Thursday, February 25, 2021
Eleventh Day of Great Lent
I Samuel 4:1-18
I Samuel 4:1-18
 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.
Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines; they encamped at Ebene’zer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek.
 The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the field of battle.
 And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD put us to rout today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, that he may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”
 So the people sent to Shiloh, and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phin’ehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
 When the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded.
 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the LORD had come to the camp,
 the Philistines were afraid; for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before.
 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who smote the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness.
 Take courage, and acquit yourselves like men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; acquit yourselves like men and fight.”
 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home; and there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.
 And the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phin’ehas, were slain.
 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line, and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes rent and with earth upon his head.
 When he arrived, Eli was sitting upon his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out.
 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hastened and came and told Eli.
 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set, so that he could not see.
 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?”
 He who brought the tidings answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great slaughter among the people; your two sons also, Hophni and Phin’ehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”
 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.
 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
and the man who gets understanding,
 for the gain from it is better than gain from silver
and its profit better than gold.
 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.
 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
 by his knowledge the deeps broke forth,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
 My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion;
let them not escape from your sight,
 and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
 Then you will walk on your way securely
and your foot will not stumble.
 If you sit down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
 Do not be afraid of sudden panic,
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes;
 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it” — when you have it with you.
 Do not plan evil against your neighbor
who dwells trustingly beside you.
 Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.
 Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways;
 for the perverse man is an abomination to the LORD,
but the upright are in his confidence.
 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the abode of the righteous.
 Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he shows favor.
 The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.
 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight;
 for I give you good precepts:
do not forsake my teaching.
 When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
 he taught me, and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live;
 do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Get wisdom; get insight.
 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
 She will place on your head a fair garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.
 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
 When you walk, your step will not be hampered;
and if you run, you will not stumble.
 Keep hold of instruction, do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of evil men.
 And you, O generation, heed the word of the LORD.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, `We are free,
we will come no more to thee’?
 Can a maiden forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me
days without number.
 “How well you direct your course
to seek lovers!
So that even to wicked women
you have taught your ways.
 Also on your skirts is found
the lifeblood of guiltless poor;
you did not find them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all these things
 you say, `I am innocent;
surely his anger has turned from me.’
Behold, I will bring you to judgment
for saying, `I have not sinned.’
 How lightly you gad about,
changing your way!
You shall be put to shame by Egypt
as you were put to shame by Assyria.
 From it too you will come away
with your hands upon your head,
for the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you will not prosper by them.
 “If a man divorces his wife
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the harlot with many lovers;
and would you return to me? says the LORD.
 Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
Where have you not been lain with?
By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
with your vile harlotry.
 Therefore the showers have been withheld,
and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have a harlot’s brow,
you refuse to be ashamed.
 Have you not just now called to me,
`My father, thou art the friend of my youth —
 will he be angry for ever,
will he be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken,
but you have done all the evil that you could.”
 The LORD said to me in the days of King Josi’ah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the harlot?
 And I thought, `After she has done all this she will return to me’; but she did not return, and her false sister Judah saw it.
 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce; yet her false sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the harlot.
 Because harlotry was so light to her, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree.
 Yet for all this her false sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, says the LORD.”
 And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself less guilty than false Judah.
 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, `Return, faithless Israel, says the LORD.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful, says the LORD;
I will not be angry for ever.
 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the LORD your God
and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice, says the LORD.
 Return, O faithless children, says the LORD;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
 “`And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; it shall not be made again.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America