1 Samuel 7

1 The men of Kiriath Jearim came, and took the LORD’s ark, and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the LORD’s ark. 2 From the day that the ark stayed in Kiriath Jearim, the time was long; for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. 3 Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from amongst you, and direct your hearts to the LORD, and serve him only; and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 Then the children of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. 5 Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6 They gathered together to Mizpah, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpah. 7 When the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The children of Israel said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying to the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Samuel took a suckling lamb, and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD. Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel; and the LORD answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines came near to battle against Israel; but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day on the Philistines, and confused them; and they were struck down before Israel. 11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah, and pursued the Philistines, and struck them, until they came under Beth Kar. 12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “The LORD helped us until now.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they stopped coming within the border of Israel. the LORD’s hand was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel recovered its border out of the hand of the Philistines. There was peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He went from year to year in a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah; and he judged Israel in all those places. 17 His return was to Ramah, for his house was there; and he judged Israel there; and he built an altar to the LORD there.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–4

God will find a resting-place for his ark; if some thrust it from them, the hearts of others shall be inclined to receive it. It is no new thing for God’s ark to be in a private house. Christ and his apostles preached from house to house, when they could not have public places. Twenty years passed before the house of Israel cared for the want of the ark. During this time the prophet Samuel laboured to revive true religion. The few words used are very expressive; and this was one of the most effectual revivals of religion which ever took place in Israel.

Verses 5–6

Israel drew water and poured it out before the Lord; signifying their humiliation and sorrow for sin. They pour out their hearts in repentance before the Lord. They were free and full in their confession, and fixed in their resolution to cast away from them all their wrong doings. They made a public confession, We have sinned against the Lord; thus giving glory to God, and taking shame to themselves. And if we thus confess our sins, we shall find our God faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

Verses 7–12

The Philistines invaded Israel. When sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all his force against them, and set his instruments at work to the utmost, to oppose and discourage them. The Israelites earnestly beg Samuel to pray for them. Oh what a comfort it is to all believers, that our great Intercessor above never ceases, is never silent! for he always appears in the presence of God for us. Samuel’s sacrifice, without his prayer, had been an empty shadow. God gave a gracious answer. And Samuel erected a memorial of this victory, to the glory of God, and to encourage Israel. Through successive generations, the church of God has had cause to set up Eben-ezers for renewed deliverances; neither outward persecutions nor inward corruptions have prevailed against her, because “hitherto the Lord hath helped her:” and he will help, even to the end of the world.

Verses 13–17

In this great revival of true religion, the ark was neither removed to Shiloh, nor placed with the tabernacle any where else. This disregard to the Levitical institutions showed that their typical meaning formed their chief use; and when that was overlooked, they became a lifeless service, not to be compared with repentance, faith, and the love of God and man.

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