The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim3 a long time--twenty years in all. Then all the people of Israel turned back to the LORD.43
So 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 Mizpah,12 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." Now Samuel was serving as 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. 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 sacrificed it 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 Kar.
Then Samuel took a stone23 and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,b24 saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."
So the Philistines were subdued25 and they stopped invading Israel's territory. 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, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.2715
Samuel28 continued as Israel's leader29 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 held court35 for Israel. And he built an altar36 there to the LORD.