1 Then the people#tn Heb “men.” of Kiriath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord; they brought it to the house of Abinadab located on the hill. They consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord.
Further Conflict with the Philistines
2 It was quite a long time – some twenty years in all – that the ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim. All the people#tn Heb “house” (also in the following verse). of Israel longed for#tn Heb “mourned after”; NIV “mourned and sought after”; KJV, NRSV “lamented after”; NAB “turned to”; NCV “began to follow…again.” the Lord. 3 Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you are really turning to the Lord with all your hearts, remove from among you the foreign gods and the images of Ashtoreth.#tn Heb “the Ashtarot” (plural; also in the following verse). The words “images of” are supplied for clarity.sn The Semitic goddess Astarte was associated with love and war in the ancient Near East. The presence of Ashtarot in Israel is a sign of pervasive pagan and idolatrous influences; hence Samuel calls for their removal. See 1 Sam 31:10, where the Philistines deposit the armor of the deceased Saul in the temple of the Ashtarot, and 1 Kgs 11:5, 33; 2 Kgs 23:13, where Solomon is faulted for worshiping the Ashtarot. Give your hearts to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will deliver you#tn Following imperatives, the jussive verbal form with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result. from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites#tn Heb “the sons of Israel.” removed the Baals and images of Ashtoreth. They served only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.” 6 After they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted on that day, and they confessed#tn Heb “said.” there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel led#tn Heb “judged”; NAB “began to judge”; TEV “settled disputes among.” the people of Israel at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the leaders of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the Israelites heard about this, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Keep#tn Heb “don’t stop.” crying out to the Lord our#tc The LXX reads “your God” rather than the MT’s “our God.” God so that he may save us#tn After the negated jussive, the prefixed verbal form with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result. from the hand of the Philistines!” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb#tn Heb “a lamb of milk”; NAB “an unweaned lamb”; NIV “a suckling lamb”; NCV “a baby lamb.” and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Samuel cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
10 As Samuel was offering burnt offerings, the Philistines approached to do battle with Israel.#tn Heb “approached for battle against Israel.” But on that day the Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines. He caused them to panic, and they were defeated by#tn Heb “before.” Israel. 11 Then the men of Israel left Mizpah and chased the Philistines, striking them down all the way to an area below Beth Car.
12 Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen.#tn Cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT “Jeshanah.” He named it Ebenezer,#sn The name Ebenezer (אֶבֶן הָעָזֶר) means “stone of help” in Hebrew (cf. TEV); NLT adds the meaning parenthetically after the name. saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were defeated; they did not invade Israel again. The hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 The cities that the Philistines had captured from Israel were returned to Israel, from Ekron to Gath. Israel also delivered their territory from the control#tn Heb “hand.” of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15 So Samuel led#tn Heb “judged” (also in v. 17). Israel all the days of his life. 16 Year after year he used to travel the circuit of Bethel,#map For location see Map4-G4; Map5-C1; Map6-E3; Map7-D1; Map8-G3. Gilgal, and Mizpah; he used to judge Israel in all of these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there. He also judged#tn Or perhaps “settled disputes for” (cf. NLT “would hear cases there”; NRSV “administered justice there”). Israel there and built an altar to the Lord there.