things that give pleasure to me. He will do everything that I want him to do. I will cause his family to continue. They will always be the servants of the man that I *anoint. v36 Everyone in your family who continues to live will bend his body down to this *priest. They will have to ask him for food and money. ‘Please let me help the *priests so that I can have a loaf of bread to eat’, they will say”.’

Verse 27 ‘Man of God’ is another name for a *prophet. A *prophet hears God and he speaks on God’s behalf. We do not know the name of this *prophet but he came with a very important message about future events.

Chapter 3

The *Lord chooses Samuel

v1 The boy Samuel became the *Lord’s servant. Eli the *priest taught him. In those days, the *Lord did not often speak to people. And he did not give many dreams to them.

v2 Eli now had bad eyes and he could not see well. One night, he was lying down to sleep in his usual place. v3 The *lamp of God was still burning. Samuel was lying down to sleep in the house of the *Lord. He was near the *covenant box. v4 Then the *Lord said Samuel’s name. Samuel said, ‘Here I am.’ v5 He ran to Eli and he said, ‘You said my name. Here I am.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not say your name. Lie down again.’ So Samuel lay down again. v6 Again the *Lord said, ‘Samuel’. Samuel went to Eli and said, ‘You said my name. Here I am.’ Eli answered, ‘My son, I did not say your name. Lie down again.’

v7 Samuel did not know the *Lord yet. He had not yet heard the *Lord’s voice. v8 Then the *Lord said Samuel’s name for the third time. Samuel got up. He went to Eli and he said, ‘You said my name. Here I am.’ Then Eli knew that the *Lord was saying the boy’s name. v9 So Eli said to Samuel, ‘Lie down again. If he says your name again, you must say, “Speak, *Lord. I am your servant and I am listening”.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

v10 The *Lord came and he stood there. He said Samuel’s name as he had done before. He said, ‘Samuel, Samuel’. Samuel said, ‘I am your servant and I am listening.’

v11 This is what the *Lord said to Samuel: ‘I will do something among the *Israelite people. It will make everyone that people tell about it afraid. v12 I will do everything to Eli and his family that I have said. I will start at the beginning and I will go on to the end. v13 I told Eli that I would *punish his family for all time. Eli knew that his sons were doing very bad things. He knew that they would cause me to *punish them. But he still let them do those things. v14 So I decided to show them that I was very angry. I said to Eli’s family, “I will never *forgive you because you have done these things. Even if you give *sacrifices and *offerings they will never take away your *sins”.’

v15 Samuel lay down until the morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the *Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli about the *vision. v16 But Eli *called Samuel and he said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ v17 Eli asked, ‘What did the *Lord say to you? You must tell me. Do not keep it a secret. If you do keep it a secret, God will *punish you. You must tell me everything that he said to you.’ v18 So Samuel told Eli everything. He did not hide any of it. Then Eli said, ‘He is the *Lord. He will do what is right.’

v19 The *Lord was with Samuel while he grew up. The *Lord made sure that all of Samuel’s messages from him became true. v20 All the *Israelites knew that Samuel was a true *prophet from the *Lord. All the people from Dan (the north of the country) to Beersheba (the south) knew it. v21 The *Lord continued to appear at Shiloh. He showed himself to Samuel and he spoke to him there.

Chapter 4

The *Philistines take God’s *covenant box

v1 When Samuel spoke, all the *Israelites listened to him.

The *Israelites went out to fight against the *Philistine people. The *Israelite army had their *tents near the place called Ebenezer. The *Philistine army was in the town called Aphek. v2 The *Philistines went out to fight the *Israelites. While they fought, the *Philistines won the fight with the *Israelites. The *Philistines killed about 4000 *Israelites in the fight. v3 The *Israelite soldiers returned to their *tents. The leaders of *Israel said, ‘We do not know why the *Lord let the *Philistines win today. We will bring the *Lord’s *covenant box here from Shiloh. We will take it with us into the fight. Then it will save us from our enemies.’

The *Jews had covered the *covenant box with gold. Moses had put in it the stones with God’s rules written on them. It also contained other things. These things helped the people to remember how God had saved them out of Egypt. On each end of the top stood two *angels (Exodus 25:17-21).

v4 So the people sent men to Shiloh and they brought back the *Lord’s *covenant box. The great and powerful *Lord God sits between the *angels on the top of it. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with God’s *covenant box. v5 The men brought the *covenant box of the *Lord into their army. The *Israelites made a great happy noise that caused the ground to move. v6 The *Philistines heard them when they were shouting. They asked each other, ‘Why is all this noise happening in the *Israelite army?’

Then the *Philistines found out that the *Lord’s *covenant box had come into the middle of the *Israelite army. v7 They were afraid. They said, ‘A *god has come into their army. We are in trouble. Nothing like this has happened before. v8 This will be very bad for us. Nobody can save us from these powerful *gods. They caused great troubles to the people from Egypt and these gods killed them in the *desert. v9 Be strong, *Philistines. Be strong men. In past days, the *Israelites were our servants. Now you must fight like men. If you do not, we will become their servants.’

v10 So the *Philistines fought strongly and they won again. The *Israelites ran towards their own *tents. This was a big loss for them. The *Philistines killed 30 000 *Israelite soldiers. v11 And the *Philistines took away God’s *covenant box. Also, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s two sons, died.

Eli dies

v12 That day a man from the *tribe of Benjamin ran from the fight to Shiloh. He had torn his clothes and he had put dirt on his head.

People put dirt on their heads to show how sad they were.

v13 Eli was by the side of the road when the man arrived in Shiloh. Eli was sitting on his chair. He was waiting for news. He was not happy because they had taken God’s *covenant box into the fight. The man from Benjamin came into the town. He told the people what had happened. All the people cried aloud.

v14 Eli heard the people crying. He asked, ‘What is all this noise about?’ The man quickly went to tell Eli. v15 Eli was now 98 years old and he could not see. v16 The man from Benjamin said, ‘I have come from the fight. Today I ran from it to you.’ Eli asked, ‘What happened, my son?’

v17 The man who brought the news said, ‘The *Israelites ran away from the *Philistines. The *Philistines killed many of the *Israelite soldiers. Both your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead. And the *Philistines took God’s *covenant box.’

v18 Eli was sitting next to the gate. When the man spoke about God’s *covenant box, Eli fell off his chair. Eli broke his neck. And he died when he fell. This happened because he was old and heavy. He had been the leader of Israel’s people for 40 years.

The *glory has left *Israel

v19 Phinehas had a wife. She would soon have a baby. It was nearly time for the baby to be born. People told her that the *Philistines had taken away God’s *covenant box. They also told her that Phinehas and Eli were dead. When people told her this news, she started to give birth to her baby. But she had a very difficult time. v20 She was dying. Some women helped her to give birth. Just before she died, they said, ‘Do not be afraid. You have a son.’ But she did not answer them or listen to them.

v21 She called the boy Ichabod. She said, ‘The *glory has left *Israel.’ She said that because the *Philistines had taken God’s *covenant box. And she was sad because Eli and her husband were dead. v22 She said, ‘The *glory has left *Israel because the *Philistines have taken God’s *covenant box.’

Chapter 5

God’s *covenant box causes trouble for the *Philistines

v1 The *Philistines took away God’s *covenant box. And they took it from Ebenezer to the town called Ashdod. v2 They carried it into the *temple of their *god. The name of their *god was Dagon. They put the box next to the *idol of Dagon. v3 The next morning, the people in Ashdod got up early and they went to their *temple. They saw that Dagon had fallen down in front of the *Lord’s *covenant box. Dagon’s face was touching the ground. So, they picked up Dagon and they put him back in his place. v4 They got up early the next morning and they went to the *temple of Dagon. Again, they found that Dagon had fallen down in front of the *Lord’s box. He lay with his face on the ground. His head and his hands had broken off. They were lying on the step of the *temple door. Only the other part of his body was not broken. v5 Dagon’s *priests and other people still go to the *temple at Ashdod. But, since this happened, nobody puts a foot on the step of Dagon’s *temple.

v6 The *Lord *punished the people in Ashdod and the people in the places near to it. They were very afraid. God caused *tumours to grow on them. v7 The men in Ashdod saw what was happening. They said, ‘God’s *covenant box must not stay here with us. The God of *Israel is *punishing us and our god Dagon.’ v8 So the *Philistine kings met together. The people asked the kings, ‘What should we do with the *covenant box of the God of *Israel?’

The kings answered, ‘Take it to Gath.’ So the men moved it to the *Philistine town called Gath.

v9 After they had moved the *covenant box to Gath, God *punished the people in Gath. He made them all very afraid. He made old and young people ill. And he caused *tumours to grow on them. v10 So the people sent God’s box to the *Philistine town called Ekron.

When the *covenant box of God came into Ekron the people in the town shouted. They said, ‘They have brought the God of *Israel’s box to us. It will kill us. It will kill the people who live here.’ v11 So they asked the *Philistine kings to meet together. The people from Ekron said to them, ‘Send away the *covenant box of the God of *Israel. Send it back to where it should be. If you do not do this, it will kill us. And it will kill all our people.’ All the people in the town were very afraid because God was *punishing them. v12 Many people died and all the other people had *tumours. So, the people in the town shouted out to *heaven.

Chapter 6

The *Philistines give back God’s *covenant box to *Israel

v1 The *Philistines had the *Lord’s *covenant box in their country for 7 months. v2 Then they asked their *priests and their men who did *magic to come to them. The *Philistines asked them, ‘What can we do with the *Lord’s *covenant box? Tell us how to send it back to its home.’

v3 The *priests answered, ‘Send it back to *Israel. But you must not send it back without an *offering. You must send an *offering to God because he is angry with you. Then you will get well. You will find out why God *punished you.’

v4 The *Philistines asked, ‘What *offering should we send to God?’

The *priests and the men who worked *magic replied, ‘You should send 5 *tumours and 5 *mice of gold. You should make 5 of each because you have 5 rulers. Your rulers and your people have all been ill. v5 Make the *tumours and *mice out of gold. They must be like those that are destroying your country. And give *honour to the God of *Israel. Maybe then he will stop *punishing you and your *gods and your country. v6 Do not be like the people from Egypt and Pharaoh their king. They would not change their minds and obey God. So God *punished them with great power until they let the *Jews leave Egypt.

v7 You must make a new *cart. Find two cows that have just given birth to little cows. You must use cows that nobody has ever tied to a *cart before. Tie them to the *cart. Then take their little cows away from them. v8 Put the *covenant box of the *Lord on the *cart. Put the gold *tumours and *mice in a box. These are your *offerings to their God because you made him angry. Put this box next to the *covenant box on the *cart. Then send the *cart away. v9 But continue to watch it. God’s *covenant box came from *Israel. The *cart may go to the town called Beth-shemesh in *Israel. That would show that the *Lord sent this great trouble to us. If the *cart does not go there, the *Lord has not *punished us. We will know that our illness happened for another reason.’

v10 So the *Philistines did this. They took two cows that had just had little cows. They tied them to a *cart. They took away their little cows and they put the little cows in a building. v11 They put the *Lord’s *covenant box on the *cart. Then they put their box next to the *covenant box. Their box contained the *mice and the *tumours of gold. v12 The cows went in a straight path towards Beth-shemesh. They kept on the road and they did not turn to the right or to the left. All the way, they made a lot of noise. The *Philistine rulers followed them all the way to the edge of Beth-shemesh.

v13 The people from Beth-shemesh were in the valley. They were taking in their *wheat. They looked and they saw the *Lord’s *covenant box. They were very happy. v14-15 The cows pulled the *cart into a field. The field was Joshua’s. He lived in Beth-shemesh. The cows stopped next to a large rock. The *Levites took the *Lord’s *covenant box off the *cart. They put it on the large rock. They also put the box, which contained the gold *tumours and *mice, on the rock. The people from Beth-shemesh cut up the wood from the *cart and they made a fire with it. Then they killed the cows. They burnt them on the fire as an *offering to the *Lord. That day they *sacrificed whole cows as *burnt offerings. v16 When the 5 *Philistine rulers saw this, they returned to Ekron.

v17 The *Philistines sent the gold *tumours as a gift to the *Lord. They sent one from each of their 5 towns. The names of these towns are Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. v18 The *Philistines also sent 5 gold *mice. They sent one from each of the 5 towns. Each town had walls round it. Each town included the country villages near to it. The large rock that the *Israelites put the *Lord’s *covenant box on is still there. It is in Joshua’s field in Beth-shemesh.

v19 But some of the men from Beth-shemesh looked inside the *Lord’s *covenant box. So God killed 70 of them. Among the 70 men were 50 leaders. The people were very sad because God had *punished them so strongly. v20 The men at Beth-shemesh said, ‘When God is present, people cannot stand. The *Lord is a *holy God. We do not know what place we can send the box to.’

v21 So they sent people to Kiriath-jearim with a message. They said, ‘The *Philistines have given the *Lord’s *covenant box back to us. Come and take it from us. Take it to your town.’

Chapter 7

v1 So men came from Kiriath-jearim to fetch the *Lord’s *covenant box. They took it to Abinadab’s house. His house was on a hill. Eleazar was his son. They *consecrated Eleazar so that he could keep the *Lord’s *covenant box safe.

The *Lord saves the *Israelites from the *Philistines

v2 The *covenant box stayed at Kiriath-jearim for a long time. For 20 years the *Israelites were sad. They wanted to give pleasure to the *Lord again. v3 Then Samuel said to all the *Israelites, ‘If you want to obey the *Lord, you must do it with all your spirit. You must remove all your foreign *gods and *idols of *Ashtoreth. You must give your lives completely to the *Lord. You must *worship only the *Lord. If you do that, he will save you from the *Philistines.’ v4 So the *Israelites removed all their *idols of the gods called Baal and Ashtoreth. They *worshipped the *Lord only.

v5 Then Samuel said, ‘Meet together at the town called Mizpah. I will pray to the *Lord for you (on your behalf).’ v6 So they all met at Mizpah. They got water from the ground and they poured it out in front of the *Lord. They did not eat that day. They prayed to the *Lord and they said, ‘We have *sinned against the *Lord.’ Samuel ruled the *Israelites at Mizpah.

v7 People told the *Philistines that the *Israelites were meeting at Mizpah. So the *Philistine rulers went there to attack them. When people told the *Israelites about this, they were afraid of the *Philistines. v8 The *Israelites said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the *Lord our God and do not stop. Ask him to help us. Ask him to save us from the *Philistines.’ v9 So Samuel gave a young sheep as a whole *burnt offering to the *Lord. He prayed to the *Lord. Samuel asked him to help the *Israelites. The *Lord gave a good answer to him. v10 While Samuel was giving the *burnt offering to the *Lord, the *Philistines moved nearer. They were ready to attack *Israel. But the *Lord caused a very loud noise in the sky against the *Philistines. He confused and frightened them. They started to run away. v11 The *Israelite men came out from Mizpah. They ran after the *Philistines to a place below Beth-car. And they killed them along the way.

v12 After that, Samuel took a stone and he put it up between Mizpah and Shen. He called the stone Ebenezer. He said, ‘The *Lord has helped us all this way.’ v13 So the *Israelites won the fight with the *Philistines. The *Philistines did not attack *Israel’s land again.

