1 Samuel 7

1 And they did. The men of Kiriath Jearim came and got the Chest of God and delivered it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. They ordained his son, Eleazar, to take responsibility for the Chest of God.
2 From the time that the Chest came to rest in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed - twenty years it was - and throughout Israel there was a widespread, fearful movement toward God.
3 Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he'll save you from Philistine oppression."
4 They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God.
5 Next Samuel said, "Get everybody together at Mizpah and I'll pray for you."
6 So everyone assembled at Mizpah. They drew water from the wells and poured it out before God in a ritual of cleansing. They fasted all day and prayed, "We have sinned against God." So Samuel prepared the Israelites for holy war there at Mizpah. The Place Where God Helped Us
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel was meeting at Mizpah, the Philistine leaders went on the offensive. Israel got the report and became frightened - Philistines on the move again!
8 They pleaded with Samuel, "Pray with all your might! And don't let up! Pray to God, our God, that he'll save us from the boot of the Philistines."
9 Samuel took a young lamb not yet weaned and offered it whole as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God. He prayed fervently to God, interceding for Israel. And God answered.
10 While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then God thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked - mass confusion! - and ran helter-skelter from Israel.
11 Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car.
12 Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it "Ebenezer" (Rock of Help), saying, "This marks the place where God helped us."
13 The Philistines learned their lesson and stayed home - no more border crossings. God was hard on the Philistines all through Samuel's lifetime.
14 All the cities from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored. Israel also freed the surrounding countryside from Philistine control. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel gave solid leadership to Israel his entire life.
16 Every year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah. He gave leadership to Israel in each of these places.
17 But always he would return to Ramah, where he lived, and preside from there. That is where he built an altar to God.

1 Samuel 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

The ark removed to Kirjath-jearim. (1-4) The Israelites solemnly repent. (5,6) The Lord discomfits the Philistines. (7-12) They are subdued, Samuel judges Israel. (13-17)

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 7

This chapter gives an account of the ark being brought to Kirjathjearim, where it continued twenty years, 1Sa 7:1,2 of the exhortation of Samuel to the people of Israel to reform from idolatry, and which had its desired effect, 1Sa 7:3,4 of Samuel's praying for the people, and offering sacrifices for them, and of the success thereof, victory over their enemies, 1Sa 7:5-14, and of his administration of justice to them, and constancy in it, 1Sa 7:15-17.

1 Samuel 7 Commentaries