1 Samuel 5-7
The Ark in Philistia
5 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. 3 Early the next day the people of Ashdod saw that Dagon had fallen forward on the ground in front of the Lord’s ark. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the next morning they saw that Dagon had again fallen forward on the ground in front of the Lord’s ark. Dagon’s head and his two hands were cut off and were lying on the temple’s threshold. The rest of Dagon’s body was intact. [a] 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and everyone else who comes into Dagon’s temple in Ashdod still don’t step on the temple’s threshold.
6 The Lord dealt harshly with the people of Ashdod. He destroyed them by striking the people in the vicinity of Ashdod with tumors. 7 When the people of Ashdod realized what was happening, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, because their God is dealing harshly with us and our god Dagon.” 8 The people of Ashdod called together all the Philistine rulers. “What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” they asked.
“The ark of the God of Israel must be taken to Gath,” the rulers said.[b] So the people took the ark of the God of Israel there.
9 But after they had moved it,[c] the Lord threw the city into a great panic: He struck all the important and unimportant people in the city, and they were covered with tumors. 10 So the people of Gath sent the ark of God to Ekron. But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us.” 11 They called together all the Philistine rulers. “Send the ark of the God of Israel away,” they said. “Let it go back to its own place so that it won’t kill us or our people.” There was a fear of death throughout the city, where God dealt with them very harshly. 12 The people who didn’t die were struck with tumors. So the cry of the city went up to heaven.
The Ark Is Returned to Israel
6 The ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months 2 when the Philistines called for priests and people skilled in explaining omens. The Philistines asked, “What should we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how to return it to its proper place.”
3 The priests answered, “If you’re returning the ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it away empty, but by all means return it to its proper place with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and you will know why he would not turn his anger away from you.”
4 The Philistines asked, “What kind of guilt offering should we give him?”
The priests answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice for the five Philistine rulers because all of you and your rulers suffer from the same plague. 5 Make models of your tumors and your mice which are destroying the country, and give glory to the God of Israel. Maybe he will no longer be so hard on you, your gods, and your country. 6 Why should you be as stubborn as the Egyptians and their Pharaoh were? After he toyed with the Egyptians, didn’t they send the Israelites on their way? 7 Now get a new cart ready for two dairy cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart. Take their calves away, and leave them in their stall. 8 Take the ark of the Lord, and put it on the cart. Put the gold objects which you’re giving him as a guilt offering in a box beside the ark. Send the cart on its way, 9 but then watch where it goes. If it goes up the road to its own country toward Beth Shemesh, then this disaster is the Lord’s doing. But if not, we’ll know it wasn’t his hand that struck us, but what happened to us was an accident.”
10 The people did this. They took two dairy cows, hitched them to a cart, and shut the calves in the stall. 11 They put the ark of the Lord and the box containing the gold mice and the models of their hemorrhoids on the cart. 12 The cows went straight up the road to Beth Shemesh. Continually mooing, they stayed on the road and didn’t turn right or left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth Shemesh.
13 The people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they were overjoyed. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped there by a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 (The Levites had already taken down from the cart the ark of the Lord and the box which contained the gold objects and put them on the large rock.) The people of Beth Shemesh presented burnt offerings and sacrifices to the Lord that day. 16 After the five rulers of the Philistines saw this, they went back to Ekron that same day.
17 The gold hemorrhoids which the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord were for the cities of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 18 And the number of gold mice was the same as the number of Philistine cities belonging to the five rulers, including walled cities and farm villages. The large rock on which they put the ark of the Lord is a witness.[d] It is still there today in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
19 God struck down some of the people from Beth Shemesh because they looked inside the ark of the Lord. He struck down 70 people.[e] The people mourned because the Lord struck them with such a great blow. 20 The people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to which people will he go when he leaves us?” 21 They sent messengers to the people living at Kiriath Jearim to say, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the Lord. Come and take it back with you.”
7 The men of Kiriath Jearim came to take the Lord’s ark and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill. They gave Abinadab’s son Eleazar the holy occupation of guarding the Lord’s ark.
Israel Admits It Has Sinned
2 A long time passed after the ark came to stay at Kiriath Jearim. For 20 years the entire nation of Israel mournfully sought the Lord.
3 Samuel told the entire nation of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord wholeheartedly, get rid of the foreign gods you have, including the statues of the goddess Astarte. Make a commitment to the Lord, and serve only him. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”
4 So the Israelites got rid of the statues of Baal and Astarte and served only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all the Israelites together at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So the Israelites gathered together at Mizpah. They drew some water, poured it out in front of the Lord, and fasted that day. They confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel judged Israel in Mizpah.
