Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1Sa 7:1, 2.
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
and why this was chosen for the convenience of people turning their
faces to the ark
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 conjecture.
sanctified . . . his son--He was not a Levite, and was therefore only
set apart or appointed to be keeper of the place.
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
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
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
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.
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
The name--Eben-ezer--is thought to have been written on the face of