December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- So the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, appointing his son Eleazar as guardian of the ark of the LORD.
- From the day the ark came to rest in Kiriath-jearim a long time-twenty years-elapsed, and the whole Israelite population turned to the LORD.
- Samuel said to them: "If you wish with your whole heart to return to the LORD, put away your foreign gods and your Ashtaroth, devote yourselves to the LORD, and worship him alone. Then he will deliver you from the power of the Philistines."
- So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtaroth, and worshiped the LORD alone.
- Samuel then gave orders, "Gather all Israel to Mizpah, that I may pray to the LORD for you."
- 1 When they were gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out on the ground before the LORD, and they fasted that day, confessing, "We have sinned against the LORD." It was at Mizpah that Samuel began to judge the Israelites.
- When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their lords went up against Israel. Hearing this, the Israelites became afraid of the Philistines
- and said to Samuel, "Implore the LORD our God unceasingly for us, to save us from the clutches of the Philistines."
- Samuel therefore took an unweaned lamb and offered it entire as a holocaust to the LORD. He implored the LORD for Israel, and the LORD heard him.
- While Samuel was offering the holocaust, the Philistines advanced to join battle with Israel. That day, however, the LORD thundered loudly against the Philistines, and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel.
- Thereupon the Israelites sallied forth from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, harrying them down beyond Beth-car.
- 2 Samuel then took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Jeshanah; he named it Ebenezer, explaining, "To this point the LORD helped us."
- Thus were the Philistines subdued, never again to enter the territory of Israel, for the LORD was severe with them as long as Samuel lived.
- The cities from Ekron to Gath which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to them. Israel also freed the territory of these cities from the dominion of the Philistines. Moreover there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
- Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived.
- He made a yearly journey, passing through Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah and judging Israel at each of these sanctuaries.
- Then he used to return to Ramah, for that was his home. There, too, he judged Israel and built an altar to the LORD.
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1  Poured it out on the ground: for the symbolism, cf 2 Sam 14:4.
2  Ebenezer: or eben ha-ezer, means "stone of help."
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