1 Samuel 8-9
Israel Rejects the Lord as King
8 When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel; the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. 3 The sons didn’t follow their father’s example but turned to dishonest ways of making money. They took bribes and denied people justice.
4 Then all the leaders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They told him, “You’re old, and your sons aren’t following your example. Now appoint a king to judge us so that we will be like all the other nations.”
6 But Samuel considered it wrong for them to request a king to judge them. So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord told Samuel, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. They haven’t rejected you; they’ve rejected me. 8 They’re doing just what they’ve done since I took them out of Egypt—leaving me and serving other gods. 9 Listen to them now, but be sure to warn them and tell them about the rights of a king.”
10 Then Samuel told the people who had asked him for a king everything the Lord had said. 11 Samuel said, “These are the rights of a king:
He will draft your sons, make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots.
12 He will appoint them to be his officers over 1,000 or over 50 soldiers, to plow his ground and harvest his crops, and to make weapons and equipment for his chariots.
13 He will take your daughters and have them make perfumes, cook, and bake.
14 He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his officials.
15 He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials.
16 He will take your male and female slaves, your best cattle,[a] and your donkeys for his own use.
17 He will take a tenth of your flocks.
In addition, you will be his servants.
18 “When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. The Lord will not answer you when that day comes.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. They said, “No, we want a king! 20 Then we, too, will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us, lead us out to war, and fight our battles.”
21 When Samuel heard everything the people had to say, he reported it privately to the Lord. 22 The Lord told him, “Listen to them, and give them a king.”
Then Samuel told the people of Israel, “Go back to your own cities.”
Saul Searches for His Father’s Donkeys
9 There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish. He was a son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, and great-grandson of Becorath, whose father was Aphiah, a descendant of Benjamin. Kish was a powerful man. 2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome, young man. No man in Israel was more handsome than Saul. He stood a head taller than everyone else.
3 When some donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, Kish told Saul, “Take one of the servants with you, and go look for the donkeys.”
4 They went through the mountains of Ephraim and the region of Shalisha without finding the donkeys. Then Saul and his servant went through the region of Shaalim, but the donkeys weren’t there. The men went through the territory of Benjamin but still didn’t find them. 5 When they came to the territory of Zuph, Saul told his servant who was with him, “Let’s go back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us instead.”
Saul Seeks Samuel’s Advice
6 The servant responded, “There’s a man of God in this city, a highly respected man. Everything he says is sure to happen. Let’s go there. Maybe he’ll tell us which way we should go.”
7 “If we go,” Saul asked his servant, “what could we bring the man since the food in our sacks is gone? There’s no present we can bring the man of God. What do we have?”
8 The servant again answered Saul, “Look, here! I have one-tenth of an ounce of silver. I’ll give it to the man of God. Then he’ll tell us where to find the donkeys.”
9 (Formerly in Israel, when a person went to ask God a question, he would say, “Come, let’s go to the seer,” because a person we now call a prophet used to be called a seer.)
10 Saul told his servant, “That’s a good idea! Come on, let’s go.” They went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As they were going up the hill to the city, they met girls coming out to get water. They asked the girls, “Is the seer here?”
12 The girls answered, “He’s there ahead of you. Hurry! He just went into the city today since the people are offering a sacrifice on the worship site. 13 As you go into the city, you can find him before he goes to the worship site to eat. The people will not eat until he comes, since he blesses the sacrifice. Then those who are invited may eat. Go. You should be able to find him now.”
14 So Saul and his servant went to the city. As they entered it, Samuel was coming toward them on his way to the worship site. 15 Now, the Lord had revealed the following message to Samuel one day before Saul came: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the territory of Benjamin. Anoint him to be ruler of my people Israel. He will save my people from the Philistines because I’ve seen my people’s suffering and their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel noticed Saul, the Lord told him, “There’s the man I told you about. This man will govern my people.”
