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So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the Lord. They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it. The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them.

Samuel Leads Israel to Victory

Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.

Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)

When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him.

10 Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 11 The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.

12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.[a] He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

13 So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. 14 The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.

15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16 Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17 Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.

Footnotes

  1. 7:12 As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads Shen.

So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark(A) of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s(B) house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim(C) a long time—twenty years in all.

Samuel Subdues the Philistines at Mizpah

Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord.(D) So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning(E) to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid(F) yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths(G) and commit(H) yourselves to the Lord and serve him only,(I) and he will deliver(J) you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

Then Samuel(K) said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah,(L) and I will intercede(M) with the Lord for you.” When they had assembled at Mizpah,(N) they drew water and poured(O) it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a](P) of Israel at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid(Q) because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying(R) out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel(S) took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.(T)

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered(U) with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic(V) that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

12 Then Samuel took a stone(W) and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[b](X) saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

13 So the Philistines were subdued(Y) and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 14 The towns from Ekron(Z) to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.(AA)

15 Samuel(AB) continued as Israel’s leader(AC) all(AD) the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel(AE) to Gilgal(AF) to Mizpah, judging(AG) Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah,(AH) where his home was, and there he also held court(AI) for Israel. And he built an altar(AJ) there to the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 7:6 Traditionally judge; also in verse 15
  2. 1 Samuel 7:12 Ebenezer means stone of help.

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