The *Lord was against the *Philistines all the time that Samuel was alive. v14 Earlier, the *Philistines had taken towns from the *Israelites. But the *Israelites won them back. These towns were from Ekron to Gath. Also the *Israelite people and the *Amorite people did not fight any longer.

v15 Samuel continued to be a *judge of the *Israelites all his life. v16 Every year, he went to the towns called Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah. He was a *judge of the people in those places. v17 But Samuel always returned to his home at Ramah. There also he was a *judge of the *Israelites. And he built an *altar to the *Lord at Ramah.

Ebenezer means ‘stone of help’ or ‘stone of him who helps’. Samuel put up this stone to give *honour to the *Lord.

Chapter 8

The *Israelites ask for a king

v1 When Samuel was old, he made his sons rulers in *Israel. v2 His first son was Joel and his second son was Abijah. They were rulers in the town called Beersheba. v3 But Samuel’s sons did not do good things as Samuel had done. They tried to get money in ways that were not right. They accepted money from bad people when nobody was looking. Then they would not *punish them.

v4 So the leaders of *Israel met together and they went to Samuel at Ramah. v5 They said to Samuel, ‘You are old. Your sons do not do good things as you have done. Give to us a king who will rule over us. The other *nations have a king. We want one too.’

v6 Samuel was not happy that the leaders asked for a king. So he prayed to the *Lord. v7 The *Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to everything that the people say to you. They have not refused to have you as their leader. Instead, they have refused to have me as their king. v8 Today they are doing what they have always done. I brought them out of the country called Egypt. But they left me and they *worshipped other *gods. Now they are doing the same to you. v9 Listen to the people. But tell them what will happen. Tell them what their kings will do to them.’

v10 Samuel spoke to the people who had asked him for a king. He told them everything that the *Lord had said. v11 Samuel said, ‘The king will rule over you. And this is what he will do. He will take your sons to be his soldiers. They will drive his horses and *chariots. And they will run in front of his *chariots. v12 The king will make some of your sons leaders of 1000 soldiers each. Other sons will be leaders of groups of 50 soldiers. The king will cause some of your sons to plough his ground. Then they will have to bring to him the food that they have caused to grow. Other sons will have to make *weapons for war and weapons for his *chariots. v13 The king will take your daughters. They will make him oils that have good smells. They will also cook and bake his food. v14 The king will take your best fields. He will take the places where you find the best *grapes and *olives. He will give all these to his officers. v15 Then he will take a 10th part of all your seeds and *grapes. He will give this to his officers and servants. v16 He will take your male and female servants. He will take your best young men and your *donkeys. He will use them for his own work. v17 He will take a 10th of all your sheep. And he will cause you to be his servants too. v18 Then you will shout to the *Lord about your king that you have chosen. But the *Lord will not answer you then.’

v19 But the people would not listen to Samuel. They said, ‘No. We want a king to rule us. v20 We want to be like all the other *nations with a king to rule us. He will be our leader when we go to war. He will fight for us (on our behalf).’

v21 Samuel listened to all that the people said. Then he went and he told the *Lord. v22 The *Lord said, ‘You must do what they want. You must give a king to them.’

Then Samuel told *Israel’s people, ‘Return to your own towns.’

Chapter 9

Saul looks for his father’s *donkeys

v1 Kish was a strong, brave man from the *tribe of Benjamin. Kish was the son of Abiel. Abiel was the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath. Becorath was the son of Aphiah. Aphiah came from the *tribe of Benjamin. v2 Kish had a son whose name was Saul. He was a very handsome young man. No other *Israelite was more handsome than Saul. When Saul stood with other people, you could see his head and shoulders above everyone else’s head.

v3 Kish had some *donkeys. But nobody could find them. Kish said to Saul, ‘Go and look for the *donkeys. Take one of the servants with you when you go to find them.’ v4 So Saul and the servant went through the hills in Ephraim’s land. Then they went to Shalisha and the places near to it. But they did not find the *donkeys there. Then they went to Shaalim’s place. The *donkeys were not there. The people from the *tribe of Benjamin lived all round them. So, Saul and the servant went through all their fields. But they did not find the *donkeys.

v5 They reached the fields near Zuph. Saul said to his servant, ‘We must return to our home now. My father was afraid that he had lost the *donkeys. But he will start to think that he has lost us. We must return now.’

v6 The servant replied, ‘There is a man of God in this town. Everything that he says becomes true. So people give *honour to him. We should go there now. Perhaps he will tell us where to find the *donkeys.’

v7 Saul said to his servant, ‘If we go to visit this man we must give a gift to him. But we do not have a gift. We do not even have any food. What can we give to him?’

v8 The servant answered, ‘I have a small piece of *silver. I will give it to the man of God. Then he will tell us which way we should go.’ v9 (Sometimes a man from *Israel wanted to ask God something. This is what he said to other people: ‘Come with me. We will go to the *seer.’ We now call this man a *prophet. But years ago, the *Israelites called him a ‘*seer’.)

A *seer could see things that other people could not. God sometimes gave special dreams to a *seer about things a long way away in time or in space.

v10 Saul said to his servant, ‘That is good. We should visit this man of God.’ So, they went to the town where he was.

v11 They went up the hill to the town. Some young women came out of the town to get some water. Saul and his servant said, ‘Is the *seer here?’

v12 They said, ‘Yes, he is here. He is in front of you. You must hurry. He came to the town today because the people have a *sacrifice. They will *sacrifice at the place for *worship. v13 When you go into the town, you will find the *seer. He is going to the place for *worship. The people will not start to eat until he comes. The *seer must first ask God to accept the *sacrifice. Then the people with him will eat. You will find the *seer if you go now.’

Saul meets Samuel

v14 Saul and his servant went up to the town. When they went into the town, Samuel came towards them. He was going to the place for *worship. v15 God had spoken to Samuel the day before this. God said, v16 ‘Tomorrow I will send a man to you. He comes from the land of Benjamin. He will arrive at about this time of day. *Anoint him as the leader over my people, *Israel. He will save my people from the *Philistines. I have seen the way that they have hurt my people. I heard the people when they shouted for help.’

v17 Samuel saw Saul. God said to Samuel, ‘Here is the man that I told you about. He will rule my people.’

v18 Samuel was near the gate of the town. Saul went to him and said, ‘Please tell me where the *seer’s house is.’

v19 Samuel said, ‘I am the *seer. You must go in front of me to the place for *worship. I want both of you to eat with me today. Tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions. Then you can go to your home. v20 Do not think about the *donkeys that you lost three days ago. Someone has found them. I will tell you what all *Israel’s people want. They want you and all your father’s family.’

v21 Saul answered, ‘I belong to the *tribe of Benjamin. It is the smallest *tribe in the *nation of *Israel. And my family group is the least important group in the *tribe of Benjamin. Why have you said all this to me?’

v22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into the place where he would make the *sacrifice. He caused them to sit in the most important seats. Samuel had asked about 30 men to come to the meal. v23 Samuel spoke to the cook. He said, ‘Please bring me the piece of meat that I gave to you. I said that you must keep it separate.’

v24 So the cook took the leg of meat and he put it down in front of Saul. Samuel said to Saul, ‘I kept this piece of meat for you. Eat it because this is a special meal. When I first asked the other men, I kept this piece of meat for you.’ So, Saul ate with Samuel that day.

v25 They left the place for *worship and they went into the town. Samuel took Saul on to the roof of his house. They talked together on the roof. v26 They got up at dawn the next day. Saul was on the roof of the house. Samuel shouted up to him. He said, ‘Get up and get ready to leave. I will send you on your journey.’ Saul got ready to leave. Saul and Samuel went out into the street. v27 They walked to the edge of the town. Samuel said, ‘Say to your servant that he must go on in front of us. But you must stay, because I have a message from God for you.’

Chapter 10

Samuel *anoints Saul

v1 Then Samuel took a jar of oil and he poured the oil over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul. He said, ‘The *Lord has *anointed you as the leader of his people. v2 After you leave me today, you will meet two men. They will be near the place where Abraham buried Rachel’s dead body. This is on the edge of Benjamin’s land at Zelzah. The men will say, “Someone has found the *donkeys that you were looking for. Your father has stopped thinking about his *donkeys. Now his mind is full of trouble. He continues to ask, ‘What can I do about my son?’ ”

v3 Then you will go on from there until you reach the big tree at Tabor. Three men will meet you there. They are going to the town called Bethel to *worship God. One man will carry three young goats. Another man will have three loaves of bread. The third man will have a leather bag full of *wine. v4 They will speak to you and they will offer you two loaves of bread. You must accept the bread. v5 Then you must go to the place for *worship at the town called Gibeah. A group of *Philistine soldiers is there. Near to the town you will meet some *prophets. They will be coming down from the place for *worship. They will be making music with their *harps, *tambourines, *flutes and *lyres. And they will be *prophesying. v6 The Spirit of the *Lord will give his power to you. And you will *prophesy too. You will become a different person inside. v7 All these things will happen. Then do whatever you need to do. God is with you.

v8 Go in front of me to the town called Gilgal. I will certainly come down to you there. And I will burn *sacrifices and I will give *fellowship *offerings to God. You must wait for 7 days. Then I will come. And I will tell you what you should do.’

v9 Saul left Samuel and went on his journey. When Saul was leaving, God made him a new person inside. And everything happened in the way that Samuel had spoken about. v10 They arrived at Gibeah and a group of *prophets met them. The Spirit of God came strongly on Saul. He *prophesied with the *prophets. v11 There were some people who had known Saul for a long time. They saw him when he was *prophesying. They asked each other, ‘What has happened to the son of Kish? Has Saul really become a *prophet?’

v12 A man who lived there asked, ‘Who is the leader of these *prophets?’ So it became a *proverb: ‘Has Saul really become a *prophet?’ v13 When Saul stopped *prophesying he went up to the place for *worship.

v14 Saul’s father’s brother asked Saul and his servant, ‘Where have you been?’ Saul said, ‘We were looking for the *donkeys. We could not find them so we went to visit Samuel.’

v15 Saul’s father’s brother said, ‘What did Samuel say to you?’

v16 Saul said, ‘He told us that someone had found the *donkeys.’ But Saul did not tell his father’s brother that Samuel had talked about the *kingdom.

Saul becomes the first king of *Israel

v17 Samuel sent a message to all *Israel’s people. He said that they must meet with the *Lord at Mizpah. v18 He said to them, ‘This is a message from the *Lord, the God of *Israel. The *Lord says, “I led you *Israelites out from Egypt. I saved you from Egypt’s people. And I saved you from other peoples that made you their slaves.” v19 The *Lord saved you from all your troubles and from people who hurt you. Now you have refused to obey the *Lord your God. You said, “No. We want a king to rule us.” So, come and stand in front of God. Stand together in your *tribes and as families.’

v20 Each *tribe went towards Samuel. God chose the *tribe of Benjamin. v21 Each family group from the *tribe of Benjamin went to him. And God chose the family group of Matri. Then God chose Saul, son of Kish, from the family of Matri. They looked for Saul but nobody could find him. v22 So they asked the *Lord, ‘Has Saul come here yet?’ And the *Lord said, ‘Yes, but he is hiding among the luggage.’

v23 So they ran to Saul and they brought him out. When Saul stood with the people, you could see his head and shoulders above everyone else’s head. v24 Samuel said to all the people, ‘Here is the man that God has chosen. There is nobody like him among all the people.’ Then the people shouted, ‘We ask God that the king will live for a long time.’

v25 Samuel explained to the people all that a king should be. And he explained all that a king should do. He wrote everything in a *scroll. He put the *scroll in the *holy place in front of the *Lord. Then Samuel caused the people to go to their own homes. v26 Saul went to his home at Gibeah. A group of brave men went with him. They went with Saul because God caused them to want to do that. v27 There were some other men who caused trouble. They said, ‘We do not think that this man can save us.’ They did not *honour Saul. And they did not bring him any gifts. But Saul did not say anything.

Chapter 11

Saul saves the town called Jabesh

v1 Nahash was an *Ammonite. He went with his army to beat the men in Jabesh. Jabesh was in the part of the country that was called Gilead. The soldiers were all round Jabesh. The people from Jabesh said, ‘Make a *covenant with us and we will let you be our ruler.’ v2 Nahash said, ‘I will make a *covenant with you. But I will pull out the right eye of every person in your town. Then *Israel’s people will be ashamed.’ v3 The rulers of Jabesh said to him, ‘Wait for 7 days. We will send a message to all the people in *Israel. We will ask them to help us. If nobody comes to save us, we will let you be our ruler.’

v4 The men took the message to the town called Gibeah. Saul lived in this town. When they told the news to the people, the people started to cry aloud. v5 Saul had been in his field. Now he was returning to his home with the cows. He heard the people crying. He asked, ‘What has happened? Why are the people crying?’ They told Saul what the men from Jabesh had said. v6 When people told Saul the news, the Spirit of God made him very powerful. Saul became very angry. v7 He killed two of his cows. He cut them into pieces. He gave the pieces to the men from Jabesh. He said that they must take the pieces to all the towns in *Israel. The men said, ‘Everyone must join Saul and Samuel to fight the *Ammonites. They will cut up your cows like this if you do not follow.’ The people were afraid of the *Lord. So all the men came together as one group. v8 They met together with Saul at the town called Bezek. There were 300 000 men from *Israel. And there were 30 000 men from *Judah.

v9 Saul spoke to the men who had brought the news from Jabesh. He said to them, ‘Return to Jabesh and tell the people this message: “Our people will save you. They will do it tomorrow before midday.” ’ So, the men went and they gave the message to them. All the people in Jabesh were very happy. v10 The men from Jabesh went and they spoke to Nahash. They said, ‘Tomorrow we will come out to you. Then you can do anything that you want with us.’

v11 The next day Saul put his soldiers into three groups. At dawn, they attacked the *Ammonites’ army. The *Israelite soldiers killed the *Ammonites and won the fight before midday. Some *Ammonite soldiers ran away in different directions. Each man ran off by himself.

v12 *Israel’s people said to Samuel, ‘Some men said, “We do not think that Saul should rule us.” Bring the men who said that to us. Then we will kill them.’

v13 Saul said, ‘No, you must not kill anyone today because the *Lord saved *Israel’s people today.’

v14 Samuel said to the people, ‘We will all go to the town called Gilgal. Then we will agree again that Saul is our king.’ v15 So everyone went to Gilgal. They went to the place for *worship. They all agreed that Saul should be their king. They gave *fellowship *offerings to the *Lord. Saul and all the *Israelites had a very good party.

