And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.
And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
A. M. 2884. B.C. 1120. An. Ex. Is. 371. return
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
I will pray
And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
Grotius says, that the pouring out of water means the shedding of tears; and the Targum reads, "And they poured out their hearts in penitence, as waters, before the Lord." Others suppose that it was done emblematically, to represent the contrition of their hearts, and their desire to wash away their past offences. But some learned men conceive that it was poured out as a libation, in token of joy, after they had fasted and confessed their sin, as they were wont to do in the feast of tabernacles. (See note on Nu. 29:35.)
We have sinned
And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
Heb. Be not silent from us from crying.
And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.
This place was probably situated in the tribe of Dan. Josephus calls it [ ;] the LXX. [ ;] Targum, Beth-saron; Syriac and Arabic Beth-jasan; by which Houbigant supposes is meant Beth-shan.
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
took a stone
that is, The stone of help.
So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
came no more
And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
A. M. 2873-2947. B.C. 1131-1057. judged
And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
When he was at Bethel, the tribe of Ephraim and all the northern parts of the country could attend him; when at Gilgal, the tribe of Benjamin and those beyond Jordan could have easy access to him; and when at Mizpeh, he was within the reach of Judah, Simeon, and Gad: but at Ramah was the place of his ordinary abode; and there he held his court, for there he judged Israel: and as it is probable that Shiloh was destroyed, it is said (ver. 17) that there, i.e., at Ramah, "he built an altar to the Lord."
Heb. and he circuited.
And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.