And the word of Samuel came to all Israel
Or was "known", as the Targum, the word of prophecy by him, which related to what befell Eli and his family; this was spread throughout the land, and everyone almost had knowledge of it, and which began to be fulfilled in the war between Israel and the Philistines, later related; or the doctrine, instructions, and exhortations of Samuel to the people of Israel, were by the means of others conveyed throughout the land; and yet they went into measures which proved fatal and ruinous to them; or the word of Samuel, which was from the Lord, came to Israel, to stir them up to go to war with the Philistines, whereby the punishment threatened to Eli's family would begin to have its accomplishment:
now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle;
according to the word of Samuel, or of the Lord by him; though Ben Gersom thinks they did this of themselves, which was their sin, and did not ask counsel of the Lord, nor of Samuel his prophet; but it seems as if the Philistines were the aggressors, and first came forth to war against them, and they went out to meet them F1, as the word is, and defend themselves as it became them: this was forty years after the death of Samson, and at the end of Eli's government, who judged Israel so many years, when they had recruited themselves, and recovered their losses they sustained by Samson; and when they perceived a new judge was raised up among the Israelites, who was likely to be of great service to them, and to prevent their authority over them, and therefore thought to begin with them as soon as possible:
and pitched beside Ebenezer;
a place so called by anticipation, and had its name from an later victory obtained, when Samuel set up a stone between Mizpeh and Shen, and called it by this name, ( 1 Samuel 7:12 ) , it signifies a stone of help:
and the Philistines pitched in Aphek;
a city in the tribe of Judah, bordering on the Philistines, (See Gill on Joshua 12:18).