Chapter 12

Samuel speaks to all the *Israelites for the last time

v1 Samuel said to all the *Israelites, ‘I have done everything that you asked me to do. I have given a king to you to rule over you. v2 Now you have a king to be your leader. I am old and my hair is grey. My sons are here with you. I have been your leader from the days when I was young until now. v3 Here I am. I have not done any wrong things. If I have, you must tell the *Lord and his *anointed king. I did not take anyone’s cow or *donkey. I did not rob anyone. I saw the wrong things that people did. But I never let them give money to me to say that I did not see them. If I have done any of those things, I will make it right.’

v4 The *Israelites answered, ‘You have not robbed any of us. You have not done bad things to any of us. You have not taken any money from anyone.’

v5 Samuel said to the *Israelites, ‘The *Lord has heard what you have said today. The *Lord’s *anointed king has also heard that I have not taken anything from anybody.’

They replied, ‘He has heard.’

v6 Then Samuel said to all the people, ‘The *Lord chose Moses and Aaron. He brought all your *ancestors out from the country called Egypt. v7 You must stand up now. Then I will show you what you are doing. I will tell you again about all the good things that God did. God did these things on behalf of you and your *ancestors. v8 He sent *Israel’s people to Egypt. Then they shouted to the *Lord for help. So the *Lord sent Moses and Aaron to them. They took your *ancestors out of Egypt and they brought them to live here. v9 But your *ancestors forgot the *Lord their God. Sisera led an army from the town called Hazor. He fought against the *Israelites. The *Philistines and the king of Moab also fought against the *Israelites. The *Lord let these enemies win the fight. The *Israelites became their slaves. v10 Then the *Israelites asked the *Lord to help them. They said, “We have *sinned. We left the *Lord and we *worshipped the false gods, the *Baals and the *Ashtoreths. Save us from our enemies and we will *worship you.” v11 So the *Lord sent Jerubbaal (Gideon), Bedan (Barak), Jephthah and Samuel to you. The *Lord saved you from all your enemies. Then you lived safely.

v12 But then you saw that Nahash, the king of the *Ammonites, was coming to attack you. So you said to me, “No. We want a king to rule us.” But the *Lord your God was your king. v13 Now here is the king that you chose. He is the man that you asked for. The *Lord has made him your king. v14 You should give *honour to the *Lord. You must do the things that give pleasure to him. You must obey the *Lord. You must not do anything against his rules. You and the king who rules you must obey the *Lord your God. v15 You might not obey the *Lord. You might do things against his rules. If you do, he will fight against you. He will do to you what he did to the *Israelites in past times.’

v16 Now stand where you are. See the great thing that the *Lord will do. v17 The *wheat is now ready to bring in. I will pray. The *Lord will send storms and rain. Then you will know that you did an *evil thing against the *Lord. You asked for a king.

v18 Samuel prayed to the *Lord. That day the *Lord sent storms and rain. All the people were afraid of the *Lord and of Samuel. v19 All the people said to Samuel, ‘We are your servants. Pray to the *Lord your God on our behalf. Do not let us die. We have *sinned many times in past days. Now we have *sinned again. We asked for a king.’

v20 Samuel said, ‘Do not be afraid. It is true that you have *sinned. But do not turn away from the *Lord. Obey the *Lord with all of your mind and body. v21 Do not *worship *idols. They cannot help you. They cannot save you. v22 The *Lord does not change his mind. He decided to make you his own people. He will not leave you. v23 As for me, I will not stop praying on your behalf. I will *sin against the *Lord if I stop. I will teach you the good and the right things to do. v24 You must give *honour to the *Lord. You must do everything that he asks. Remember the great things that he did on your behalf. v25 But if you continue to *sin against God, he will remove you and your king.’

Chapter 13

Jonathan attacks the *Philistines

v1-2 It was now one year since Saul became king. Saul was 30 years old when he became king. He was the king of *Israel for 42 years. And when he had ruled over Israel for two more years, he chose 3000 men from *Israel. Then 2000 men stayed with him at Michmash. This place was in the mountains of Bethel. But 1000 men stayed with his son Jonathan. They stayed in the town called Gibeah. Gibeah was in the land of Benjamin’s *tribe. Saul sent all the other men to their *tents. v3 Some of the *Philistine army were staying at Geba. Jonathan attacked them there. People told the other *Philistines about it. Saul said, ‘Someone must tell all the *Israelites about this.’ So Saul sent men out to every place in Israel. They had to make noise with *trumpets. Then the *Israelites would know that they must come to the fight. v4 They told all the people in *Israel the news. They told them that Saul had attacked the *Philistines. They told them that the *Philistines were now even stronger enemies to the *Israelites. So the people came to Saul at Gilgal.

Saul gives the *burnt offering to God

v5 The *Philistines came together to fight the *Israelites. The *Philistines had 30 000 *chariots. And there were 6000 men who rode on horses. And they had many thousands of soldiers. There were so many soldiers that nobody could count them. The *Philistines were staying at the town called Michmash which was east of Beth-aven. v6 The *Israelites saw the *Philistine army. The *Israelites knew that they were in a difficult place. Some of them went and hid in the bushes. They also hid among the rocks, in holes in the ground and in wells. v7 Some of the *Israelites even crossed to the other side of the river Jordan. They went into the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul stayed at Gilgal. All the people with him were so afraid that their bodies *shook. v8 Samuel had told Saul that he must wait for him. Saul waited for 7 days as Samuel had said. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal. The men with Saul began to leave him. v9 So Saul said, ‘Bring the *burnt offering and the *fellowship *offerings to me.’ Saul offered the *burnt *sacrifice to God. v10 Samuel arrived a very short time after he had finished. Saul went to speak to Samuel.

v11 Samuel asked, ‘What have you done?’

Saul replied, ‘The soldiers were leaving me. You said that you would be here at a certain time. But you did not arrive at that time. The *Philistines were meeting together at Michmash. v12 I thought that they would come. I thought that they would attack me at Gilgal. But I had not asked God to help me. So I thought that I ought to offer the *burnt offering.’

v13 Samuel said, ‘You have been a fool. You have not obeyed the word of the *Lord your God. You should have obeyed the *Lord. Then the *Lord would have let you and your family rule over the *Israelites for all time. v14 But that will not happen now because you did not obey the *Lord. Instead, the *Lord will find the kind of man that he wants. The *Lord will make this man the ruler of his people, the *Israelites.’

v15 Samuel left Gilgal. He went to the town called Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were with him. There were about 600 men.

v16 Saul, his son Jonathan and the men who were with them were in the town called Geba. Geba is in the land of Benjamin. The *Philistines’ army was at Michmash. v17 The *Philistines sent out three groups of men to attack Saul’s men. One group went towards Ophrah in the land of Shual. v18 The second group went towards the town called Beth-horon. The third group went to another place. There they could see across the Valley of Zeboim towards the *desert.

v19 There were no *blacksmiths in the country (*Israel). The *Philistines had said, ‘If the *Israelites have *blacksmiths they will learn to make *swords and *spears.’ v20 The *Israelites used ploughs, *hoes, axes and *sickles on their farm land. These tools were not sharp when people had used them a lot. So they had to take them to the *Philistines’ *blacksmiths who made them sharp again. v21 The *Israelites had to pay 8 *grams of *silver for the *Philistines to make each plough or *hoe sharp again. They paid 4 *grams of *silver for each axe, *sickle or *ox-goad.

An ox-goad is a stick with a point. They used it to cause their cows to walk faster.

v22 When the fight started, only Saul and Jonathan each had a *sword and *spear. The other soldiers did not have any *swords or *spears.

Swords and spears are long sharp metal things. Soldiers used them to fight and to kill people. Hoes and sickles are sharp metal things. People use them to plant or to bring in food plants.

Jonathan attacks the *Philistines

v23 A group of *Philistine soldiers went to the narrow road in the mountains at Michmash.

Chapter 14

v1 A young man carried Jonathan’s *armour. Jonathan was Saul’s son. One day, Jonathan said to the young man, ‘We will go across to the *Philistine army on the other side.’ But Jonathan did not tell his father. v2 Saul was staying under a big fruit tree at Migron near Gibeah. There were about 600 men with Saul. v3 Ahijah was with Saul. He wore an *ephod. Ahijah was the son of Ahitub. Ahitub was Ichabod’s brother. Ichabod was the son of Phinehas and the grandson of Eli. Eli was the *priest of the *Lord in Shiloh. Nobody knew that Jonathan had left.

v4 Jonathan had to go along a narrow valley. It was in the mountains at Michmash. There was a high wall of rock on both sides of the road. The name of the wall on one side was ‘Bozez’. The name of the other wall was ‘Seneh’. v5 One rock wall was on the north side of the road, near Michmash. The other was on the south side, near Geba.

v6 Jonathan spoke to the young man who carried his *armour. ‘Now we will go to the place where those *Philistines are. Nobody has *circumcised them. Perhaps the *Lord will help us. The *Lord can help us to win the fight. He can do that whether there are many of us or only a few of us.’

v7 The young man said, ‘You do anything that you want to do. I will go with you all the way.’

v8 Jonathan said, ‘We will go across and we will let the *Philistines see us. v9 They may ask us to wait for them because they will come across to us. If they say that, we will stay here. v10 But they may ask us to go to them. That will mean that God will help us to win the fight. So we will go to them.’

v11 Jonathan and his young man stood where the *Philistines could see them. The *Philistines said, ‘Look at the Hebrews (*Israelites). They are coming out of the holes where they were hiding.’ v12 The *Philistines shouted to Jonathan and his young man, ‘Come up here to us. We want to teach you something.’

Jonathan said, ‘Follow me. The *Lord will help *Israel to win the fight.’

v13 Jonathan climbed up the rock wall. He was using his hands and his feet to climb up. His young man climbed up behind him. Jonathan attacked and killed some *Philistines. The young man followed behind Jonathan and killed more *Philistines. v14 Jonathan and his young man killed about 20 men in that small space. This was the first time that they attacked the enemy.

v15 All the *Philistine soldiers became afraid and confused. This happened to the soldiers in Michmash and to those round the town. And it happened to those other soldiers who had gone out to attack. The ground *shook. God had made them all very afraid.

v16 Saul was at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. Some of Saul’s soldiers were watching the *Philistines. They saw that the *Philistines were running away in different directions. v17 Saul said to his army, ‘Count our soldiers. Find out who is not here.’ They counted the soldiers. Jonathan and the young man who carried his *armour were not there.

v18 Saul said to Ahijah the *priest, ‘Bring God’s *covenant box here.’ At that time, it was with the *Israelites. v19 Saul was talking to the *priest. At the same time, the *Philistine army made more noise and they were very confused. Saul said to the *priest, ‘Take your hand away.’

v20 Then Saul and all his men went to fight the *Philistines. They found that the *Philistines were completely confused. They were so confused that they were fighting each other. v21 Before this time, some of the *Israelites had joined with the *Philistines. Those *Israelites had stayed with the *Philistines. Now they went back to the *Israelites’ army with Saul and Jonathan. v22 Many *Israelites had hidden in the mountains in the land of Ephraim. Now somebody told them that the *Philistine soldiers were running away. So these *Israelites joined the fight and they ran after the *Philistines. v23 They fought all the way to Beth-aven and beyond it. That day the *Lord saved *Israel’s people.

Jonathan eats *honey

v24 But the men among *Israel’s people were not happy that day. Saul had told them all that they must promise something to him. He had said, ‘Nobody should to eat any food before this evening. You must not eat any food before I have won the fight with my enemies. If anyone eats, I will *punish him.’ So none of Saul’s army ate any food. v25 The *Israelite army went into a forest. There was *honey on the ground. v26 The men saw all the *honey in the forest. But none of them ate the *honey because they were afraid of their promise to Saul. v27 But Jonathan had not heard what his father had said. He put the end of his stick into the *honey. He ate the *honey. Then he felt better. v28 One of the soldiers told Jonathan, ‘Your father said a promise to all the soldiers. He will *punish any man who eats anything today. That is why all the men are weak.’

v29 Jonathan said, ‘My father has made trouble for the people. I feel so much better because I ate some of the *honey. v30 The men took food from their enemies today. It would have been much better if they had eaten some of it. If they had done that, they would have killed many more *Philistines.’

v31 That day, the *Israelites won the fight with the *Philistines. They fought them all the way from Michmash to Aijalon. After this, the *Israelites were very weak. v32 They took sheep, cows and young cows from the *Philistines. The *Israelites were so hungry that they killed the animals on the ground. Then they ate the animals with the blood still in them. v33 Someone said to Saul, ‘Look at the people. They are *sinning against the *Lord. They are eating the meat with blood still in it.’ Saul said, ‘You have *sinned. Bring a large stone here.’ v34 Then Saul said, ‘Go to the people. Tell them that each man must bring his cow or his sheep here. They must kill and eat the animals here. Do not *sin against the *Lord. Do not eat meat with the blood still in it.’ So, every man took his animal and he killed it there. v35 Then Saul built an *altar to the *Lord. It was the first *altar that Saul had built to the *Lord.

v36 Saul said, ‘We will go and we will attack the *Philistines tonight until dawn. We will take everything that they have. And we will kill all of them.’

The men answered, ‘You decide what seems the best thing to do. Then do that.’

But the *priest said, ‘We should ask God first.’

v37 Saul asked God, ‘Should I attack the *Philistines? Will you help Israel to win the fight?’ But God did not answer Saul that day.

v38 So Saul said to all the leaders of the people, ‘Come here. We must find out who has *sinned today. v39 The *Lord lives and he has saved *Israel. And even if my son Jonathan has *sinned, he must die.’ But nobody among the people spoke.

v40 Saul said to all the *Israelites, ‘You stand on this side. My son Jonathan and I will stand on the other side.’

The people answered, ‘You decide what seems the best thing to do. Then do that.’

v41 Then Saul prayed to the *Lord, the God of *Israel. He said, ‘Give the right answer to me.’ God chose Jonathan and Saul. He did not choose the people. v42 Saul said, ‘Who has *sinned, Jonathan or me?’ God chose Jonathan.

v43 Saul said to Jonathan, ‘Tell me what you have done.’

Jonathan told him, ‘I only ate a little *honey from the end of my stick. Must I die now?’

v44 Saul said, ‘Jonathan, I ask God to *punish me very much if you do not die.’

v45 But the people said to Saul, ‘Jonathan won a great fight for (on behalf of) *Israel. He will not have to die. We promise by the living God that he will not lose even one hair on his head. God helped Jonathan today in this fight.’ So, the people saved Jonathan and he did not have to die.

v46 Then Saul stopped fighting the *Philistines. The *Philistines returned to their own country.

