1Sa 7:1, 2.
The Ark at Kirjath-jearim.
1. the men of Kirjath-jearim—"the city
of woods," also Kirjath-baal (Jos 15:60; 18:14; 1Ch
13:5, 6). It was the nearest
town to Beth-shemesh and stood on a hill. This was the reason of the
message (1Sa 6:21),
and why this was chosen for the convenience of people turning their
faces to the ark (1Ki 8:29-35; Ps 28:2; Da 6:10).
brought it into the house of Abinadab in the
hill—Why it was not transported at once to Shiloh where the
tabernacle and sacred vessels were remaining, is difficult to
sanctified … his son—He was not
a Levite, and was therefore only set apart or appointed to be keeper of
2. the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim … twenty
years—It appears, in the subsequent history, that a much
longer period elapsed before its final removal from Kirjath-jearim
(2Sa 6:1-19; 1Ch 13:1-14). But that length of time had passed
when the Israelites began to revive from their sad state of religious
decline. The capture of the ark had produced a general indifference
either as to its loss or its recovery.
all the house of Israel lamented after the
Lord—They were then brought, doubtless by the influence of
Samuel's exhortations, to renounce idolatry, and to return to the
national worship of the true God.
The Israelites, through Samuel's Influence,
Solemnly Repent at Mizpeh.
3-6. Samuel spake unto all the house of
Israel—A great national reformation was effected through the
influence of Samuel. Disgusted with their foreign servitude, and
panting for the restoration of liberty and independence, they were open
to salutary impressions; and convinced of their errors, they renounced
idolatry. The re-establishment of the faith of their fathers was
inaugurated at a great public meeting, held at Mizpeh in Judah, and
hallowed by the observance of impressive religious solemnities. The
drawing water, and pouring it out before the Lord, seems to have been a
symbolical act by which, in the people's name, Samuel testified their
sense of national corruption, their need of that moral purification of
which water is the emblem, and their sincere desire to pour out their
hearts in repentance before God.
6. Samuel judged … Israel in
Mizpeh—At the time of Eli's death he could not have much
exceeded twenty years of age; and although his character and position
must have given him great influence, it does not appear that hitherto
he had done more than prophets were wont to do. Now he entered on the
duties of a civil magistrate.
While Samuel Prays, the Philistines Are
7-11. when the Philistines heard,
&c.—The character and importance of the national convention
at Mizpeh were fully appreciated by the Philistines. They discerned in
it the rising spirit of religious patriotism among the Israelites that
was prepared to throw off the yoke of their domination. Anxious to
crush it at the first, they made a sudden incursion while the
Israelites were in the midst of their solemn celebration. Unprepared
for resistance, they besought Samuel to supplicate the divine
interposition to save them from their enemies. The prophet's prayers
and sacrifice were answered by such a tremendous storm of thunder and
lightning that the assailants, panic-struck, were disordered and fled.
The Israelites, recognizing the hand of God, rushed courageously on the
foe they had so much dreaded and committed such immense havoc, that the
Philistines did not for long recover from this disastrous blow. This
brilliant victory secured peace and independence to Israel for twenty
years, as well as the restitution of the usurped territory.
12. Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh
and Shen—on an open spot between the town and "the crag"
(some well-known rock in the neighborhood). A huge stone pillar was
erected as a monument of their victory (Le 26:1). The name—Eben-ezer—is
thought to have been written on the face of it.