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SAMUEL AND SAUL.

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

twenty years.

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 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.

35. SAMUEL AND SAUL.

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

DAVID AS A SHEPHERD.

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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36.

DAVID AS A SHEPHERD.

SAMUEL went to Bethlehem, to Jesse, the son of

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

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Obed, who was the son of the poor gleaner Ruth; "for," said the Lord to him, "I have provided me a king among Jesse's sons." Jesse invited him to a sacrificial feast with his sons, that he might see them, and anoint privately the one whom the Lord had chosen. Jesse appeared with seven sons. But much as he was pleased with them all, yet respecting each of them it was said to him, "The Lord hath not chosen this." Samuel asked Jesse whether those were all his sons. There still remained the youngest. He was with the sheep in the fields, and no one had thought of him. He was sent for. He came; a sunburnt youth of a ruddy and a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he." Then Samuel took his horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren.

From that day the Spirit of the Lord came and rested upon him. But the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and he became very much disquieted. He wanted some one who could play upon the harp, and sing, when the evil spirit came upon him. One of his servants told him of the son of Jesse, who, he said, was a valiant and a prudent young man, and a good player upon the harp. David was accordingly sent for from the sheepfolds; and Saul made him his armour-bearer.

37. DAVID AND GOLIATH.

AFTER Some time, when war had broken out with the Philistines, David returned again to Bethlehem; but his elder brothers went with Saul's army. The father sent David to the camp to see his brethren.

DAVID AND GOLIATH.

When he came to the trench, he saw the armies in battle array. And a giant came out of the Philistine army, in formidable armour, who challenged the bravest of the Israelites to fight with him. David heard of him; he heard, also, that the king had promised, that whoever slew the giant should have the king's daughter to wife, and that his father's house should be free in Israel. The reward he did not care for; but he was grieved that no Israelite should be found who had sufficient confidence in God to fight with the Philistine. He sent word, therefore, to the king, that he would encounter the giant. The king tried to dissuade him from it. "Thou art but a youth," he said, "and he a man of war from his youth." "The Lord," said David, "that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." Saul armed him with his own armour, and put an helmet upon his head; he clothed him also with a coat of mail. But David put it off again, and took no sword; but in his light shepherd's coat, just as he was, having chosen five smooth stones out of the brook, he went with a staff and a sling against the giant.

When the giant saw the shepherd boy coming, he cursed him: "Am I a dog," said he, "that thou comest to me with staves? Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field." David said, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." And whilst the Philistine was coming towards David, he

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