Saul fights *Israel’s enemies

v47 When Saul became king of *Israel, he fought against all *Israel’s enemies all round them. He fought people from the countries called Moab, Ammon and Edom. He fought the kings from the country called Zobah. He also fought the *Philistines. Anywhere that Saul went, he won his fights against *Israel’s enemies. v48 He fought the *Amalekites bravely and he won. Saul saved the *Israelites from all the people who had robbed them.

v49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchishua. Merab was Saul’s older daughter. Michal was his younger daughter. v50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam. She was the daughter of Ahimaaz. Abner was the leader of Saul’s army. Abner was the son of Ner. Ner was a brother of Saul’s father. v51 Saul’s father was Kish. Abner’s father was Ner and Ner’s father was Abiel.

v52 Saul fought strongly against the *Philistines during all of his life. If Saul found a strong man or a brave man, he caused the man to join his army.

Chapter 15

Saul does not obey the *Lord completely

v1 Samuel said to Saul, ‘The *Lord sent me to *anoint you as king over his people, the *Israelites. So now listen to this message from the *Lord. v2 This is what God, the most powerful *Lord, says. “*Israel’s people came out of the country called Egypt and they went to the country called Canaan. But the *Amalekites did not want to let them go into Canaan. So I will *punish the *Amalekites. v3 Go and attack the *Amalekites. Completely destroy everything that they have. Do not save anything. Kill the men and women, children and babies. Kill their cows and sheep. Kill their *camels and *donkeys”.’

v4 So Saul *called his army together. They met at Telaim and he counted his men. There were 200 000 soldiers and 10 000 men from the *tribe of *Judah. v5 Saul and his army went to a town in the country of Amalek. They waited in a valley to catch their enemy. v6 Saul said to the people from the *Kenite *tribe, ‘Go away. Leave the *Amalekites. I will kill the *Amalekites. But I do not want to kill you. You were kind to the *Israelites when they came out from the country called Egypt.’ So the *Kenites left the *Amalekites.

v7 Then Saul attacked the *Amalekites. He fought them all the way from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt. And he beat them. v8 Saul brought back their king, Agag, alive. Saul’s soldiers killed all the people with their *swords. v9 But Saul and the people let Agag live. They did not kill the best old and young sheep or the fat cows. They let all the good animals live. They did not want to kill all the animals. But they killed all the animals that were weak or worth nothing.

v10 Then the *Lord said to Samuel, v11 ‘I am sorry that I made Saul king. He has stopped doing the things that cause me pleasure. He has not obeyed my words.’ Samuel was very sad. He prayed aloud to the *Lord all that night.

v12 Samuel got up early the next morning. He went to meet Saul. Someone told Samuel, ‘Saul went to the town called Carmel. He put up a tall stone to give *honour to himself. Then he went to the town called Gilgal.’

v13 Samuel went to find Saul. Saul said to Samuel, ‘I ask the *Lord to be good to you. I have obeyed the *Lord’s words.’

v14 But Samuel said, ‘Why can I hear the noises of sheep and cows?’

v15 Saul answered, ‘The people took them from the *Amalekites. They saved the best sheep and cows. They will *sacrifice them to the *Lord your God. We killed all the other animals.’

v16 Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop talking. I will tell you what the *Lord said to me last night.’

Saul said, ‘Tell me.’

v17 Samuel said, ‘In past days you thought that you were not an important person. Now you are the leader of all of the *Israelite *tribes. God *anointed you as king of *Israel. v18 The *Lord gave to you special work to do. He said to you, “Go and kill all the *Amalekites. They are *evil people. Fight against them until they are all dead.” v19 Why did you not obey the *Lord? Why did you keep the best things? Why did you do what God did not want?’

v20 Saul said, ‘I did obey the *Lord. I did what the *Lord said. I did what he asked me to do. I killed all the *Amalekites. I brought back Agag their king. v21 But the people did not kill the best sheep and cows. They brought them to *sacrifice to the *Lord your God at Gilgal.’

v22 But Samuel replied,

‘Is the *Lord most happy when people give *offerings and *sacrifices to him? Or is he most happy when people obey him?

The *Lord is most happy when people obey him. That is better than when they *sacrifice the best sheep to him.

v23 You *sin if you refuse to obey the *Lord. This *sin is as bad as to do *evil *magic.

You think that you know better than God. That is a *sin which is like the *worship of *idols.

You refused to obey what the *Lord said. Now the *Lord has refused you as king.’

v24 Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have *sinned. I did not obey the *Lord or your words. I was afraid of the people. I did what they wanted. v25 Now I am asking you to *forgive my *sin. Return with me so that I can *worship the *Lord.’

v26 But Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not return with you. You refused to do what the *Lord said. Now the *Lord refuses you as king of *Israel.’

v27 Samuel turned away from Saul and left. But Saul pulled the edge of Samuel’s coat and it tore. v28 Samuel said to him, ‘The *Lord has torn the *kingdom of *Israel from you today. He has given it to someone near to you who is better than you. v29 The *Lord is the *glory of *Israel. He does not say things that are not true. He does not change his mind. He is not like a man who decides to change.’

v30 Saul replied, ‘I have *sinned. But please give *honour to me in front of the leaders and people in *Israel. Return with me so that I can *worship the *Lord your God.’ v31 So Samuel returned with Saul. And Saul *worshipped the *Lord.

v32 Then Samuel said, ‘Bring Agag, king of the *Amalekites, to me.’

Agag came to Samuel. Agag was happy because he thought, ‘I am sure that now I will not feel the strong pain of death.’

v33 But Samuel said, ‘You have killed many people. Now some mothers do not have any children that are still alive. Now your mother will have no children.’ And Samuel cut Agag into pieces in front of the *Lord at Gilgal.

v34 Then Samuel left Gilgal and he went to his home in Ramah. But Saul went to his home in Gibeah. v35 Until Samuel died, he never saw Saul again. But Samuel was very sad about Saul. And the *Lord was very sorry that he had made Saul king of *Israel.

Chapter 16

Samuel *anoints David

v1 The *Lord said to Samuel, ‘You should not continue to be sad about Saul. I do not still want him to be the king of *Israel. Fill your *horn with oil and go. I am sending you to a man whose name is Jesse. He lives in the town called Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’

v2 But Samuel said, ‘If I go, people will tell Saul about it. Then he will kill me.’

The *Lord said, ‘Take a young cow with you. Tell the people that you have come to give a *sacrifice to the *Lord. v3 Say to Jesse, “Come to the *sacrifice.” I will show you what to do. I will show you the person that you must *anoint.’

v4 Samuel obeyed the *Lord. He arrived at Bethlehem. The leaders of that town went to meet Samuel. The leaders *shook because they were afraid of Samuel. They asked him, ‘Have you come as a friend and not to bring trouble?’

v5 Samuel replied, ‘Yes. I have come to offer a *sacrifice to the *Lord. Make yourselves *clean. Then come to the *sacrifice with me.’ Samuel made Jesse and his sons *clean. Then Samuel asked them to come to the *sacrifice.

v6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse’s son Eliab. Samuel thought, ‘I am sure that the *Lord has chosen this man.’

v7 But the *Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at how handsome or how tall Eliab is. I have not chosen him. The *Lord does not look at people in the way that other people do. People look at the face and body of a person. But the *Lord looks inside them.’

v8 Then Jesse *called his son Abinadab. Jesse caused him to walk past Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘The *Lord has not chosen this man.’ v9 Jesse caused his son Shammah to walk past Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘The *Lord has not chosen this man.’ v10 Jesse caused 7 of his sons to walk past Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘The *Lord has not chosen any of these men.’ v11 Samuel asked Jesse, ‘Do you have any more sons?’

Jesse answered, ‘I have one more son. He is the youngest. He is *caring for the sheep.’

Samuel said, ‘Ask him to come here. We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.’

v12 So Jesse asked them to fetch him and Jesse took him to Samuel. This young man was handsome and strong and he had beautiful eyes.

The *Lord said to Samuel, ‘I have chosen this man. Go and *anoint him.’

v13 The name of the young man was David. Samuel took the *horn that was full of oil. He poured the oil over David to *anoint him. Samuel did this in front of David’s brothers. After that, the Spirit of the *Lord came on David in a powerful way. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

v14 But the Spirit of the *Lord had left Saul. The *Lord sent an *evil spirit to Saul. It made him afraid and it caused him to have troubles. v15 Saul’s servants said to him, ‘We know that God sent an *evil spirit to give troubles to you. v16 If you will let us, we will go. We will look for a man who can make music on a *harp. When the *evil spirit comes from God, this man can make music. Then you will feel better.’

v17 So Saul said to his servants, ‘Find someone who can make good music with a *harp. Bring him to me.’

v18 One of the servants said, ‘Jesse lives in Bethlehem. He has a son who makes good music. This son is a strong, brave soldier. He thinks carefully before he speaks. He is handsome. The *Lord is with him.’

v19 So Saul sent men to Jesse with a message. He said, ‘Ask your son David to come to me. That is the son who is with the sheep.’ v20 So Jesse took some loaves of bread, a leather bag that was full of *wine, and a young goat. He put them on the back of a *donkey. He sent them to Saul with his son David.

v21 David came to Saul. He became Saul’s servant. Saul loved David. David became one of the men who carried Saul’s *armour. v22 Saul sent a message to Jesse. He said, ‘David gives very much pleasure to me. Let him stay to become my servant.’

v23 So, when the *evil spirit came from God to Saul, David made music on his *harp. Then the *evil spirit would leave Saul. And Saul would feel better. And he would be well again.

Chapter 17

David and Goliath

v1 The *Philistine army came together ready for a fight. They met at Socoh in the land of *Judah. They stayed at Ephes-dammim between the towns called Socoh and Azekah. v2 Saul and the *Israelites came near together in the Valley of Elah. They put their *tents there and they got ready to fight the *Philistines. v3 The *Philistines were on one side of the hill. The *Israelites were on the other side of the hill. The valley was between them.

v4 The *Philistines had a soldier who had won more fights than anyone else. He came from the town called Gath. His name was Goliath. He was about 3 metres (more than 9 feet) tall. v5 He wore a *bronze *helmet on his head. His *armour included a coat of the same metal. It weighed about 57 kilos (about 125 pounds). v6 He had pieces of metal round the front of each leg. He had a *bronze *javelin that hung on his back. v7 The handle of his *spear was very thick. He had an iron point on his *spear. It weighed about 7 kilos (about 15 pounds). A man carried Goliath’s *shield and this man walked in front of him.

v8 Goliath stood and he shouted to the *Israelite soldiers. He said, ‘I do not know why you have got ready for a fight. I am a *Philistine. You are Saul’s servants. You must choose one of your soldiers. Send him down to fight me. v9 If he can kill me, the *Philistines will become your slaves. I will fight this man. If I kill him, the *Israelites will become our slaves.’ v10 Then Goliath said again, ‘I am not afraid to stand against the army of *Israel. Send one of your men and we will fight together.’ v11 Saul and the *Israelites heard what Goliath said. This frightened them very much.

v12 David was the son of Jesse. Jesse was from the family of Ephratah. He came from the town called Bethlehem which was in the land of *Judah. Jesse had 8 sons. When Saul was king, Jesse was an old man. v13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had gone to the war with Saul. Eliab was Jesse’s oldest son. Abinadab was Jesse’s second son. Shammah was Jesse’s third son. v14 David was Jesse’s youngest son. Jesse’s three oldest sons were with Saul. v15 Sometimes David was with Saul. But sometimes he had to return to Bethlehem. He returned to *care for his father’s sheep.

v16 Goliath shouted to the *Israelites every morning and every evening for 40 days.

v17 One day, Jesse said to his son David, ‘Here are 10 kilos (22 pounds) of *wheat that I have cooked, and 10 loaves of bread. Take these quickly to your brothers in the army. v18 Take these 10 cheeses to the officer who is the leader of their group. Find out whether your brothers are well. Bring me back news about them. v19 Your brothers are with Saul and the *Israelite army. They are in the Valley of Elah. They are fighting against the *Philistines.’

v20 So David got up early the next morning. He left the sheep with another *shepherd. He took the food. He did what Jesse had asked him to do. David reached the *Israelite *tents. The army was just going out to the place from which to fight. They shouted while they went. They were shouting because they wanted to fight. v21 The *Israelite army and the *Philistine army stood in their places ready for the fight. They stood and looked towards each other across the valley. v22 David left all his things with the officer who kept the army’s food. David ran to the *Israelite army. He went to see his brothers. v23 While David was talking to his brothers, Goliath, the great *Philistine soldier, came towards them. Goliath shouted things against the *Israelites as usual. David heard what he said. v24 When the *Israelites saw Goliath, they were very afraid. They ran away.

v25 The *Israelites said, ‘Look at this man. He shouts bad things at us all the time. King Saul will give a lot of money to the man who kills Goliath. The king will also let this man marry his daughter. The family of that man’s father will not have to pay *taxes to the king of *Israel.’

v26 David said to the men who were standing near him, ‘If a man kills Goliath, *Israel will not be ashamed any longer. What gift will he get? Goliath is only a *Philistine. Nobody has *circumcised him. He does not give *honour to our God. He should not say these things against the army of the living God.’

v27 The men told David what they had said. They said, ‘This will be done to pay the man who kills Goliath.’

v28 Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard David speaking with the men. Eliab was angry with David and Eliab asked him, ‘Why have you come here? You have a few sheep in the *desert. Who is *caring for them? You think that you are great. I know that. But you are *evil. I think that you only came here to watch the fight.’

v29 David said, ‘I do not know what I have done wrong. I only asked a question.’ v30 So David went and he asked other people the same question. All the men gave the same answer. v31 Some of the men had heard what David said. They went and they told Saul. Saul asked David to come to see him.

v32 David said to Saul, ‘I am your servant. Do not think that Goliath will bring trouble to Israel. I will go and I will fight him.’

v33 Saul replied, ‘You cannot go and fight Goliath. You are only a young man. Goliath has been a strong soldier all of his life.’

v34 But David said, ‘I have *cared for my father’s sheep. Sometimes a *lion or a *bear came and took a young sheep. v35 I ran after the *lion or the *bear and I attacked it. I saved the young sheep from its mouth. When the *lion or the *bear started to attack me, I held its hair. Then I hit it and I killed it. v36 I, your servant, have killed *lions and *bears. And I will do the same to this *Philistine that nobody has *circumcised. He has said bad things about the army of the living God. v37 The *Lord has saved me from *lions and *bears. He will save me from this *Philistine.’

Saul said to David, ‘Go. And I ask the *Lord that he will be with you.’ v38 Saul put his own clothes on David. He put his *bronze *helmet on David’s head. Then he dressed David with his *armour. v39 David put on the *sword and the *armour. He tried to walk but he had not worn *armour before.

