1 Samuel 7:1-17 … SAMUEL INTERCEDES FOR ISRAEL AND JUDGES THE NATION.
Q.1. Where was the ark located? How long was it there? Who looked after it? How did Israel fare during that time? What challenge did Samuel give the people? – (1 Sam.7:1-4 c.f. Josh.15:13; 18:14) =
Q.2. What made the consecration at Mizpah crucial? How were their actions understood by the Philistines? What did the Israelites do? How did God answer Samuel’s intercession? – (1 Sam.7:5-11) =
Q.3. Why did Samuel raise the stone between Mizpah and Shen? What happened to the Philistines? How did Samuel operate his leadership over Israel? – (1 Sam.7:12-17 c.f. 2 Kgs.2:3; 4:1)
7 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lordand brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord.2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
Samuel Judges Israel
3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lordthundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen[a]and called its name Ebenezer;[b] for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.
Q.1. Where was the ark located? How long was it there? Who looked after it? How did Israel fare during that time? What challenge did Samuel give the people? – (1 Sam.7:1-4 c.f. Josh.15:13; 18:14) = The ark of the covenant was taken to the house of Abinadab at Kiriath-jearim on the border of Judah and Benjamin (c.f. Josh.15:13; 18:14). They consecrated his son, Eleazar to care for the ark and he must therefore have been a Levite. This he did for faithfully 20 years and the Lord blessed his family (1 Sam.7:1-2 c.f. 2 Sam.6:12). [When David sought to bring the ark from Kiriath-jearim with tragic consequences, Abinadab’s other sons Uzzah and Ahio were involved c.f. 2 Sam.6:2]. All the while, Israel was pining after the ark (1 Sam.7:2). The sense of loss was great enough for Samuel to use it as a teachable moment to challenge all the tribes – If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistine – (1 Sam.7:3). They did as Samuel advised by removing their idols – and served the Lord alone (1 Sam.7:4).
Q.2. What made the consecration at Mizpah crucial? How were their actions understood by the Philistines? What did the Israelites do? How did God answer Samuel’s intercession? – (1 Sam.7:5-11) = Samuel followed up by gathering all Israel to Mizpah for prayer (1 Sam.7:5). Their forefather Jacob had set up a pillar of stone, and had made a covenant of peace with his father-in-law there (Gen.31:48-52). Under Samuel’s leadership, the people fasted and confessed their sins (1 Sam.7:6). However, the Philistines misunderstood the reason for Israel’s gathering, and the lords of the Philistines went to fight against Israel (1 Sam.7:7). This had the desired effect, and drove them back to Samuel to plead – … Do not cease to cry to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines (1 Sam.7:8). Samuel as their priest offered a lamb as a whole burnt offering – he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf (c.f. Lev.1:4). When he did – the Lord answered him (1 Sam.7:9). How did Israel know that God had heard? It is recorded – Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel (1 Sam.7:10). There was no ark in their midst, yet when the hearts of the people were reconciled to God, He moved powerfully on their behalf.
Q.3. Why did Samuel raise the stone between Mizpah and Shen? What happened to the Philistines? How did Samuel operate his leadership over Israel? – (1 Sam.7:12-17 c.f. 2 Kgs.2:3; 4:1) = Samuel did not mark this triumph at Mizpah where Jacob and Laban marked their encounter with God. They found a new place for this fresh experience of God’s grace. The place was named Ebenezer signifying – Thus far the Lord has helped us (1 Sam.7:12). The Philistines always knew that when Israel was right with God, He would fight for them. As long as Samuel judged, there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. The Philistines even gave them back some of their cities and territory (1 Sam.7:13-14 c.f. 1 Sam4:6-8; 6:6). There is good reason to believe that many of the O.T. prophets hosted Schools of the Prophets (2 Kgs.2:3-5, 15; 4:38). We learn that Samuel was an itinerant who judged and mentored in a circuit between Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah, and Ramah (1 Sam.7:15-17). Hannah’s baby boy was a mighty prophet, and one of the most faithful priests who ministered for the Lord (1 Sam.7:17).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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