18 Saul approached Samuel inside the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”
19 Samuel replied, “I’m the seer. Go ahead of me to the worship site. You will eat with me today. In the morning I’ll let you go after I tell you all that’s on your mind. 20 Don’t trouble yourself about the donkeys that were lost three days ago because they’ve been found. Who will have all that is desirable in Israel? Won’t it be you and your father’s family?”
21 Saul replied, “I am a man from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe of Israel. My family is the most insignificant of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. So why are you saying such things to me?”
22 Samuel brought Saul and his servant to the banquet hall and had them sit at the head of the guests—about 30 people. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring me the portion of the sacrificial meat that I gave you and told you to put aside.” 24 So the cook picked up the leg and thigh[b] and laid it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “This was kept in order to be laid in front of you. Eat it. When I invited people to the feast, I set it aside for you.”[c] Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 Then they left the worship site for the city. They spread blankets on the roof for Saul, and he slept there.[d]
26 At dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up! It’s time for me to send you away.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went outside. 27 As they were going toward the city limits, Samuel told Saul, “Have the servant go ahead of you.” (He went ahead.) “But you stay here, and I will tell you God’s word.”
Jesus Is the Bread of Life
22 On the next day the people were still on the other side of the sea. They noticed that only one boat was there and that Jesus had not stepped into that boat with his disciples. The disciples had gone away without him. 23 Other boats from Tiberias arrived near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord gave thanks. 24 When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into these boats and went to the city of Capernaum to look for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied to them, “I can guarantee this truth: You’re not looking for me because you saw miracles. You are looking for me because you ate as much of those loaves as you wanted. 27 Don’t work for food that spoils. Instead, work for the food that lasts into eternal life. This is the food the Son of Man will give you. After all, the Father has placed his seal of approval on him.”
28 The people asked Jesus, “What does God want us to do?”
29 Jesus replied to them, “God wants to do something for you so that you believe in the one whom he has sent.”
30 The people asked him, “What miracle are you going to perform so that we can see it and believe in you? What are you going to do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. Scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 God’s bread is the man who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time.”
35 Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry, and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty. 36 I’ve told you that you have seen me. However, you don’t believe in me. 37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. 38 I haven’t come from heaven to do what I want to do. I’ve come to do what the one who sent me wants me to do. 39 The one who sent me doesn’t want me to lose any of those he gave me. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day. 40 My Father wants all those who see the Son and believe in him to have eternal life. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day.”
41 The Jews began to criticize Jesus for saying, “I am the bread that came from heaven.” 42 They asked, “Isn’t this man Jesus, Joseph’s son? Don’t we know his father and mother? How can he say now, ‘I came from heaven’?”
32 They made God angry by the water at Meribah.
Things turned out badly for Moses because of what they did,
33 since they made him bitter so that he spoke recklessly.
34 They did not destroy the people as the Lord had told them.
35 Instead, they intermarried with other nations.
They learned to do what other nations did,
36 and they worshiped their idols,
which became a trap for them.
37 They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons.
38 They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their own sons and daughters
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
The land became polluted with blood.
39 They became filthy because of what they did.
They behaved like prostitutes.
40 The Lord burned with anger against his own people.
He was disgusted with those who belonged to him.
41 He handed them over to other nations,
and those who hated them ruled them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them
and made them subject to their power.
43 He rescued them many times,
but they continued to plot rebellion against him
and to sink deeper because of their sin.
44 He saw that they were suffering
when he heard their cry for help.
45 He remembered his promise[a] to them.
In keeping with his rich mercy, he changed his plans.
46 He let them find compassion
from all those who held them captive.
47 Rescue us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations
so that we may give thanks to your holy name
and make your praise our glory.
48 Thanks be to the Lord God of Israel
from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say amen.
- Psalm 106:45 Or “covenant.”
Wise Ways to Live
34 Righteousness lifts up a nation,
but sin is a disgrace in any society.
35 A king is delighted with a servant who acts wisely,
but he is furious with one who acts shamefully.