David said to Saul, ‘I cannot wear all this *armour. I have never used it.’ So David took it all off.

v40 David picked up his *shepherd’s stick. He went to the stream. He took 5 round stones from the stream and he put them in his bag. He had his *sling in his hand. Then he went to meet the *Philistine.

v41 Goliath walked towards David. A man walked in front of Goliath and the man was carrying Goliath’s *shield. Goliath looked at David. v42 He saw that David was a handsome young man with brown skin. That made Goliath very angry. v43 He said to David, ‘I do not know why you have come with a stick. Perhaps you think that I am a dog.’ Then he asked his *gods to cause bad things to happen to David. v44 Then Goliath said, ‘Come here. I will feed the birds and the wild animals with your dead body.’

v45 David said, ‘You have come to fight me with a *sword, a *spear and a *javelin. But I come to fight you in the name of the *Lord who is most powerful. You have said bad things about the God of *Israel’s army. v46 Today the *Lord will make me powerful against you. I will hit you and I will cut off your head. Today I will feed the birds and the wild animals with the dead bodies of the *Philistine army. Then all the people in the whole world will know that there is a God in *Israel. v47 The *Lord does not need *swords and *spears to save his people. Everyone here will soon know that the *Lord will win the fight. He will make us powerful against you.’

v48 Goliath started to move nearer to David to attack him. David ran quickly to meet him. v49 David took a stone from his bag. He put the stone into the *sling and he threw it. The stone hit Goliath on his face above his eyes. It went into his head. Goliath fell with his face on the ground.

v50 So David used a *sling and a stone to win the fight with the *Philistines. David did not have a *sword but he killed Goliath. v51 David ran and stood next to him. He took Goliath’s *sword out of its bag. Then he killed Goliath and he cut off his head with the *sword. The *Philistines saw that their best fighter was dead. So they ran away. v52 The men from *Israel and *Judah shouted. They ran after the *Philistines all the way to the gate of the town called Gath. And they ran after them to the gates of the town called Ekron. They killed the *Philistines. They left their dead bodies on the road to Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron. v53 The *Israelites returned when they had finished running after the *Philistines. Then the *Israelites went and they robbed the *Philistines’ *tents. v54 David took Goliath’s head into Jerusalem. But he put Goliath’s *armour into his own *tent.

v55 Saul had watched David when he went out to fight Goliath. Abner was the most important officer in Saul’s army. Saul said to Abner, ‘Abner, whose son is that young man?’

Abner replied, ‘My great king, I do not know.’

v56 The king said, ‘Find out whose son he is.’

v57 David returned after he had killed Goliath. Abner brought David to Saul. David was still holding Goliath’s head.

v58 Saul asked him, ‘Young man, who is your father?’

David answered, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse who comes from Bethlehem.’

Chapter 18

v1 David finished talking with Saul. Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, became a very good friend of David. Jonathan loved David as much as Jonathan loved himself. v2 Saul kept David with him from that day. He did not let David go to his home in his father’s house. v3 Jonathan loved David so much that he made a special *covenant with him. v4 Jonathan was wearing a coat. He took the coat off and he gave it to David. He also gave his *armour to David. And he gave his *sword, his bow and his belt to him. v5 David did whatever Saul asked him to do. And he always did it well. So Saul made David an important officer in his army. That gave pleasure to all of Saul’s officers and people.

v6 After David had killed Goliath, he and the soldiers returned to their homes. Women came out from all the towns in *Israel to meet King Saul. The women sang happy songs and they danced. They made music with *tambourines and *lyres too. v7 They sang this while they danced:

            ‘Saul has killed thousands of his enemies.

            And David has killed tens of thousands of his enemies.’

v8 Saul did not like this song. He became very angry. He thought, ‘The women say that David has killed tens of thousands of men. But they say that I have only killed thousands of men. Perhaps they will want David as their king.’ v9 Saul had bad thoughts about David after that. He watched David carefully.

v10 The next day an *evil spirit from the *Lord started to use Saul. He was *prophesying in his house. And David was making music on his *harp as he usually did. But Saul had a *spear in his hand. v11 Saul threw the *spear. He tried to hit David and to fix him to the wall. But twice he did not hit David.

v12 The *Lord was with David. But the *Lord had left Saul. So Saul was afraid of David. v13 So Saul sent David away from him. He made David the leader of 1000 soldiers. David was their leader in their fights. v14 David won all his fights because the *Lord was with him. v15 Saul saw that David was a great soldier. Saul became more afraid of him. v16 All the people in Israel and Judah loved David because he was a good leader.

David marries Saul’s daughter

v17 Saul said to David, ‘Here is my oldest daughter Merab. I will let you marry her. But you must be a brave soldier and you must fight for the *Lord.’ Saul thought to himself, ‘I will not have to kill David. The *Philistines will do that.’

v18 But David said to Saul, ‘I, my family and my father’s *tribe are not very important in *Israel. I cannot marry the king’s daughter.’ v19 When it was the time for Merab to marry David, Saul gave her to Adriel from Meholah, instead, as his wife.

v20 Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. When somebody told Saul about this, he was very happy. v21 He thought, ‘I will let David marry her. She will cause danger for him. I will cause him to fight the *Philistines. Then the *Philistines will win the fight and they will kill him.’ So Saul said to David, ‘Now you can try to win my other daughter as a wife.’

v22 Saul asked his servants to talk to David in a secret place. He asked them to say, ‘You have given pleasure to the king. His servants like you. You should now marry his daughter.’

v23 Saul’s servants said this to David. But David said, ‘It is a great *honour to marry the king’s daughter. But I am poor. I am not an important person.’

Men had to give money to the father of the woman they wanted to marry. And a king would want a lot of money for his daughter. David did not have enough money for that.

v24 Saul’s servants told Saul what David had said. v25 Saul said, ‘Tell David this. The king does not want him to pay money for his wife. He can pay for her with the *foreskins of 100 dead *Philistines. That will *punish Saul’s enemies.’ Saul decided to cause David to do all this. He thought that the *Philistines would kill David.

v26 Saul’s servants told David these things. It made David happy to think that he could marry the king’s daughter. They decided when they would marry each other. v27 Before this time, David and his men went and they killed 200 *Philistines. He brought all their *foreskins to Saul. Now David could marry the king’s daughter. So, Saul had to let him marry his daughter Michal.

v28 Saul understood that the *Lord was with David. He knew that his daughter Michal loved David. v29 Saul became more afraid of him. Saul was David’s *enemy until Saul died.

v30 The *Philistine army leaders continued to go and to fight the *Israelites. Every time that they fought, David won more fights than any of Saul’s other officers. So David became famous.

Chapter 19

Saul tries to kill David

v1 Saul spoke to his son Jonathan and to all his servants. ‘You must kill David’, he said. But Jonathan liked David very much. v2 So he told David, ‘My father Saul is trying to kill you. Be careful tomorrow morning. Hide in a secret place and stay there. v3 I will go out. And I will stand with my father in the field where you are hiding. I will talk to him about you. Then I will tell you what I find out.’

v4 Jonathan spoke to his father Saul. Jonathan said good things about David. Jonathan said, ‘The king should not do anything that is wrong. He should not *punish his servant David. David has not done anything that is wrong. And he has been a great help to you. v5 David was not afraid to die when he killed Goliath the *Philistine. The *Lord helped him to win an important fight on behalf of all *Israel. You saw it and you were happy. I do not know why you want to *punish him. He has not done anything that was wrong. You have no reason to kill him.’

v6 Saul listened to Jonathan. Then Saul said a promise in the *Lord’s name. Saul said that he would not kill David. v7 So Jonathan *called to David. He told David everything that they had said. Jonathan took David to Saul. So David remained with Saul as before.

v8 The war with the *Philistines started again. David went out and he fought the *Philistines. He beat them. He killed so many of them that the other soldiers ran away.

v9 But an *evil spirit from the *Lord came. It caused Saul to think bad thoughts and to do *evil things. Saul was sitting in his house. He had a *spear in his hand. David was playing his *harp. v10 Saul tried to push his *spear through David and into the wall behind him. David moved out of the way and Saul’s *spear went into the wall. David ran away that night.

v11 Saul sent some of his servants to watch David’s house. Saul said that they must kill David in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him about Saul’s idea. She said, ‘You must go away tonight. If you do not go away, someone will kill you tomorrow.’ v12 So Michal helped David to get down through a window. He ran away and they did not catch him. v13 Then Michal took an *idol from their house and she put it in the bed. She put hair from a goat on the *idol’s head. Then she covered it.

v14 Saul sent some men to bring David to him. Michal told them that David was ill. v15 Saul told the men that they must return to David. And Saul said, ‘Bring David to me on his bed so that I can kill him.’ v16 The men returned to David’s house. They found the *idol on the bed and the goat’s hair was on its head.

v17 Saul said to Michal, ‘You should have told me what was true. You let my enemy go away. He has run away.’ Michal replied, ‘David asked me to help him. He said, “I will kill you if you do not help me.” ’

v18 David ran away and he was safe. He went to visit Samuel at Ramah. David told Samuel everything that Saul had done to him. Then David and Samuel went to Naioth and they stayed there.

v19 Somebody told Saul that David was in Naioth in Ramah. v20 So Saul sent men to bring David to him. When the men arrived, they saw a group of *prophets. Samuel was their leader. They were all *prophesying. Then the Spirit of God came and he started to use Saul’s men. They started to *prophesy too. v21 When people told Saul about this, he sent more men. But they *prophesied too. So Saul sent a third group of men. These men also *prophesied. v22 Then Saul himself went to Ramah. He went as far as the large well at Secu. He asked the people, ‘Where are Samuel and David?’ The people replied, ‘They are at Naioth in Ramah.’

v23 Saul went to Naioth in Ramah. The Spirit of God came and he caused even Saul to *prophesy. Saul continued to *prophesy until he came to Naioth. v24 Then he took off his clothes and he *prophesied in front of Samuel. He lay down and he wore no clothes all that day and all that night. So people still say, ‘Has Saul really become a *prophet?’

Chapter 20

Jonathan helps David

v1 Then David ran away from Naioth at Ramah. He went to Jonathan and asked him, ‘What bad things have I done? What have I done to hurt your father? Why is he trying to kill me?’

v2 Jonathan replied, ‘No. You will not die. My father tells me everything that he does, even the little things. So it is not true! He would not hide this from me.’

v3 But David answered, ‘Your father knows that you like me. He decided not to tell you. He knew that you would not be very happy. I promise that my words are true. I think that I will soon be dead.’

v4 Jonathan said to David, ‘I will do anything that you want me to do.’

v5 David said to Jonathan, ‘Tomorrow we have a special meal because of the new moon. I ought to go and eat this meal with the king. Instead, I will go and hide in the fields. I will stay there until the third evening. v6 Your father might see that I am not at the meal. If he does, you say, “David asked me to let him go to his home in Bethlehem. His father and brothers offer a *sacrifice at this time every year.” v7 Your father may say, “That is good.” If he says that, I am safe. And I will know that I am safe. But he may become very angry. If he does become angry, he has decided to hurt me. And you will know that he wants to do that. v8 Jonathan, please be a good friend and be kind to me, your servant. The *Lord knows about the *covenant that you made with me. If I have *sinned, you can kill me yourself. Do not let your father kill me.’

v9 Jonathan said, ‘No, that will not happen. I will find out if my father wants to kill you. If he does, I will tell you.’

v10 David said, ‘If your father gets angry tomorrow, how will you tell me?’

v11 Jonathan said, ‘We should go out into the fields.’ So they went there together.

v12 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘I say this promise to you and to the *Lord, the God of *Israel. Tomorrow or the next day I will find out how my father is feeling. If he is feeling friendly to you, I will send someone to tell you. v13 But my father may want to hurt you. I promise the *Lord that I will let you know about it. Then I will send you away so that you can be safe. I pray that the *Lord will be with you. I want him to be with you as he has been with my father. v14 The *Lord is kind to me. Please be kind to me too while I am alive. Do not let me die. v15 The *Lord will remove every one of your *enemies from the earth. But please continue to be kind to all my family.’

v16 So Jonathan made a *covenant with David’s family. He said, ‘I am asking the *Lord to *punish David’s *enemies for what they have done.’ v17 Again, Jonathan asked David to say that he loved him. Jonathan loved David as much as Jonathan loved himself.

v18 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Tomorrow we will have the special meal because of the new moon. Nobody will be sitting in your chair. People will see that you are not there. v19 Return to the place where you hid at the beginning of this trouble. Go there on the day after tomorrow. Wait by the rock called Ezel. v20 I will shoot three *arrows by the side of it. I will say that I am shooting at a certain mark. v21 Then I will send a boy to find the *arrows. If you are not in danger I will say to him, “The *arrows are near to you. Bring them here.” That will mean that you are safe. You can come out from the place where you are hiding. v22 But I may say to the boy, “Look, the *arrows are beyond you.” That will mean that you must go. The *Lord has sent you away. v23 Always remember the *covenant that we made. The *Lord will make sure that we *keep this promise.’

v24 So David hid in the field. Then it was time for the special meal because of the new moon. The king sat down to eat the meal. v25 He sat by the wall in his usual place. Jonathan sat with his face towards him. Abner sat next to Saul. David’s seat was empty. v26 Saul did not say anything about it that day. Saul thought, ‘Perhaps something has happened to David that has made him not *clean. I am sure that he is not *clean.’ v27 The next day was the second day of the month. David’s seat was still empty at the meal. So Saul said to his son Jonathan, ‘Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal? He did not come yesterday or today.’

v28 Jonathan answered, ‘David asked me to let him go to Bethlehem. v29 He said, “Let me go. My family is having a *sacrifice in the town. My brother told me that I must be there. If you are my friend let me go to visit my brothers.” That is why David has not come to eat with the king.’

v30 Saul became very angry with Jonathan. Saul said, ‘You have done a very bad thing and you do not obey me. I know that you are David’s friend. You have made your mother ashamed. You should be ashamed yourself. v31 You will never be king while David is alive. You will never rule the people. Go and bring David to me now. He must die.’

v32 Jonathan said, ‘Why must David die? What has he done that is wrong?’ v33 But Saul threw a *spear at Jonathan and tried to kill him. So, Jonathan knew that his father had decided to kill David. v34 Jonathan was very angry. He got up from the table. He did not eat anything on that second day of the month. He was very sad because Saul had not given *honour to David.

v35 In the morning, Jonathan went out to the field to meet David. Jonathan took a young boy with him. v36 He said to the boy, ‘Run. And find the *arrows that I shoot.’ While the boy was running, Jonathan shot an *arrow beyond him. v37 The boy reached the place where the *arrow landed. Jonathan shouted to him, ‘The *arrow is beyond you.’ v38 Then he shouted, ‘Hurry up. Go quickly. Do not stop.’ The boy picked up the *arrow and he brought it back to Jonathan. v39 (The boy did not know what this meant. Only Jonathan and David knew.) v40 Then Jonathan gave his bow and *arrows back to the boy and Jonathan said, ‘Go and take them back to town.’

v41 So the boy left. David came out from the south side of the rock. He went down on his knees in front of Jonathan. He put his face down on the ground three times. Then David and Jonathan kissed each other and they cried together. But David cried more than Jonathan did.

v42 Jonathan said to David, ‘Go and God will keep you safe. We promised the *Lord that we would always be friends. The *Lord will make sure that my family and your family will always *keep this promise.’ Then David left. And Jonathan returned to the town.

