The Philistines believed that the God of Israel was
just another national god like Dagon, and after they captured the
Ark of the Covenant, they decided to place it in the house of Dagon.
The Lord would not tolerate such an affront and the situation
escalated until the Philistines realized they were cursed and
returned the Ark to the Israelites who in turn disrespected God by
opening the Ark and looking inside. Some fifty thousand died as a
result. Meanwhile, Samuel told the people it was time to
repent and reject all the pagan gods if they wanted to be set free
from the yoke of the Philistines. The people of Israel responded to
God's call and Samuel told them to assemble in Mizpeh. The
Philistines decided this was a golden opportunity to wipe out the
Israelites but these pagans underestimated the living God and He
struck them with lightning. Samuel served as a Judge and Prophet in Israel for
many years but in his old age he appointed his two sons as Judges.
However, they were just as evil as the sons of Eli had been. Samuel
was not a good father and he repeated Eli's sins. This was the
reason the people of Israel desired a king like the other nations.