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have been, according to the institution of Moses. The tabernacle stood in Shiloh, and there the Israelites assembled at the feasts. Eli one day observed a woman praying in the outer court of the tabernacle: he saw her struggling inwardly, and her lips moving; but her voice was not heard, for she only spake in her heart. And Eli thought that the woman was drunk. In so thinking, Eli did great injustice to the poor troubled woman, which was very unbecoming in the high-priest. She had been praying to God for a son; because she had been married a long time, and had never had a child. When Eli understood this from the woman, he said to her, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition.”

And Hannah went away, and her countenance was no more sad, for she had poured out her heart before God. The Lord granted her

gave her a son, whom she called Samuel, that is, asked of God, a

After some years, his parents brought the child with them to Shiloh, to the feast, and his mother entrusted him to the care of the priest. When they came up to the feast, every year, they heard of him; and not long afterwards God himself spoke to the boy, and employed him as his prophet. The high-priest's own sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were wanton, worthless men, who profaned the sanctuary of God by their wicked lives. presented seriously to his sons how greatly they were sinning against God; but he did not use his authority to restrain and punish them, as he ought to have done, both as a parent and as a judge. He loved them too indulgently.

prayer, and

Eli re

a 1 Sam. i. 9__20.

One night, the Lord called, “Samuel.” The child arose and went to Eli, thinking that Eli had called him. This was done a second and a third time; and then Eli perceived that it was the Lord, and said to him, “ If he call thee again, thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Again the voice of the Lord was heard, calling, “Samuel ;” and Samuel said, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Then said the Lord, “ Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken conceming his house : for I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

In the morning Eli asked Samuel, “ What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? hide it not from me.” So Samuel was obliged to tell Eli all, however painful it was to him. And Eli said, “It is the Lord : let him do what seemeth him good.” The judgment foretold did not fail. Shortly after, a war broke out. The Philistines overcame Israel ; and the elders of the Israelites, in order to revive the

courage of the people, caused the ark of God to be brought into the camp. priests carried the ark. Eli, an old man, ninetyeight years of age, sat before the gate anxiously waiting for news. A messenger comes with his clothes rent, and his countenance full of grief. Eli asks him how the battle is going.

The two young

The messenger answers, “Israel is fled before the Philistines. Thy two sons are dead, and the ark of God is taken.”

bl Sam. ii. 2- 14.

C1 Sam. iii. 17, 18; iv. 13 -18.

When Eli heard that, he fell backwards upon his seat, and his neck brake.

The Philistines brought the ark of God to Ashdod, and placed it in the house of their idol Dagon. On the second morning, Dagon lay before it on the ground, with his head and his hands cut off. They then brought the ark of God to Ekron, and there also they had nothing but trouble with it. After seven months, therefore, they sent the ark of God back. But their dominion over Israel lasted for twenty years. And it was an evil time for Israel.

But when Samuel brought them back to the God of their fathers, God again gave them success against the Philistines, and they regained the cities which the Philistines had taken. On the boundaries of the land of the Philistines Samuel set up a stone, and wrote upon it, “Ebenezer," that is, “ Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.” Samuel ruled with integrity and righteousness, and was one of the best judges that Israel ever had.

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When Samuel was old, he entrusted part of his duties as judge to his sons; but they were inclined to covetousness, and did not walk in the steps of their honourable, disinterested father. Then the elders out of all the tribes of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, to make known to him their desire that they might no longer be governed by judges, but by a king. Samuel was displeased at this ; but God said to him, “ 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.”

About this time, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, of the name of Kish, lost some asses, and he sent his son Saul, with one of his servants, to seek after them. When they came near the city of Ramah, the thought came into the mind of the servant to ask the seer to direct their way. It was at the same time revealed to the prophet, “Behold the man whom I spake to thee of; this same shall reign over my people.”. Samuel said to him immediately, “ Set not thy mind upon the asses; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel ? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house ?” Saul did not understand this speech; but, on the next morning, the prophet went out with him, and took him aside, and taking out a vial of oil poured it

upon his head, and kissed him, and said, “ Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance ?” Saul told no one of all this until Samuel made it known.

Shortly afterwards, the prophet called the people together, and set before them their new king. Saul was a handsome man, of a noble figure. The people shouted, and said, “ God save the king.'

He soon afterwards engaged in war, and delivered Gilead from the power of the Ammonites, and gained by his valour the thanks of the whole nation. But after the slaughter of the Amalekites, he spared, contrary to the

command of God, both the men and the cattle, and proposed to offer up

in. sacrifice what the Lord had commanded him to destroy. And Samuel came to meet him, and said, “ Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings

and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” a From that time Saul became more and more disobedient and unhappy, and the Spirit of the Lord soon departed entirely from him.

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SAMUEL went to Bethlehem, to Jesse, the son of

a 1 Sam. ix. ; x. 1, 24 ; xv. 22, 23.

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