1 Samuel 7

1 The people of Kiriath Jearim got the Ark and took it to Abinadab’s house on a hill in their town. His son Eleazar took care of it.

2 It stayed there for twenty years. During this this long period of time everyone in Israel was very sad and begged Jehovah for help.

3 Samuel told the entire nation of Israel: »If you return to Jehovah with all your hearts you must get rid of the foreign gods you have, including the statues of the goddess Astarte. You must dedicate your lives to Jehovah and serve him only. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.«

4 So the Israelites got rid of their idols of Baal and Astarte. They worshiped only Jehovah.

5 Samuel called all the Israelites to meet at Mizpah. He told them: »I will pray to Jehovah for you there.«

6 The Israelites gathered at Mizpah. They drew some water, poured it out in front of Jehovah and fasted that day. They confessed: »We have sinned against Jehovah.« So Samuel judged Israel in Mizpah.

7 The Philistines heard that the Israelites gathered at Mizpah. So the Philistine rulers came to attack Israel. The Israelites heard about the Philistine plan and were afraid of them.

8 The Israelites said to Samuel: »Do not stop crying to Jehovah our God for us! Ask him to deliver us from the Philistines!«

9 Samuel killed a young lamb and burned it whole as a sacrifice to Jehovah. Then he prayed to Jehovah to help Israel. Jehovah answered his prayer.

10 While Samuel was offering the burnt sacrifice, the Philistines moved forward to attack. Just then Jehovah thundered from heaven against them. They became completely confused and fled in panic.

11 The Israelites marched out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and drove them back as far as Bethcar. They killed them along the way.

12 Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He said: »Jehovah helped us all the way.« He named it: »Stone of Help.«

13 The Philistines were defeated. Jehovah prevented them from invading Israel’s territory as long as Samuel lived.

14 The cities between Ekron and Gath that the Philistines took from Israel were returned to Israel. Israel recovered the territory controlled by these cities from the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived.

16 Every year he went around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah in order to judge Israel in all those places.

17 Then he returned home to Ramah where he judged Israel. And in Ramah he built an altar to Jehovah.