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tines to Ashdod, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel ?” Then the lords of the Philistines answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried into Gath."
So the ark was carried to Gath ; but forthwith the Hand of the Lord was against that city, as it had been against Ashdod, with a very great destruction. Then they sent the ark on to Ekron, but it was the same there, so that when the people saw it arrive they cried out, “They have brought the ark of God of Israel to slay us and our people.” And they sent and gathered the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not and our people.” And the cry of the city went up to Heaven.
The Philistines consulted their priests and wise men how they should send back the ark, and they said, “ Send it not empty, but in any wise return the Lord a trespass-offering, then shall ye be healed. And it shall be known unto you why His Hand is not removed from you."
Furthermore, these heathen were so struck with the Lord's might, that they went on to say,
“Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel, peradventure He will lighten His Hand
from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. Wherefore, then, do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when He had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed ? Now, therefore, make a new cart, and take two milch cows, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them; and take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart, and put the jewels of gold, which ye return Him for a tres- . pass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof, and send it away, that it may go. And see, if it goeth up by the way of His own coast to Bethshemesh, then He hath done us this great evil; but if not, then we shall know that it is not His Hand that smote us; it was a chance that hap penedunto us."
All this was done exactly, and the kine directly took the straight way to Beth-shemesh, going along the highway, never turning to the right hand or to the left, and lowing as they went. The lords of the Philistines followed to the border of Beth-shemesh to see what would happen. It chanced to be the time of wheatharvest, and the people of Beth-shemesh were all in the valley, reaping their corn, and when they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, they rejoiced greatly at the welcome sight. The kine took the cart into a field belonging to a man named Joshua, and stood still beside a great stone. Then the Levites came, and put the jewels upon the stone, and clave the wood of the cart, and offered up the kine as a sacrifice upon the stone as an altar. And the Philistines, who had watched all this, went back to their own country.
But amid their rejoicings, the men of Bethshemesh were not mindful of the reverence due to the LORD of Hosts, and the Ark of His Presence. They forgot that none but the priests alone might meddle with the ark, and that the people were forbidden by God to come near, or to gaze curiously upon it. But they came and looked into the ark, and God punished them by smiting fifty thousand and threescore of the people with death. An awful warning to all men never to forget the reverence due to God, whether it be to His Name, His House, or the persons and things set apart for His service.
SAMUEL ANOINTS SAUL KING.
When Samuel was growing old, the people came to him, saying, “Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways"; now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." Samuel was displeased at this request, and in his doubt he prayed to the Lord. And the LORD said unto Samuel, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, 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, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice : howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the man. ner of king that shall reign over them.”
Then Samuel spoke to the people, and told them that God would give them a king, but that they would rue the day, for that he would
“Ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king which ye have chosen
you, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
But the people would not listen; they said, Nay, but we will have a king to reign over us, that we may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
And the LORD told Samuel that on a certain day He would send him a man out of the land of Benjamin, who should be anointed king over Israel.
This future king was Saul, the son of Kish. He was “a choice young man, and a goodly, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he ; from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”
Now it came to pass that Kish had lost some of his asses, and he sent Saul with a servant to seek them. Saul and his servant passed through a great many places, and found them not; and at last Saul gave up all hope of finding them, and said to his companion, “Come, and let us return, lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us."
But the servant said, “Behold, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable