1 Samuel 7

Listen to 1 Samuel 7
1 So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the LORD . They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it.
2 The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the LORD had abandoned them.
3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the LORD with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the LORD and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”
4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD .
5 Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.”
6 So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the LORD . They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the LORD . (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)
7 When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching.
8 “Don’t stop pleading with the LORD our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel.
9 So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the LORD as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered him.
10 Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them.
11 The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”
13 So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the LORD ’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines.
14 The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.
15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life.
16 Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places.
17 Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the LORD at Ramah.

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.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads Shen.

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