It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim,3 and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD.43
And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning5 to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid6 yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths7 and commit8 yourselves to the LORD and serve him only,9 and he will deliver10 you out of the hand of the Philistines."
So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
Then Samuel11 said, "Assemble all Israel at Mizpah12 and I will intercede13 with the LORD for you."
When they had assembled at Mizpah,14 they drew water and poured15 it out before the LORD. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, "We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel was leadera16 of Israel at Mizpah.
When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. And when the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid17 because of the Philistines.
They said to Samuel, "Do not stop crying18 out to the LORD our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines."
Then Samuel19 took a suckling lamb and offered it up as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. He cried out to the LORD on Israel's behalf, and the LORD answered him.2010
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered21 with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic22 that they were routed before the Israelites.
The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Car.
Then Samuel took a stone23 and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,b24 saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us."
So the Philistines were subdued25 and did not invade Israelite territory again. Throughout Samuel's lifetime, the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines.
The towns from Ekron26 to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to her, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the power of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.2715
Samuel28 continued as judge29 over Israel all30 the days of his life.
From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel31 to Gilgal32 to Mizpah, judging33 Israel in all those places.
But he always went back to Ramah,34 where his home was, and there he also judged35 Israel. And he built an altar36 there to the LORD.