This map might help you follow the reading. We know the Philistines control the south region, mainly Judah, but now they are extending north. The Tabernacle is in Shiloh. The Phiipstines control 5 major cities- Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, Ekron. As the Israelites get defeated they decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant like a “good luck charm”. We really need you to stop and think about the scene.
For the kids:
ONLY 1 day of the whole year would the Hight Priest go behind the curtain in the tabernacle to make an atonement for all the people. God is HOLY! HERE we have “scoundrels” Hophni and Phineas with the ark bringing it into the battle scene. This is not Jericho, a battle designed by God!!
The ark is captured, the prophecy of Hophni, Phineas and Eli are fulfilled.
If you have any interest in following the Priestly line, feel free to print this. Remember High Priests only come from Aaron’s line. (It reads from the bottom up). Click here.
Chapter 5: Use the map above to follow the Ark. It is then placed in the pagan temple next to their head god (no pun intended), Dagon.
Chapter 6: Meanwhile, the Lord is afflicting the people in the cities with tumors, diseases carried by rats, and death through Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron. (I know this is hard to picture…so if they had Fox News they would be sitting around the TV looking at a map to see where the disease hit next as the death toll rises each day: Interesting right!!) So let me ask you: if any of their gods are so great…why don’t they help! They KNOW that LORD is stronger and they want to return their stolen property. To ensure that it is received they send it with gold gifts. The implications of the cows’ actions would have been obvious to the Philistines that the Israelite God had indeed been inflicting them. They travel to Beth Shemesh, a town of Priests (Josh 21:16) who can take the Ark off their hands.
BUT the people in Beth Shemesh (so fun to say) “peek” inside the Tabernacle and 70 people drop dead (as warned in Numbers 4:5). Distraught at the death of these men they follow the example of the Philistines and send it to Kiriath Jearim to stay in Abinadab’s house.
Chapter 7. Finally, a Judge calls them to repentance and the Israelites rid themselves of the chief pagan gods: Baals and Ashtoreths. The Philistines were subdued (not permanently).
Chapter 8- HUGE MOMENT.
- God as KIng (the 1st five books of the Bible taught this was God’s plan)- Theocracy
- Foreign gods were worshipped- Anarchy
- The Israelites want a human king- Monarchy
Verse 9 God says “warn them before we go forward with their plan”. So Samuel warns them!
- a king will draft people into an army (this will happen in ch. 14 with Saul)
- a king will have young men run in front of the chariots (Abselon will do this in 1 Sam 15)
- a king will make you slaves (Solomon does this to build the temple and his house_
- a king will steal your fields (Jezebel will steal Nacoth’s Vineyard in 1 Kings 21)
- a king will use your property for his own personal gain (Solomon will give land away in Tyre)
- a king will demand a tenth of your harvest/flocks (Rehoboam wants to tax the people MORE than Solomon)
So after that speech…the people say “We want to be like everyone else…we will take it!!”
Finally, in verse 21 the Lord says to Samuel “Listen to them and give them a king”.
Buckle up kids!!