Further Conflict with the Philistines
7:2 It was quite a long time—some twenty years in all—that the ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim. All the people2 of Israel longed for3 the Lord. 7:3 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.4 Give your hearts to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will deliver you5 from the hand of the Philistines.” 7:4 So the Israelites6 removed the Baals and images of Ashtoreth. They served only the Lord.
7:5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.” 7:6 After they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted on that day, and they confessed7 there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel led8 the people of Israel at Mizpah.
7:7 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. 7:8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Keep9 crying out to the Lord our10 God so that he may save us11 from the hand of the Philistines!” 7:9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb12 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.
7:10 As Samuel was offering burnt offerings, the Philistines approached to do battle with Israel.13 But on that day the Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines. He caused them to panic, and they were defeated by14 Israel. 7:11 Then the men of Israel left Mizpah and chased the Philistines, striking them down all the way to an area below Beth Car.
7:12 Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen.15 He named it Ebenezer,16 saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” 7:13 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.
7:14 The cities that the Philistines had captured from Israel were returned to Israel, from Ekron to Gath. Israel also delivered their territory from the control17 of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 7:15 So Samuel led18 Israel all the days of his life. 7:16 Year after year he used to travel the circuit of Bethel,19 Gilgal, and Mizpah; he used to judge Israel in all of these places. 7:17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there. He also judged20 Israel there and built an altar to the Lord there.
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