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1 Samuel 7

1 So men came from Kiriath-jearim to fetch the LORD's covenant box. They took it to Abinadab's house. His house was on a hill. Eleazar was his son. They consecrated Eleazar so that he could keep the LORD's covenant box safe.

God saves the Israelites from the Philistines

2 The covenant box stayed at Kiriath-jearim for a long time. For 20 years the Israelites were sad. They wanted to give pleasure to the LORD again. 3 Then Samuel said to all the Israelites, ‘If you want to obey the LORD, you must do it with all your spirit. You must remove all your foreign gods and idols of Ashtoreth. You must give your lives completely to the LORD. You must worship only the LORD. If you do that, he will save you from the Philistines.’ 4 So the Israelites removed all their idols of the gods called Baal and Ashtoreth. They worshipped the LORD only.

5 Then Samuel said, ‘Meet together at the town called Mizpah. I will pray to the LORD for you (on your behalf).’ 6 So they all met at Mizpah. They got water from the ground and they poured it out in front of the LORD. They did not eat that day. They prayed to the LORD and they said, ‘We have sinned against the LORD.’ Samuel ruled the Israelites at Mizpah.

7 People told the Philistines that the Israelites were meeting at Mizpah. So the Philistine rulers went there to attack them. When people told the Israelites about this, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the LORD our God and do not stop. Ask him to help us. Ask him to save us from the Philistines.’ 9 So Samuel gave a young sheep as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. He prayed to the LORD. Samuel asked him to help the Israelites. The LORD gave a good answer to him. 10 While Samuel was giving the burnt offering to the LORD, the Philistines moved nearer. They were ready to attack Israel. But the LORD caused a very loud noise in the sky against the Philistines. He confused and frightened them. They started to run away. 11 The Israelite men came out from Mizpah. They ran after the Philistines to a place below Beth-car. And they killed them along the way.

12 After that, Samuel took a stone and he put it up between Mizpah and Shen. He called the stone Ebenezer. He said, ‘The LORD has helped us all this way.’ 13 So the Israelites won the fight with the Philistines. The Philistines did not attack Israel's land again.

7:13Ebenezer means ‘stone of help’ or ‘stone of him who helps’. Samuel put up this stone to give honour to God.

The LORD was against the Philistines all the time that Samuel was alive. 14 Earlier, the Philistines had taken towns from the Israelites. But the Israelites won them back. These towns were from Ekron to Gath. Also the Israelite people and the Amorite people did not fight any longer.

15 Samuel continued to be a judge of the Israelites all his life. 16 Every year, he went to the towns called Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah. He was a judge of the people in those places. 17 But Samuel always returned to his home at Ramah. There also he was a judge of the Israelites. And he built an altar to the LORD at Ramah.