Chapter 4

  1. And it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his first born was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after gain, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
  2. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel, unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us, like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Listen unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done, since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, in which they have forsaken me and served other gods, so do they also unto you. Now therefore listen unto their voice. Nevertheless, yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
  3. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties, and will set them to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be compounders, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants. And he will take your menservants and your maidservants, and your best young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep, and you shall be his servants. And you shall cry out in that day because of your king whom you shall have chosen you, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
  4. Nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, Nay, but we desire a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Listen unto their voice and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go every man unto his city.
  5. Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and handsome. And there was not among the children of Israel a more handsome person than he. From his shoulders and upward, he was taller than any of the people.
  6. And the asses of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with you and arise, go seek the asses. And he passed through Mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and there they were not. And he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
  7. And when they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come and let us return, lest my father leave caring for the asses and take thought for us. And he said unto him, Behold, now there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man. All that he says comes surely to pass. Now let us go there, perhaps he can show us our way that we should go.
  8. Then said Saul to his servant, But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God. What have we? And the servant answered Saul again and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver; that will I give to the man of God to tell us our way. (Previously in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spoke: Come, and let us go to the seer. For he that is now called a prophet was previously called a seer.) Then said Saul to his servant, Well said. Come, let us go.
  9. So they went unto the city where the man of God was. And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here? And they answered them and said, He is. Behold, he is before you. Make haste now, for he came today to the city, for there is a sacrifice of the people today in the high place. As soon as you have come into the city, you shall immediately find him before he go up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he come, because he does bless the sacrifice; and afterward, they eat that are bidden. Now therefore go up, for about this time you shall find him. And they went up into the city.
  10. And when they had come into the city, behold, Samuel came out toward them to go up to the high place. Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon my people, because their cry has come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spoke to you of; this same shall reign over my people.
  11. Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray you, where the seer’s house is. And Samuel answered Saul and said, I am the seer. Go up before me unto the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go, and will tell you all that is in your heart. And as for your asses that were lost three days ago, set not your mind on them, for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father’s house? And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? And my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak so to me?
  12. And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlor, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, who were about thirty people. And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said unto you, Set it by you. And the cook took up the shoulder and that which was upon it and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left. Set it before you and eat, for unto this time has it been kept for you, since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.
  13. And when they had come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house. And they arose early, and it came to pass about the dawn of the day that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send you away. And Saul arose and they went out, both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us — and he passed on — but stand still awhile, that I may show you the word of God.
  14. Then Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord has anointed you to be captain over his inheritance? When you are departed from me today, then you shall find two men by Rachel’s sepulcher in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. And they will say unto you, The asses which you went to seek are found, and behold, your father has left the care of the asses and sorrows for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?
  15. Then shall you go on forward from there, and you shall come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet you three men going up to God, to Beth-el, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine. And they will salute you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive of their hands.
  16. After that, you shall come to the hill of God where is the garrison of the Philistines. And it shall come to pass, when you have come there to the city, that you shall meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tambourine, and a pipe, and a harp before them. And they shall prophesy. And the spirit of the Lord will come upon you and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.
  17. And let it be, when these signs have come unto you, that you do as opportunity serves you; for God is with you. And you shall go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I will come down unto you, to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days shall you wait until I come to you and show you what you shall do.
  18. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came there to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him. And the spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him previously saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that has come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb: Is Saul also among the prophets?
  19. And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place. And Saul’s uncle said unto him and to his servant, Where have you been? And he said, To seek the asses. And when we saw that they were nowhere, we came to Samuel. And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray you, what Samuel said unto you. And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom whereof Samuel spoke, he told him not.
  20. And Samuel called the people together unto the Lord, to Mizpeh, and said unto the children of Israel, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: I brought up Israel out of Egypt and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you. And you have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations. And you have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.
  21. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken. And when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore, they inquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come there. And the Lord answered, Behold, he has hidden himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him from there.
  22. And when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people, from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted and said, God save the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah. And there went with him a band of men whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.