Chapter 21

David goes to the town called Nob

v1 David went and he visited Ahimelech the *priest. He lived in the town called Nob. Ahimelech *shook when he went to meet David. Ahimelech asked David, ‘Why are you alone? Why is nobody with you?’

v2 David answered, ‘The king has asked me to do something special. He said to me, “Do not say to anyone where I have sent you. Do not say what you have to do.” And I have sent my men to meet me at a certain place. v3 Do you have anything to eat here? Give to me 5 loaves of bread or anything else that you have.’

v4 The *priest answered David, ‘I do not have any bread that anyone can eat. I only have some special *holy bread. You can have it only if your men have not had sex with women.’

v5 David replied, ‘We have not been near women since we started our journey. The young men always keep themselves *clean when we have any kind of journey. So they will certainly be *clean today.’ v6 So the *priest gave the special *holy bread to David because he did not have any other bread. Every day the *priest went to the *holy place where God appeared. The *priest took away the old bread and he put hot, fresh bread in its place.

v7 One of Saul’s servants was there that day. He had to remain for a longer time than usual near the place where the *Lord appeared. His name was Doeg. He came from the country called Edom. He was Saul’s most important *shepherd.

v8 David asked Ahimelech, ‘Do you have a *sword or a *spear that I could have? The king’s business was so important that I left without a *sword or anything to fight with.’

v9 Ahimelech answered, ‘The *sword of Goliath the *Philistine is here. You killed him in the valley of Elah. We covered the *sword in a cloth and we put it behind the *ephod. If you want it, you can take it. We do not have any other *sword except that one.’

David said, ‘Give it to me. There is no *sword as good as that one.’

David goes to the town called Gath

v10 Saul did not catch David that day. David went to Achish who was the king of the town called Gath. v11 But the servants of King Achish said to him, ‘This man is David, the king of the *Israelites. The people sing about him when they dance. They sing, “Saul has killed thousands of people, but David has killed tens of thousands of people”.’

v12 David became very serious. He thought about what the servants said. Then he became very afraid of Achish, king of Gath. v13 When David was near the king or his servants, David did strange things. He was like a man with a sick mind. He made marks on the doors of the gate. He did not keep water in his mouth but he let it go all down his beard.

v14 Achish said to his servants, ‘Look at that man. He is like a crazy man. Why did you bring him to me? v15 I have enough crazy men already. I do not need to see another one. And I do not want this man to come into my house.’

Chapter 22

David at Adullam and Mizpah

v1 David left Gath and he went to a big hole in the rock near Adullam. His brothers and his father’s family discovered where he had gone. So they all went to visit him. v2 Everybody who had troubles went to David. Everybody who had debts also went to him. And everyone who was not happy went to him. About 400 men went to David and he became their leader.

v3 David then went to the town called Mizpah. It was in the country called Moab. David said to the king of Moab, ‘Please let my father and my mother stay with you for a short time. I need to learn how God will help.’ v4 So David left his parents with the king of Moab. They stayed with the king all the time that David hid in the safe place.

v5 Gad the *prophet said to David, ‘Do not stay in the safe place. Go to the land of *Judah.’ So, David left the safe place and he went to the forest at Hereth.

Saul kills Ahimelech’s family at Nob

v6 Then people told Saul that someone had found David and his men. Saul was on the hill near Gibeah. He was sitting under a large tree. He was holding a *spear. All his officers stood round him. v7 Saul said to them, ‘Men from the *tribe of Benjamin, listen to me. And understand what I say. The son of Jesse will not give fields and *vineyards to you. He will not make you officers of men in his army. v8 So I do not know why you have decided to go against me. Nobody tells me when my son says a special promise with the son of Jesse. Nobody thinks about what could happen to me. Nobody tells me that my son is now against me. He has agreed that one of my servants should kill me.’

v9 But Doeg, from the country called Edom, was standing with Saul’s officers. Doeg said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse. He came to the town called Nob and he visited Ahimelech. Ahimelech is the son of Ahitub. v10 Ahimelech asked the *Lord what David should do. Then he gave some food and the *sword of Goliath the *Philistine to David.’

v11 Then King Saul asked them to bring to him the *priest Ahimelech, son of Ahitub. And with him, they brought all his brothers and their families. They were *priests. And they lived in the town called Nob. They all came to the king. v12 Saul said, ‘Listen to me, son of Ahitub.’

Ahimelech answered, ‘Yes, master.’

v13 Saul said to him, ‘You and the son of Jesse seem to be trying to kill me! You gave bread and a *sword to him. You prayed to God on his behalf. He does not obey me. Now he is even waiting to attack me.’

v14 Ahimelech answered, ‘David is the most *loyal servant that you have. He is your daughter’s husband. He is the captain of the men who keep you safe. Everyone in your family gives *honour to him.

v15 I have prayed to God on David’s behalf many times in past times. This was not the first time. King Saul, do not say that my family or I have done anything wrong. We do not know anything about what is happening.’

v16 King Saul said, ‘Ahimelech, you and all your brothers and their families must die.’

v17 Then the king said to the officers who were round him, ‘Go and kill the *priests of the *Lord. They are helping David. They knew that he was running away from me. But they did not tell me.’

But the king’s officers refused to attack the *priests of the *Lord.

v18 So the king said to Doeg, ‘Go and kill the *priests.’ So, Doeg from Edom went and he killed the *priests. He killed 85 *priests who wore the *linen *ephod. v19 He also killed all the people in the town called Nob, which was the town of the *priests. He killed the men and women, children and babies. He also killed the cows, *donkeys and sheep.

v20 But the king did not catch Abiathar. He was a son of Ahimelech (who was the son of Ahitub). Abiathar ran away and he met David. v21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the *priests of the *Lord. v22 David said to him, ‘When I went to the town called Nob, Doeg was there too. I knew that he would tell Saul about me. I have caused the death of everybody who lives in your father’s house. v23 Stay here with me. Do not be afraid. Saul wants to kill you and he wants to kill me too. You will be safe with me.’

Chapter 23

David saves the town called Keilah

v1 The *Philistines were attacking the town called Keilah. And they were taking away the *grain when the *Israelites had just brought it in. Someone told David about this. v2 So David asked the *Lord, ‘Should I go and attack these *Philistines?’

The *Lord answered him, ‘Go and attack the *Philistines. Save Keilah.’

v3 But David’s men said to him, ‘We are afraid here in *Judah. We will be more afraid if we attack the *Philistine army at Keilah.’

v4 So David asked the *Lord again. The *Lord answered, ‘Go to Keilah. I will help you to win the fight with the *Philistines.’ v5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They fought the *Philistines and they killed many of them. Also, they took all their animals. So David saved the people who lived in Keilah. v6 (When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech ran away, he came to David at Keilah. And he brought the *ephod with him.)

Saul runs after David

v7 Someone told Saul that David was now at Keilah. Saul said, ‘God has given David to me. David has gone into a town that has a strong gate. He cannot leave.’ v8 So Saul caused all his soldiers to join him. They prepared to go to Keilah and to attack David and his men.

v9 Somebody told David that Saul was preparing to attack him. David said to Abiathar, ‘Bring the *ephod here.’ v10 David prayed, ‘*Lord, you are the God of *Israel. I am your servant. Somebody has told me that Saul is preparing to come to Keilah. He wants to destroy this town because I am here. v11 Will the people in Keilah give me to Saul? Will Saul really come here? *Lord, God of *Israel, I am your servant so please tell me.’

The *Lord answered, ‘Saul will come.’

v12 David asked the *Lord again, ‘Will the people in Keilah give me and my men to Saul?’

And the *Lord said, ‘They will.’

v13 So David and his 600 men left Keilah. They had to move from one place to another all the time. People told Saul that David had left Keilah. So Saul did not go there.

v14 David stayed in the safe places in the *desert. He also stayed in the hills in the *desert places at Ziph. Saul looked for David every day. But God did not let Saul get David.

v15 David was at Horesh in the empty places near Ziph. And somebody told him that Saul was coming to kill him. v16 Jonathan, Saul’s son, went to visit David at Horesh. He told David that God would help him to be strong. v17 Jonathan said to David, ‘Do not be afraid. My father will not hurt you. My father knows that you will be the next king of *Israel. I will be your most important officer.’ v18 Jonathan and David said a promise together with the *Lord. Then Jonathan went to his home. David stayed at Horesh.

v19 Some people from Ziph went to visit Saul at Gibeah. They said to Saul, ‘David is hiding among us. He is on the hill at Hachilah. He is there in the safe place at Horesh. It is south of Jeshimon. v20 Now, King Saul, you can come to our land at any time. We must help you to catch David.’

v21 Saul replied, ‘I ask the *Lord that he will be good to you. I ask him because you are helping me. v22 Return to your homes and make sure about David. Find out where he usually stays. Find the people who have seen him there. People have told me that David is very clever. v23 Find all the places where he hides. Then return. Tell me everything that you have discovered. Then I will come with you. I will find David if he is still near here. I will look all through the land of *Judah for him.’

v24 So the people returned to Ziph before Saul. David and his men were in the *desert of Maon. This was south of Jeshimon. v25 Saul and his men started to look for David. Somebody told David about this. He and his men stayed in the *desert called Maon and they went to a big rock. Somebody told Saul about this. He and his men went to the *desert called Maon to follow David.

v26 Saul and his men were going along one side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side of the mountain. They were trying to hide from Saul. Saul and his army were getting nearer to David and his men. They were all round David and his men. They wanted to catch them. v27 But a man came and he gave this message to Saul, ‘Come quickly. The *Philistines are attacking our land.’ v28 So Saul stopped running after David. Instead, Saul went to fight the *Philistines. So people call that place ‘The rock where they got away safely’.

v29 David left that place and he lived in the safe places at Engedi.

Chapter 24

David refuses to kill Saul

v1 When Saul had finished fighting the *Philistines, he returned to his home. Someone told him that David was in the *desert at Engedi. v2 So Saul chose 3000 of the best soldiers in *Israel. They went to look for David and his men near Wild Goat Rocks.

v3 Saul came to the places where they kept the sheep, near to the road. There was a big hole in the hill near to this place. Saul went into it to use it as a toilet. David and his men were sitting at the back of this hole and they were hiding. v4 The men said to David, ‘This is the day that the *Lord spoke about. The *Lord said to you, “I will give your *enemy to you. Then you can do to him what seems to you the right thing to do”.’ David walked up behind Saul. David was so quiet that Saul did not hear him. David cut off a small piece of cloth from Saul’s coat.

v5 After that, David felt sorry that he had cut a piece of cloth from Saul’s coat. v6 David said to his men, ‘I am praying that the *Lord will not let me do anything wrong to my master, Saul. The *Lord *anointed him as king. I must never do anything against Saul, because the *Lord has *anointed him as king.’ v7 David spoke like this so that his men would not attack Saul. David did not let them do it. Saul left the hole in the hill and he continued to go on his journey.

v8 Then David went out of the hole and he shouted to Saul, ‘My master and my king!’ Saul looked behind him. David went down on his knees. He bent down so that his face touched the ground. v9 David said to Saul, ‘You should not listen to the people who say, “David wants to hurt you.” v10 Today the *Lord made me able to hurt you in that place. Some of my men wanted me to kill you. But I let you go. I said, “I will not hurt my master because the *Lord has *anointed him as king.” v11 Look, my father. I have a small piece of your coat. I cut this off the corner of your coat but I did not kill you. Please know that I have not *sinned against you. I will not hurt you. I have not done anything wrong to you. But you are running after me so that you can kill me. v12 The *Lord will be the *judge. He will know which one of us has done wrong things. And I ask that the *Lord will *punish you. I want him to *punish you because you have done wrong things to me. But I will not do anything to hurt you. v13 You know that people often say, “*Evil people do *evil things.” But I will not touch you. v14 I do not know whom you have come to fight. I do not know whom you are running after. Perhaps you think that I am like a dead dog or a little insect! v15 The *Lord will be the *judge. He will know which one of us has done the right things. The *Lord will see what I did. I know that I have done only good things. And I pray that he will show that. And I pray that he will save me from you.’

v16 When David stopped speaking, Saul asked, ‘Is that really you, David my son?’ Then Saul started to cry aloud. v17 Saul said, ‘You are a better man than I am. You have been good to me. But I have done bad things to you. v18 You have told me all the good things that you did to me. The *Lord made you able to hurt me, but you did not kill me. v19 If a person finds his *enemy, he does not let him go away. He does not let him be safe. I ask that the *Lord will give a lot of good gifts to you. I ask that because you were good to me today. v20 Now I know that you will be the king of *Israel. You will rule all the people in *Israel. v21 Please promise the *Lord that you will not kill all my children and their families. Make sure that people do not forget my family’s name.’

v22 So David promised that to Saul. Saul went to his home. But David and his men returned to the safe place.

Chapter 25

Samuel the *prophet dies

v1 Then Samuel died. All the *Israelites met together and they were very sad. Then they buried Samuel in his family town, which was called Ramah. David went down to the *desert of Paran.

