Month: October 2018

October 17, 2018

1 Samuel 11 – 2018-10-17

  • Journal
  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 11:1-7 (ESV)

    1 Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.” 4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.

    5 Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man.

  • Reflection & Application:  1 Samuel 11:1-3

    The question that plagues the minds of the elders of Jabesh Gilead is whether there is anyone to “deliver” (NIV “rescue”) them… This passage is especially reminiscent of Judges 19-21. In the earlier tragic episode … when the tribes joined to take action against Benjamin … the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead had not participated in the battles (Jud. 21:8). Reprisals were swift and severe (21:10-14). As a result, the inhabitants of the city probably have little reason now to hope that the tribes on the western side of the Jordan River will join together in order to defend them from the Ammonites.[1]

    • Given the historical betrayal on the part of the people of Jabesh-gilead, what is notable about them sending out messengers throughout Israel?
    • How do I relate to people whom I have wronged in the past?
    • Are there ways in which I am reluctant to ask for help out of guilt from the past, or some complicated mixture of shame, awkwardness, expectation of rejection, or sense of resignation?

    1 Samuel 11:1-7

    • Contrast the two responses described in v. 4 and vv. 6-7.
    • What can I learn from the fact that “they came out as one man” when “the dread of the LORD fell upon the people”?
    • What happens to a group’s unity if the members of that group begin to give into their individual fears? In what way is proper fear of God an appropriate unifying factor for Christians?
    • To what extent am I “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27)?

    [1]  Wilson, Bill T., NIV Application Commentary: 1 & 2 Samuel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. 175-185.

  • Prayer
October 16, 2018

1 Samuel 10 – 2018-10-16

  • Journal
  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 10:14-27 (ESV)

    14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To seek the donkeys. And when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 And Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

    17 Now Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’  19 But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.”

    20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

    25 Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched.  27But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

  • Reflection & Application:  1 Samuel 10:14-24
    • How does Saul demonstrate his insecurity?  Why is Saul’s insecurity inappropriate?
    • What has been my response to God’s desire to use me?

    1 Samuel 10:26-27

    • Upon Saul’s confirmation as king, two groups of people emerge.  On what basis does the second group reject Saul, and what does this reveal about their view of God?  What effect would they have had on others, Saul, and God’s plan to deliver Israel from the Philistines through the new king?
    • Among the two groups of people surrounding Saul, which group can I identify with?
  • Prayer
October 15, 2018

1 Samuel 10 – 2018-10-15

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 10:1-13 (ESV)

    1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage.

    2 When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. 4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. 5 After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”

    9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

  • Reflection & Application:  1 Samuel 10:1-11
    • What can I learn about God from the way he assures Saul of his calling?
    • Reflect on how God has “turned [me] into another man” (v. 6).
  • Prayer
October 12, 2018

1 Samuel 9 – 2018-10-12

  • Bible Text:1 Samuel 9:1-27 (ESV)

    1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth.      2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

    3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” 4 And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

    5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 6 But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.”   9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 10 And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

    11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.

    15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel:

    16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind.      20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

    22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Put it aside.’” 24 So the cook took up the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.”

    So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. 26 Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Up, that I may send you on your way.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

    27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”

  • Reflection & Application:  1 Samuel 9:16
    • Reflect on the fact that though the Israelites rejected God by asking for a king (1 Samuel 8:7), God chooses a king for them, remains responsive to their cries, and continues to work out his will (“save my people from the hand of the Philistines”) through the king.
    • What hope does this give me in God’s willingness and ability to work out his will in my life despite my many past failures, sins and mistakes?
    • Recall situations in which God has worked in this way in my life, and pray a prayer releasing past sins and failures, and affirming God’s ongoing good work and guidance over my life.

    1 Samuel 9:8-20

    • Reflect on the fact that Saul starts out in this chapter on a mundane errand as a person of no standing. Yet, due to God’s choice of him as king, Saul has been anticipated as a special guest, treated with honor by Samuel, and given a new identity.  In what ways do these events parallel the work of the Gospel in my life?
  • Prayer
October 11, 2018

1 Samuel 8 – 2018-10-11

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 8:5-22 (ESV)

    5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

    10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 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.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

  • Reflection & Application:  1 Samuel 8:5, 10-20
    • The Israelites wanted a king so that they could be “like other nations.”  Reflect on the tragedy of this sentiment given the fact that their entire spiritual identity was that they were NOT like other nations, but a separated, called-out nation.

    Leviticus 18:1-4

    1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 ”Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God.  3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God.

