Story Seventeen

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
WHEN the ark of God was taken and the Tabernacle fell into ruins, Săḿ u-el was still a boy. He went to his father's house at Rā́ mah, which was in the mountains, about four miles north of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lem.
Rā́ mah was the home of Săḿ u-el after this as long as he lived.
For some years, while Săḿ u-el was growing up, there was no judge in Ĭś̝ ra-el, and no head of the tribes. The Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ ruled the people and took from them a large part of their harvests, their sheep, and their oxen. Often in their need they thought of the ark of the Lord, standing alone in the house at Ki͂ŕ jath=jḗ a-rĭm. And the eyes of all the people turned to the young Săḿ u-el growing up at Rā́ mah. For Săḿ u-el walked with God, and God spoke to Săḿ u-el, as God had spoken to Ā́ bră-hăm, and to Mṓ s̝es̝, and to Jŏsh́ u-a.
As soon as Săḿ u-el had grown up to be a man, he began to go among the tribes and to give to the people everywhere God's word to them. And this was what Săḿ u-el said:
"If you will really come back with all your heart to the Lord God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, put away the false gods, the images of Bā́ al, and of Ăsh-ḗ rah, and seek the Lord alone and serve him, then God will set you free from the Phĭ-lĭś tines̝.
After Săḿ u-el's words the people began to throw down the idols and to pray to the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el. And Săḿ u-el called the people from all the land to gather in one place, as many as could come. They met at a place called Mĭź pah, in the mountains of Bĕń ja-mĭn, not far from jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm.
There Săḿ u-el prayed for the people, and asked God to forgive their sin in turning away from God to idols. They confessed their wrong-doings, and made a solemn promise to serve the Lord, and to serve the Lord only.
The Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ upon the plain beside the Great Sea heard of this meeting. They feared that the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes̝ were about to, break away from their rule, and they came up with an army to drive the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes̝ away to their homes and keep them under the rule of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝.
When the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes̝ saw the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ coming against them they were greatly alarmed. The Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ were men of war, with swords, and shields, and spears, and they were trained in fighting; while the men of Ĭś̝ ra-el had not seen war. It was more than twenty years since their fathers had fought the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ and twice had been beaten by them. They had neither weapons nor training, and they felt themselves helpless against their enemies. They looked to just as children would look to a father, and they said to him, "Do not cease praying and crying to the Lord for us, that he may save us from the Phĭ-lĭś tines̝.”
Then Săḿ u-el took a lamb and offered it up to the Lord as a burnt-offering for the people, and he prayed mightily that God would help Ĭś̝ ra-el; and God heard his prayer.
Just as the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ were rushing upon the helpless men of Īś̝ ra-el there came a great storm with rolling thunder and flashing lightning. Such storms do not come often in that land, and this was so heavy that it frightened the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes. They threw down their spears and swords in sudden terror and ran away.
The men of Ĭś̝ ra-el picked up these arms and gathered such other weapons as they could find, and they followed the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ and killed many of them, and won a great victory over them. By this one stroke the power of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ was broken, and they lost their rule over Ĭś̝ ra-el. And it so happened that the place where Săḿ u-el won this great victory was the very place where the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes had been beaten twice before, the place where the ark of God had been taken, as we read in the last Story. On the battlefield Săḿ u-el set up a great stone to mark the place, and he gave it the name Ēb́ en=ḗ zēr, which means "The Stone of Help.”
"For," said Săḿ u-el, "this was the place where the Lord helped us.”
After this defeat the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ came no more into the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el in the years while Săḿ u-el ruled as judge over the tribes. He was the fifteenth of the judges, and the last. He went throughout the land, and people everywhere brought to him their questions and their differences for Săḿ u-el to decide, for they knew that he was a good man and would do justly between man and man. From each journey he came back to Rā́ mah: There was his home, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Săḿ u-el lived many years, and ruled the people wisely, so that all trusted in him. He taught the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes̝ to worship the Lord God, and to put away the idols, which so many of them had served. While Săḿ u-el ruled there was peace in all the tribes, and no enemies came from the lands around to do harm to the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes̝. But the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ were still very strong, and held rule over some parts of Ĭś̝ ra-el near their own land, although there was no war. Săḿ u-el was not a man of war, like Ḡĭd́ e-on or Jĕph́ thah, but a man of peace, and his rule was quiet, though it was strong.
Lesson 19. The Last of the Judges.
(Omit Stories 13 and 14 in Part Second. Tell Stories 15, 16, 17.)
1. Who was the fourteenth of the fifteen judges in Israel? Eli, who was also priest.
2. What woman brought her little child to Eli in the house of God? Hannah.
3. What was her little boy's name? Samuel.
4. Where did Samuel grow up? In the house of the Lord.
5. What came to Samuel while he was a child? The voice of the Lord.
6. What did Samuel answer when the Lord spoke to him? "Speak, for thy servant heareth.”
7. What was Samuel when he became a man? The last of the judges in Israel.
8. What did Samuel do as judge? He brought the people back to God.
9. What did the prayers of Samuel give to the people? Victory over their enemies.
10. What is said of Samuel as a ruler? He was wise and good.
11. At what place did Samuel live while he was judge? At Ramah.