The Philistines and the Israelites go to battle and Eli's 2 sons are killed in the fray. The Philistines overcome the Israelites and take the Ark. When Eli hears of this he falls over backwards and breaks his neck. The Philistines place the Ark in various cities, and each time the city is afflicted with something terrible. The eventually return it to Israel because they are tired of getting sick and being overrun with rats.
Samuel tells the folks the gather together so he can intercede for them. The Philistines view this as a readying for attack and mount up against them. God allows Israel to subdue the Philistines and Samuel erects an Ebenezer (stone of help) as a sign of God's help. I never really knew what an Ebenezer was until now :)
The people cry out for a king and Samuel gets a little jealous. God reminds him that not only did they not choose Samuel as a king, they also didn't choose God...something to think about. God says they can have a king, but it will not be pleasant; he will make some work with the chariots, plow the fields, etc. and others will be put in charge of armies and lifted up. A king will take portions of their labor and goods for himself and his court. The people are stubborn and insist on getting a king... Samuel obliges.
The passage ends without saying what is next, but its yet another example of the Israelites being blind sheep just following what they think is best. They already have a king--God! They just have to claim Him!!! Silly Israelites...
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