1So the people of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark of the Lord and took it to Abinadab’s house on the hill. They consecrated his son Eleazar to take care of it.
Victory at Mizpah
2Time went by until twenty years had passed since the ark had been taken to Kiriath-jearim. Then the whole house of Israel longed for the Lord. 3Samuel told them, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, set your hearts on the Lord, and worship only him. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths and only worshiped the Lord.
5Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord on your behalf.” 6When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the Lord’s presence. They fasted that day, and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the Israelites at Mizpah.
7When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their rulers marched up toward Israel. When the Israelites heard about it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, so that he will save us from the Philistines.”
9Then Samuel took a young lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on behalf of Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10Samuel was offering the burnt offering as the Philistines approached to fight against Israel. The Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel. 11Then the men of Israel charged out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines striking them down all the way to a place below Beth-car.
12Afterward, Samuel took a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The Lord has helped us to this point.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israel’s territory again. The Lord’s hand was against the Philistines all of Samuel’s life. 14The cities from Ekron to Gath, which they had taken from Israel, were restored; Israel even rescued their surrounding territories from Philistine control. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15Samuel judged Israel throughout his life. 16Every year he would go on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah and would judge Israel at all these locations. 17Then he would return to Ramah because his home was there, he judged Israel there, and he built an altar to the Lord there.