    Numbers 23:9  

    For from the top of the crags I see him,

    from the hills I behold him;

    behold, a people dwelling alone,

    and not counting itself among the nations!

    Psalm 106:35

    but they mixed with the nations

    and learned to do as they did.

    Ezekiel 20:32 

    “What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’”

     

    • To what degree have I embraced the call to be “called out” and, therefore, different from the culture around me?

    1 Samuel 8:10-19

    • Samuel tells the Israelites that their king, in short, will enslave them. Even though Samuel explained what this king would do the Israelites, they still insisted on having a king.  Why?
    • What are some ways people look to worldly sources for things they cannot deliver?

    1 Samuel 8:7, 21-22

    • What lesson about God’s response to human persistence and sinfulness can be learned from this event?  What insight does this provide about the world and how God interacts with human decisions and events?

 

  • Prayer
October 10, 2018

1 Samuel 8 – 2018-10-10

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 8:1-9 (ESV)

    1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

    4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

  • Reflection & Application: 1 Samuel 8:1-3
    • Tragically, Samuel’s sons “did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”  The Bible shows no clear pattern of godly parents producing godly children (e.g., Saul/Jonathan; David/Absalom).  Yet, what can be concluded about Samuel’s judgment at this juncture of his life from the fact that he “made his sons judges over Israel”?

    1 Samuel 8:4-9

    • What role did Samuel’s sons play in Israel asking for a king “like all the nations”?  What lesson can we learn from this?
  • Prayer
October 9, 2018

1 Samuel 7 – 2018-10-09

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 7:7-17 (ESV)7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

    12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

    15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

  • Reflection & Application:1 Samuel 7:7-13
    • Again, we see a biblical leader setting up a stone (v.12) as a memorial for what God had done.  What are some ways in which I can memorialize what God has done in my life?
    • Reflect on your own “Ebenezer” times.

    1 Samuel 7:13-17

    • Samuel continued to serve the people of Israel “all the days of his life.”  Picture his life, his commitment, his endurance, his love for God and His people.  How does Samuel’s life challenge my life as a follower of Christ?
  • Prayer
October 8, 2018

1 Samuel 7 – 2018-10-08

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 7:1-17 (ESV)1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

    5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

    12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

    15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

  • Reflection & Application: 1 Samuel 7:3-6
    • What are some components of repentance according to this passage?
    • What are some of my idols—those things and desires that prevent me from committing myself to the Lord and “serv[ing] him only”?
  • Prayer
October 5, 2018

1 Samuel 6 – 2018-10-05

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 6:13-21 (ESV)13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

    17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone beside which they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

    19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

  • Reflection & Application: 
  • 1Samuel 6:13-21Divine retribution continued to overtake those who misused the ark. This time some men of Beth Shemesh “looked into” the ark, a sin punishable by instant death (Nu 4:5, 20; 2Sa 6:6-7). The mourners sensed that the ark symbolized the presence of a “holy God” (Lev 11:44-45), whose sanctity they could not approach. They therefore hoped he would depart from them. [1]
    • Contrast the people’s attitude in v. 13 versus v. 20.  Are there ways in which I am ambivalent about God’s presence in my life — wanting his blessing but not his holiness and standards?

    [1] NIV Bible Commentary, note for 1 Samuel 6:13-7:1.

  • Prayer
October 4, 2018

1 Samuel 5 – 2018-10-04

  • Journal
  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 5:1-6:12 (ESV) 

    1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

    6 The hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” 8 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 But after they had brought it around, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

    6 1 The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.   2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand does not turn away from you.” 4 And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land. 6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed? 7 Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8 And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way 9 and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

    10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.

  • Reflection & Application:1 Samuel 5:1-8

    It must have disturbed a conquering people to discover their god bowing down before the ark of a vanquished people.  Their instinct to prop their god back up is a natural one.  It is not easy to relinquish an inadequate understanding of God.  Even today when our little gods fall, our first instinct is not to abandon them but to prop them up again. [1]

    • What assumptions about God and about Dagon were (or should have been) shattered by the events related in this passage?
    • What can I learn about human nature from the fact that the Philistines’ reaction to the supernatural events surrounding the ark was simply to avoid further contact by sending it away?

    1 Samuel 5:7-6:9

    • Despite the evidence that it was the hand of God, why would they still consider the possibility that “it happened to us by coincidence”?
    • Are there times when I have wanted to dismiss God’s clear hand in my life as mere chance?

    [1] Chafin, Kenneth, Mastering the Old Testament: 1, 2 Samuel, Word Publishing, 1989, p. 59.

  • Prayer
Scroll to top