Nabal says bad things about David

v2-3 A very rich man lived at Paran. His name was Nabal. He came from the family of Caleb. His wife’s name was Abigail. Nabal had some land near Carmel. He had 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. He was cutting the hair from his sheep at Carmel. Abigail was a beautiful and clever woman. But Nabal was a cruel man who did not give anything to anybody.

v4 David was in the *desert. Somebody told him that Nabal was cutting the hair from his sheep. v5 So David sent 10 young men to the town called Carmel. He said that they must find Nabal. Then they must tell him that David said ‘hello’. v6 David asked the young men to say, ‘David hopes that you are well. He wants you to have no trouble. He wants your family to have no trouble. He wants everything that you have to be safe. v7 People told David that you were cutting the hair from your sheep. Your *shepherds have been with us. We did not hurt them. We did not take anything from them when they were at Carmel. v8 Your servants will tell you that, if you ask them. We have come on the day when you have a special meal. So, please be kind to David’s young men. And please give whatever you can to the young men and to your son David.’

v9 David’s men arrived at Carmel and they gave the message to Nabal. They waited for Nabal to reply. v10 Nabal answered David’s young men, ‘I do not know who David is. Nobody has told me about this son of Jesse. Many slaves run away from their masters these days. v11 I have bread and water. And I have killed some animals. But this is all for the men who are cutting the hair from my sheep. I will not give anything to men that I do not know.’

v12 David’s men returned to David. They told him everything that Nabal had said. v13 David said to his men, ‘Put your *swords into your belts.’ So, they put them in their belts. David put his *sword into his belt too. About 400 men went with David. About 200 men stayed with their food and *weapons.

v14 One of Nabal’s servants spoke to Abigail (Nabal’s wife). He said, ‘David sent some of his men from the *desert to speak to our master. But our master was not very polite to them. v15 These men were very good to us. They did not hurt us. They did not take anything from us while we were out in the fields with them. v16 They kept us safe while we stayed with the sheep. They kept us safe during the day and at night. v17 Please think about this. And decide what to do. Very great trouble will happen to our master and to all his family and servants. Our master is such a bad man that he will not listen to anyone.’

v18 Abigail quickly got some food. She got 200 loaves of bread, 2 animal skins of *wine, 5 sheep that she had cooked. She also got 15 kilos (about 7 pounds) of *grain that she had cooked. She also got 100 cakes of *grapes that she had made into dry fruit and 200 cakes of *figs. She put all this on some *donkeys. v19 She said to her servants, ‘You go first and I will follow you.’ But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

v20 Abigail rode her *donkey along the valley in the mountain. She saw David and his men while they were coming down the valley towards her. So she met them. v21 David had just said, ‘I do not know why I kept Nabal’s people and animals safe in the *desert. We did not take anything from him. We were good to him, but he has not been good to us. v22 I will certainly go and kill all the men in Nabal’s family by tomorrow morning.’

v23 When Abigail saw David she quickly got off her *donkey. She went on her knees in front of David and her face touched the ground. v24 She was near his feet. She said to David, ‘My master, be angry only with me. I am your servant. Please listen to what I say. v25 Please do not think about that bad man Nabal. His name means fool and he is a fool. I, your servant, did not see the young men that you sent. v26 Now the *Lord has not let you *punish your *enemies. And he has not let you kill them. You have *enemies and many people want to hurt you. But they will receive their *punishment in the same way that Nabal will. I know that this will certainly happen. v27 My master, please accept this gift that I have brought for you and for your men. v28 I am your servant. I have done wrong things. Please *forgive me. I know that the *Lord will always choose someone from your family to be the king. The *Lord will do that because you always fight on his behalf. And you do not do anything in your life that is wrong. v29 Someone may run after you and try to kill you. But the *Lord your God will always save you. The *Lord will throw your *enemies away like someone throws away a stone. v30 One day the *Lord will do all the good things that he has promised to you. He will make you the ruler of the *Israelites. v31 When that happens, you will not feel sorry about anything. You have not killed good people. And you have not tried to *punish people yourself. When the *Lord has helped you to win all your fights, please remember me.’

v32 David said to Abigail, ‘I *praise the *Lord God of *Israel. He sent you to meet me today. v33 I pray that the *Lord will be good to you. I want him to be good to you because of what you did. You showed me the right thing to do. You have not let me *punish or kill people today. v34 The *Lord has not let me hurt you. You came quickly to meet me. If you had not come, I certainly would have killed all of Nabal’s men by the morning.’

v35 David accepted Abigail’s gift. He said to her, ‘Go to your home and do not be afraid. I have listened to what you have said. And I will do what you have asked for.’

Nabal dies

v36 Abigail returned to Nabal. He had prepared a big meal. It was so good that a king could eat it. He had drunk too much *wine. He was very happy but his mind was confused. So Abigail did not tell him anything until the next morning. v37 The next morning Nabal was well again. So Abigail told him all that had she had done. Nabal’s heart failed and he became like a stone. v38 About 10 days after that, the *Lord caused Nabal to die.

v39 Somebody told David that Nabal had died. David said, ‘I *praise the *Lord. Nabal said wrong things about me but the *Lord saved me. The *Lord did not let me do the wrong thing. And now he has *punished Nabal.’

Then David sent a message to Abigail. He asked her to marry him. v40 David’s servants went to Carmel and they said to Abigail, ‘David has sent us to you. We must take you to David so that he can marry you.’

v41 Abigail went on her knees and her face touched the ground. She said, ‘I am his servant. I will wash the feet of David’s servants.’ v42 Abigail quickly got on to a *donkey and she went with David’s men. She took 5 young girls with her. They were her servants. Abigail became David’s wife.

v43 David had married Ahinoam from the town called Jezreel. So these two women became his wives. v44 Saul’s daughter Michal had been David’s wife. But Saul had given her to Palti as his wife. Palti was the son of Laish who came from the town called Gallim.

Chapter 26

David again refuses to kill Saul

v1 Some men from Ziph went to visit Saul at Gibeah. They said, ‘David is hiding on the hill called Hachilah which is across the valley from Jeshimon.’

v2 So Saul went to the *desert of Ziph to look for David. Saul chose 3000 *Israelite men to go with him. v3 Saul and his men came to the hill called Hachilah They put their *tents next to the road. This was the side away from Jeshimon. But David stayed in the *desert. Then somebody told David that Saul had followed him there. v4 So David sent some men to see if that was true. They discovered that Saul was at Hachilah.

v5 David went to the place where Saul was staying. Saul was asleep in the middle of the *tents. The army was round him. Abner, who was the son of Ner, was the leader of Saul’s army. He was asleep too.

v6 David spoke to Ahimelech and Abishai. Ahimelech came from the *Hittite *tribe. Abishai was Joab’s brother and Zeruiah was their mother. David said, ‘Will one of you come down among Saul’s army with me?’

Abishai said, ‘I will come with you.’

v7 So David and Abishai went among Saul’s *tents that night. Saul was asleep in the middle of the army. He had put his *spear into the ground near his head. Abner and the army were asleep round Saul. v8 Abishai said to David, ‘Tonight God has given your *enemy to you. I will push the *spear through Saul and into the ground under him. I will only have to do it once to kill him. I will not need to do it twice.’

v9 But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not kill Saul. The *Lord *anointed Saul as king. If anyone attacks Saul, that will be a *sin. v10 I know that the *Lord himself will kill Saul. Saul will die either when his time has come or in a fight. v11 The *Lord *anointed Saul. So I pray that the *Lord will not let me hurt him. Take the *spear and the pot of water that is near Saul’s head. Then we will leave.’

v12 So David took the *spear and the pot of water that were near Saul’s head. Then they left. Nobody saw them. Nobody knew what had happened. Nobody woke up. The men continued to sleep because the *Lord caused it to happen.

v13 David and Abishai went across the valley to the other side of the hill. David went to the top of the hill. He was a long way away from Saul’s soldiers. v14 David shouted to Saul’s army. He shouted to Abner, who was the son of Ner, ‘Abner, can you hear me?’

Abner replied, ‘Who is shouting to the king? Who are you?’

v15 David replied to Abner, ‘Are you really a great man in *Israel? You should have kept your master, the king, safe. Someone came among your *tents to kill your master the king. v16 You have failed to keep him safe. I know that you and your men ought to die. The *Lord *anointed Saul as king. You have not kept him safe from his *enemy. The king’s *spear and water pot were near his head. Where are they now?’

v17 Saul recognised David’s voice. Saul said, ‘Is that you David, my son?’

David answered, ‘Yes my master and my king. I am David.’ v18 David also said, ‘Why are you running after me, my master? What have I done? Have I done something that is wrong? v19 My master and my king, please listen to me. Has the *Lord made you angry with me? If that is true, we can give an *offering to him. And that will give pleasure to him. Or have men made you angry with me? If they have, I want the *Lord to do bad things to them. They have caused me to leave the land that the *Lord God gave to me. They want me to go and to *worship other gods. v20 Do not let me die a long way away from the *Lord’s *covenant box. The king of *Israel is looking for someone who is like a little insect! You are like someone who is looking for one small bird in the mountains!’

v21 Then Saul said, ‘I have *sinned. Return, David, my son. You did not kill me today. I will never hurt you again. I have been like a fool. I have done something that was wrong.’

v22 David said, ‘Here is your *spear. Send one of your young men here to take it from me. v23 The *Lord wants every person to do what is right and true. Then he gives gifts to them. The *Lord gave you to me today. But I would not hurt the king that the *Lord *anointed. v24 I did not want to kill you today. I pray that the *Lord will want to keep me alive. And so he will save me from all trouble.’

v25 Then Saul said to David, ‘I pray that the *Lord will *bless you, my son. You will do great things and you will do many good things.’

So David continued to go on his journey and Saul returned to his home.

Chapter 27

David lives with the *Philistines

v1 Then David thought, ‘I am sure that Saul will kill me one day. But I have a good idea. I will go to the country of the *Philistines and I will be safe from Saul. He will stop looking for me in *Israel. Then I will be free from Saul.’

v2 So David and his 600 men left *Israel. They went to Achish, who was the son of Maoch. Achish was the king of the town called Gath. v3 David, his men, and their families lived in Gath with Achish. David had his two wives with him. One wife was Ahinoam. She came from the town called Jezreel. His other wife was Abigail, whose husband Nabal was dead. She came from the town called Carmel. v4 People told Saul that David had run away to Gath. So Saul stopped looking for him.

v5 Then David said to Achish, ‘Are you happy with me? If you are, I do not need to live in the king’s town with you. Please let me have a town somewhere else in this country where I can live.’

v6 That day, King Achish gave the town called Ziklag to David. Since then Ziklag has been part of the king of *Judah’s land. v7 David lived in the country of the *Philistines for one year and 4 months.

v8 During that time David and his men attacked the *tribes of the people called Geshurites, Girzites and *Amalekites. These people had lived in that place for a very long time. Their land went down as far as the land near Shur and the country called Egypt. v9 When David attacked them, he killed all the men and women. But he took all their sheep, cows, *donkeys, *camels and their clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

v10 Achish asked David, ‘Which place did you go and attack today?’ Sometimes David would tell him that he had gone to the south part of *Judah. Other times David told him that he went to the land of the *tribe of Jerahmeel or the *Kenite *tribe. v11 David killed everyone in the places that he attacked. He never took anyone back to the town called Gath. So nobody could tell Achish what David had really done. v12 Achish believed what David had said. Achish thought, ‘The *Israelites will *hate David very much now. So David will have to be my servant for all time.’

Chapter 28

v1 After that, the *Philistine army met together to fight the *Israelites. Achish said to David, ‘You must know that you and your men will join my army.’

v2 David said, ‘Yes, I am your servant. You will see what I can do.’

Achish replied, ‘Good. Until you die, you will stay near to me to keep me safe.’

Saul visits a woman who tried to speak with dead people

v3 Samuel was dead by this time. All the *Israelites had been very sad and they had cried. They buried Samuel in his own town, which was called Ramah. There had been people who tried to speak with dead people in *Israel. But Saul had sent them away.

v4 The *Philistine army came together and they put their *tents near the town called Shunem. Saul took the *Israelite army and they put their *tents by the mountain of Gilboa. v5 Saul saw the *Philistine army. He was not happy and he became very afraid. v6 Saul asked the *Lord what he should do. But the *Lord did not answer him in a dream, or by the *Urim or by a *prophet. v7 So Saul said to his servants, ‘Go. Find a woman who can talk with dead people. I will go to her. I will ask her what will happen.’

His servants said, ‘There is a woman at the town called Endor who can do that.’

v8 Saul changed his clothes. So nobody recognised that he was the king. At night, Saul and two of his men went to see the woman. Saul said, ‘Bring up a certain dead man. Talk to him on my behalf.’

v9 But the woman said, ‘You know what King Saul has done. He has removed all the people who try to talk to dead people from *Israel. Are you trying to catch me so that you can kill me?’

v10 Then Saul said a serious promise to the woman. He said, ‘Nobody will *punish you because you have done this. I promise the *Lord that nobody will punish you.’

God had said to Israel’s people that nobody should try to speak with dead people. And they must kill people who spoke with dead people. And they must kill those who asked spirits for help. (See Deuteronomy 18:10, 11; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27.) Saul had obeyed God when he was first a king.

v11 The woman said, ‘Whom should I bring here?’

Saul replied, ‘Bring Samuel.’

v12 The woman screamed when she saw Samuel. She said to Saul, ‘You did not say what was true. You are King Saul.’

v13 King Saul said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. Tell me what you can see.’

She said, ‘I can see a *spirit that is coming up from the ground.’

v14 Saul asked, ‘What kind of person?’

She said, ‘An old man is coming up from the ground. He is wearing a special coat.’

Saul knew that this was Samuel. Saul went on his knees and his face touched the ground.

v15 Samuel said, ‘Why have you caused me to come to you? Why have you brought me back?’

Saul said, ‘I have a lot of trouble. The *Philistines are fighting against me. God has left me. He will not answer me by the *prophets or in dreams. So I have brought you here. Tell me what I should do.’

v16 Samuel said, ‘The *Lord has left you and he has become your *enemy. So I do not know why you brought me up. v17 I told you what the *Lord would do. And he has done it. The *Lord has taken the *kingdom away from you. He has given it to David instead. v18 The *Lord has done this to you because you did not obey him. You did not show the *Amalekites how God was very angry with them. v19 The *Lord will let the *Philistines win this fight. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The *Lord will also let the *Philistines beat the whole *Israelite army.’

v20 Saul immediately fell on his face to the ground. He was afraid because of what Samuel had said. Saul was also very weak because he had eaten nothing all that day and night.

v21 Then the woman came to Saul. She saw that he was very afraid. She said, ‘I, your servant, have obeyed you. I did what you asked me to do. And I might have died because I did it. v22 Please listen to me now. I want to give you some food to eat. Then you will be stronger. And you will be able to travel.’

v23 Saul refused and he said, ‘I will not eat.’

But the woman and Saul’s servants repeated that he must eat. So Saul did what they said. He got up from the ground and he sat down on a bed.

v24 The woman had a fat young cow. She went quickly and she killed it. Then she took some flour and she made some flat bread. v25 She gave the food to Saul and to his men and they ate it. They left her house while it was still night.

Chapter 29

The *Philistine leaders will not have David in their army

v1 The *Philistine army met at the town called Aphek. The *Israelites stayed by the water at Jezreel. v2 The *Philistine kings marched out with their soldiers. The soldiers were in groups of 100 men and 1000 men. David and his men were with King Achish at the back of the army. v3 The *Philistine leaders said, ‘Why are these *Jews here?’

Achish said, ‘This is David. He was King Saul’s servant. But he came to me more than a year ago. I have not found anything that was wrong with David since then.’

v4 But the *Philistine leaders were angry with Achish. They said to him, ‘Send David back to the town that you gave to him. He cannot go into the fight with us. He might become our enemy and he might start to fight us. He might want to be a friend of his king again. And it would make Saul very happy if David started to kill us. v5 The *Israelites danced and sang about David. They sang,

            “Saul has killed thousands of his enemies.

            And David has killed tens of thousands of his enemies”.’

v6 So Achish asked to meet David. He said, ‘I know that the *Lord lives. And I know as certainly that you are my good friend. I would be happy to let you fight with me. Since the day that you came to me, I have never found anything wrong with you. But the other leaders do not want you to fight on my behalf. v7 So return to your home and be happy. Do not make the other *Philistine leaders angry.’

v8 David said, ‘What have I done that is wrong? Have you found anything wrong in me since I joined you? You are my master, the king. I want to go and to fight your enemies.’

v9 Achish said, ‘I know that you are as good as an *angel from God. But the *Philistine leaders said that you must not go to the fight with us. v10 You and your master’s servants must leave early tomorrow morning. You must get up early in the morning. Then, when it is light, you must go.’

v11 So David and his men got up early in the morning. They returned to Ziklag. And the *Philistine army went to Jezreel.

