It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim,1 and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD.23
And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning3 to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid4 yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths5 and commit6 yourselves to the LORD and serve him only,7 and he will deliver8 you out of the hand of the Philistines."
So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
Then Samuel9 said, "Assemble all Israel at Mizpah10 and I will intercede11 with the LORD for you."
When they had assembled at Mizpah,12 they drew water and poured13 it out before the LORD. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, "We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel was leadera14 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 afraid15 because of the Philistines.
They said to Samuel, "Do not stop crying16 out to the LORD our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines."
Then Samuel17 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.1810
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered19 with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic20 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 stone21 and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,b22 saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us."