The Philistines Defeated
7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the Philistine rulers came to attack Israel. The Israelites heard about the Philistine plan and were afraid of them. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t turn a deaf ear to us! Don’t stop crying to the Lord our God for us! Ask him to save us from the Philistines!”
9 Then Samuel took a lamb, one still feeding on milk, and sacrificed it as a burnt offering to the Lord. Samuel cried to the Lord on behalf of Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines came to fight against Israel. On that day the Lord thundered loudly at the Philistines and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel. 11 Israel’s soldiers left Mizpah, pursued the Philistines, and killed them as far as Beth Car.
12 Then Samuel took a rock and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer [Rock of Help] and said, “Until now the Lord has helped us.”
13 The power of the Philistines was crushed, so they didn’t come into Israel’s territory again. The Lord restrained the Philistines as long as Samuel lived. 14 The cities between Ekron and Gath which the Philistines took from Israel were returned to Israel. And Israel recovered the territory controlled by these cities from the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived. 16 Every year he went around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah in order to judge Israel in all those places. 17 Then he would return home to Ramah. There, too, he judged Israel. And in Ramah he built an altar to the Lord.
- 1 Samuel 5:5 Greek; Masoretic Text “Only Dagon was left.”
- 1 Samuel 5:8 Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek read “The citizens of Gath said, ‘Let the ark of God be brought to us.’”
- 1 Samuel 5:9 Dead Sea Scrolls add “to Gath.”
- 1 Samuel 6:18 Hebrew meaning uncertain.
- 1 Samuel 6:19 “70 people” is found in a few Hebrew manuscripts and the writings of the ancient Jewish historian Josephus. Masoretic Text and Greek read “50,070 people.”
Jesus Feeds More Than Five Thousand(A)
6 Jesus later crossed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or the Sea of Tiberias). 2 A large crowd followed him because they saw the miracles that he performed for the sick. 3 Jesus went up a mountain and sat with his disciples. 4 The time for the Jewish Passover festival was near.
5 As Jesus saw a large crowd coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 Jesus asked this question to test him. He already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered, “We would need about a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.”
8 One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, told him, 9 “A boy who has five loaves of barley bread and two small fish is here. But they won’t go very far for so many people.”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
The people had plenty of grass to sit on. (There were about 5,000 men in the crowd.)
11 Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to the people who were sitting there. He did the same thing with the fish. All the people ate as much as they wanted.
12 When the people were full, Jesus told his disciples, “Gather the leftover pieces so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 The disciples gathered the leftover pieces of bread and filled twelve baskets.
14 When the people saw the miracle Jesus performed, they said, “This man is certainly the prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus realized that the people intended to take him by force and make him king. So he returned to the mountain by himself.
Jesus Walks on the Sea(B)
16 When evening came, his disciples went to the sea. 17 They got into a boat and started to cross the sea to the city of Capernaum. By this time it was dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 A strong wind started to blow and stir up the sea.
19 After they had rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was coming near the boat, and they became terrified.
20 Jesus told them, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid!”
21 So they were willing to help Jesus into the boat. Immediately, the boat reached the shore where they were going.
13 They quickly forgot what he did.
They did not wait for his advice.
14 They had an unreasonable desire for food in the wilderness.
In the desert they tested God.
15 He gave them what they asked for.
He also gave them a degenerative disease.
16 In the camp certain men became envious of Moses.
They also became envious of Aaron, the Lord’s holy one.
17 The ground split open and swallowed Dathan.
It buried Abiram’s followers.
18 A fire broke out among their followers.
Flames burned up wicked people.
19 At Mount Horeb they made a statue of a calf.
They worshiped an idol made of metal.
20 They traded their glorious God[a]
for the statue of a bull that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their savior,
the one who did spectacular things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham,
and terrifying things at the Red Sea.
23 God said he was going to destroy them,
but Moses, his chosen one, stood in his way
to prevent him from exterminating them.
24 They refused to enter the pleasant land.
They did not believe what he said.
25 They complained in their tents.
They did not obey the Lord.
26 Raising his hand, he swore
that he would kill them in the wilderness,
27 kill their descendants among the nations,
and scatter them throughout various lands.
28 They joined in worshiping the god Baal while they were at Peor,
and they ate what was sacrificed to the dead.
29 They infuriated God by what they did,
and a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood between God and the people,
and the plague was stopped.
31 Because of this, Phinehas was considered righteous forever,
throughout every generation.
- Psalm 106:20 Or “their glory.”