Chapter 30

David fights the *Amalekites

v1 David and his men arrived at Ziklag three days after they left Achish. The *Amalekites had attacked part of the south of *Judah’s land. They had also attacked Ziklag. They had beaten the men there and they had burnt Ziklag. v2 They took women and everyone whether they were important or not important. They took them away but they did not kill anyone.

v3 David and his men arrived at Ziklag. They saw that the *Amalekites had burnt the city. They had taken away their sons and their daughters. v4 David and his men cried aloud. They continued to cry until they were too weak to cry any more. v5 David had two wives. One wife was Ahinoam from Jezreel. The other wife was Abigail. She had been the wife of Nabal from Carmel. The *Amalekites had taken both of David’s wives. v6 David was very, very sad because his men wanted to throw stones at him. They wanted to kill him. His men were very angry because they had lost their sons and their daughters. But David believed that the *Lord his God would help them. And so he became stronger.

In chapter 15, God had said to Saul that he must kill all the *Amalekites. But Saul did not obey God. Now the *Amalekites caused trouble for David.

v7 Then David spoke to Abiathar the *priest, who was the son of Ahimelech. David said, ‘Bring the *ephod to me.’ So Abiathar brought the *ephod to David. v8 David asked the *Lord, ‘Should I go after the men who attacked our town? Will I catch them?’

The *Lord answered, ‘Run after them and you will certainly catch them. You will save your families from them.’

v9-10 So David and his 600 men went out. They arrived at the Besor valley. Some of the men were too tired to go on across the valley. So 200 men remained by the river. David and 400 men continued to run after the *Amalekites.

v11 David’s men found a man from Egypt in a field. They took him to David. They gave to the man some water to drink and food to eat. v12 They gave to him some *figs and some *grapes that someone had made into dry fruit. He had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days. So, he felt stronger after he had eaten this food.

v13 David asked the man, ‘Who is your master? Where do you come from?’

He answered, ‘I come from the country called Egypt. I am a slave of an *Amalekite man. My master left me here three days ago because I was ill. v14 We attacked the south part of the land of the people called Cherethites. And we attacked the land of *Judah and part of Caleb’s land. We burned Ziklag too.’

v15 David said, ‘Can you take me to where these men are now?’

The man from Egypt answered, ‘I will do it if you say a promise to me. Do it while God watches us. Promise that you will not kill me. And promise that you will not send me back to my master.’

v16 So he took David to the *Amalekites. The men were sitting all over the ground. They were eating and drinking. And they were having a party. They were happy because they had taken so many things from the *Philistines and from the people in *Judah. v17 That evening, David fought the *Amalekites. The fight continued until the next evening. They killed all of the *Amalekites except for 400 young men. Those 400 men rode away on their *camels. v18 David got back everything that the *Amalekites had taken. And he saved his two wives. v19 The people had lost nothing. David brought everyone back, the young people and the old people, the sons and the daughters. He also brought back the valuable things and everything that the *Amalekites had taken. v20 David took all the sheep and cows and animals. His men caused all these animals to go on in front of them. They said, ‘These animals are for David.’

v21 David returned to the 200 men who had stayed by the Besor valley. These men had been too tired to go with David. David met the men at the river valley and he said ‘hello’ to them. v22 But some of the men with David were bad men. They wanted to cause trouble. They said, ‘These men did not come with us. We will not give to them any of the things that we have brought back. Each man can have only his wife and his children. Then he must go.’

v23 David replied, ‘No, my brothers. You cannot do that. The *Lord has given all this to us. The *Lord kept us safe. He helped us to win the fight. v24 Nobody will agree with what you say. Each person will receive an equal part. Some men stayed with the *tents. Some men were in the fight. But each person will receive the same amount.’ v25 David made this rule into a *law. The *Israelites have obeyed this *law ever since that day.

v26 David arrived at Ziklag with all the things that they had taken from the *Amalekites. He sent some of the good things to his friends who were the leaders of *Judah. David sent this message, ‘Here is a gift for you. We took these from the *Lord’s enemies.’

v27-31 David sent some gifts to the leaders in all these places:

·        Bethel

·        Ramoth in south *Judah

·        Jattir

·        Aroer

·        Siphmoth

·        Eshtemoa

·        Racal

·        the towns of the *tribe of Jerahmeel

·        the towns of the *Kenites

·        Hormah

·        Chorashan

·        Athach

·        Hebron.

David and his men had lived in many places. So, David sent some gifts to the people who lived in all those places.

Chapter 31

Saul and his sons die

v1 The *Philistines fought against the *Israelites. Many *Israelites died on the mountain of Gilboa. The *Israelites ran away and the *Philistines killed many of them. v2 The *Philistines ran after Saul and his sons. They killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua. v3 The *Philistines fought very strongly against Saul. Their men with bows shot their *arrows at Saul and they nearly killed him. v4 Saul spoke to the officer who carried his *armour. Saul said, ‘Kill me with your *sword. I do not want those men that nobody has *circumcised to make me ashamed. And I do not want them to kill me.’ The officer was afraid. He would not do it. So, Saul took his own *sword and he fell on the sharp end. v5 The officer saw that Saul was dead. So, the officer fell on the sharp end of his *sword and he died with Saul. v6 So Saul, three of his sons and the officer who carried his *armour all died together that day.

v7 *Israelites lived in the Jezreel valley and across the river Jordan. They saw that the *Israelite army had run away. Then people told them that Saul and his sons were dead. So these *Israelites left their towns and they ran away. Then the *Philistines came and they lived there.

v8 The next day, the *Philistines came to take all the valuable things from the dead soldiers. They found the dead bodies of Saul and his three sons on the mountain of Gilboa. v9 They cut off Saul’s head and they took off his *armour. Then they sent men through all the country of the *Philistines with the news. These men took the message into the *temples of their *idols and to the *Philistine people. v10 They put Saul’s *armour in the *temple of the female god called *Ashtoreth. Then they hung Saul’s dead body on the wall of Beth-shan.

v11 Some *Israelites were in the town called Jabesh Gilead. People told them what the *Philistines had done to Saul. v12 So the brave men from Jabesh Gilead marched all night until they arrived at Beth-shan. They took the dead bodies of Saul and his sons off the wall of the town. Then they brought the dead bodies to Jabesh Gilead and they burned them. v13 Then they took the bones and they buried them under a large tree at Jabesh Gilead. The men did not eat any food for 7 days after that.

Word List

altar ~ special table for people to burn animals or other gifts, which they offer to God or to false gods.

Amalekite ~ a person who came from the family of Amalek. Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12, 16). The Amalekites lived in the land between *Israel and the country called Egypt. They were one of *Israel’s enemies.

Ammonite ~ a person who came from the family of Ammon, who was the grandson of Lot (Genesis 19:36-38).

Amorite ~ one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the *Jews lived there.

ancestors ~ people many years ago that your parents were born to.

angel ~ a person who is not human who brings messages from God.

anoint ~ put oil on a person to show that God has chosen them to do something special for him.

anointed ~ person that they had put oil on.

armour ~ special clothes that saved soldiers from sharp *weapons.

arrow ~ a pointed stick that you shoot from a bow.

Ashtoreth ~ female god of the people who lived in Canaan before the *Jews came.

Baal ~ male god of the people who lived in Canaan before the *Jews came.

bear ~ a dangerous animal.

blacksmith ~ a man who made iron tools. He also made tools sharp again.

bless ~ to ask God to do good things for a person.

bronze ~ a strong kind of metal. It is brown or yellow.

burnt offerings and sacrifices ~ animals that the *priests killed and burnt; an *Israelite’s gifts to God.

call ~ to ask someone to come to you in a loud voice.

camel ~ an animal that people can ride on; it can live a long time without water.

care ~ do everything that we can to help someone or something and to make them happy.

cart ~ a box with *wheels that animals pull along; a thing to carry people in; horses usually pull a cart.

chariot ~ like a box or a car that horses pull along. Armies used chariots when they went to war.

circumcise ~ to cut off the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or a man; a mark for *Israelites to show that a man agreed to obey all God’s rules.

clean ~ when something is right to use because God is happy about it.

consecrate ~ make something or someone separate for God to use.

covenant ~ when people agree something together; when God and a person or people agree to a special thing.

covenant box ~ a box of wood that they had covered with gold. It contained special things to help the *Israelites to remember the good things that God had done on their behalf.

desert ~ a wild place where not many people live, often very dry.

donkey ~ an animal like a small horse. Donkeys can carry heavy things on their backs. People may ride on them.

enemy ~ a person that wants to hurt or to attack.

ephod ~ a special thing that a *priest wore when he prayed to God (Exodus 28:1-35).

evil ~ things or people that are very bad. There is nothing good in them.

fellowship ~ when God’s people are together.

fig ~ sweet fruit with many seeds.

flute ~ you use your mouth to make music with a flute.

foreskin ~ the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or of a man.

forgive ~ when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.

glory ~ power like a shining light.

gods ~ gods with a small ‘g’ are all the false gods.

grain ~ hard seed from special grasses that people could eat, like *wheat.

gram ~ there are 100 grams in a kilo.

grape ~ small sweet fruit that grows on a *vine bush. People use it to make *wine.

harp ~ a piece of wood with lines of material across it. People pull the lines with their fingers to make music.

hate ~ not to like someone; to want bad things to happen to them.

heaven ~ the place where God lives and rules.

helmet ~ a strong hat that a soldier wore to keep his head safe.

Hittite ~ one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the *Jews lived there.

hoe ~ thing with a long handle to break up the ground

holy ~ to be good and to be like God. Only God is really holy. He is too clean to touch.

honey ~ a special sugar that insects called bees make.

honour ~ when you think that someone is great and good; when you think that someone is special.

horn ~ hard point that someone has cut from a sheep’s head. People can fill it with something to drink.

idol ~ any thing that people *worship when they should worship God. People make idols from wood, stone or metal.

incense ~ something that has a sweet smell when people burn it.

Israel ~ the group of people that God chose. Israel is the name of all the people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel is also the name of the country that God gave to Israel’s people.

Israelite ~ a person from *Israel; or, something from Israel.

javelin ~ like a *sword that soldiers threw at enemies; it had a sharp point at one end.

Jew ~ someone who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Judah ~ one of the 12 *tribes of *Israel; or, the land in the south part of Israel where the tribe of Judah lived.

judge ~ a person who must say if another person is good or bad; a person who says what is right or wrong; a person who says what is fair.

keep a promise ~ do what you promised to do.

Kenites ~ people who lived near Israel. Moses’ wife’s father was a Kenite.

kingdom ~ a place where a king rules, or the people and things that he rules over.

lamp ~ something that contains burning oil. It gives light.

law ~ rules that a person in authority gives.

Levites ~ men who came from the *tribe of Levi. They worked in the house of the *Lord and they helped the *priests.

linen ~ a kind of cloth that is like cotton. It is a very strong.

lion ~ big strong animal like a cat.

Lord ~ the name of God in the Bible; the special name of God.

loyal ~ like a friend or a servant who will not stop helping you, whatever happens.

lyre ~ several lines of material across a piece of wood. People pull the lines with their fingers to make music.

magic ~ to cause strange things to happen that surprise people. These things are not usual. Magic is very bad and it is not from God. When people cause bad *spirits to do things for them. The *spirits do things that people cannot usually do.

mice ~ small animals that live near people’s houses and take their food.

nation ~ people in one country.

Nazirite ~ man who had said a promise to God. He must not drink *wine or cut his hair. And he must not touch dead bodies.

offering ~ something that people gave to God. It could be food or drink as well as an animal. Some offerings were to give thanks to God. People also made offerings when they had done wrong things.

olive ~ small fruit that contains a lot of oil.

ox, oxen ~ another name for a cow. Oxen is the plural.

Philistines ~ the *Israelites’ most powerful enemies at that time. They lived on the west side of *Israel’s country.

praise ~ to say how good and great a person is.

priest ~ man from Aaron’s family. God chose them to offer *sacrifices to him.

prophecy ~ messages that God wants to tell or to teach people, often about future events.

prophesy ~ to speak on God’s behalf.

prophet ~ a person who speaks on God’s behalf. He can sometimes tell people about future events.

proverb ~ people remember the things that clever people say. If many people remember these things, they call them proverbs.

punish ~ to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done. For example, a person who has robbed another person must go to prison.

punishment ~ the bad things that God or people do to a person who does wrong things.

sacrifice ~ to give something to God, usually an animal, food or *wine.

scroll ~ a very long piece of skin with words on it.

seer ~ another word for *prophet.

shepherd ~ a person who stays with sheep and keeps them safe.

shield ~ something that a soldier holds in front of his body to keep him safe from sharp knives or *swords. People made shields from metal, wood or hard leather.

shook ~ moved from front to back quickly many times.

sickle ~ special knife to cut *grain from a plant.

silver ~ valuable metal, like gold.

sin ~ when people do things against God or other people; when people do not obey God’s rules.

sling ~ a man used this to throw a stone.

spear ~ a long, thin piece of wood with a sharp metal point at one end. Soldiers threw them at each other.

spirit ~ spirits are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually called *angels. Bad spirits (also called evil spirits or demons) live in the air round us. Satan (God’s enemy) is their leader. A person also has a spirit. It is something like a person’s mind that we cannot see.

sword ~ a long thin knife with a sharp point to kill people.

tambourine ~ a tambourine makes music when you hit it.

tax ~ money that a person should give to the government.

temple ~ a special building where people went to *worship their god.

tent ~ house of cloth or leather. People can easily move it from one place to another.

tribe ~ a family from one man. The first *Israelites were the 12 sons of Jacob. The family of each son became a tribe.

trumpet ~ a metal pipe with a wide end; people use it to make loud music. People use their mouths to make music with it.

tumour ~ something that grows in a person’s body or under his or her skin.

Urim and Thummim ~ two things that the most important *priest kept in his *ephod. The *priest used those things to ask God what he wanted.

vine ~ plant which climbs; its fruits are called *grapes.

vineyard ~ where people plant *vines.

vision ~ like a dream but sometimes a person is awake when he or she sees it.

weapon ~ things like *swords and sticks that men use to fight an enemy.

wheat ~ hard seed that people make into bread.

wheels ~ round things that help things like cars to move.

wine ~ drink that people make from *grapes. It contains alcohol.

worship ~ to thank God and to give *honour to him, usually with other people. Often, people pray and sing.

Book List

Joyce Baldwin ~ 1 and 2 Samuel ~ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries ~ Inter-Varsity Press

The Bible Knowledge Commentary ~ Inter-Varsity Press

The New Bible Commentary ~ Inter-Varsity Press

The New Bible Dictionary ~ Inter-Varsity Press

Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon ~ Nelson

Gesenius ~ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament ~ Baker

New Bible Atlas ~ Inter-Varsity Press

Collins Cobuild English Dictionary ~ Collins Cobuild

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (on CD ROM) ~ Zondervan

For the computer ~ Logos Bible Software 2.1 ~ Logos Research Systems


©1997-2008, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

November 2008

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