The ark removed to Kirjath-jearim. (1-4) The Israelites
solemnly repent. (5,6) The Lord discomfits the Philistines.
(7-12) They are subdued, Samuel judges Israel. (13-17)
God will find a resting-place for his ark; if some thrust
it from them, the hearts of others shall be inclined to receive
it. It is no new thing for God's ark to be in a private house.
Christ and his apostles preached from house to house, when they
could not have public places. Twenty years passed before the
house of Israel cared for the want of the ark. During this time
the prophet Samuel laboured to revive true religion. The few
words used are very expressive; and this was one of the most
effectual revivals of religion which ever took place in Israel.
Israel drew water and poured it out before the Lord;
signifying their humiliation and sorrow for sin. They pour out
their hearts in repentance before the Lord. They were free and
full in their confession, and fixed in their resolution to cast
away from them all their wrong doings. They made a public
confession, We have sinned against the Lord; thus giving glory
to God, and taking shame to themselves. And if we thus confess
our sins, we shall find our God faithful and just to forgive us
The Philistines invaded Israel. When sinners begin to
repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all
his force against them, and set his instruments at work to the
utmost, to oppose and discourage them. The Israelites earnestly
beg Samuel to pray for them. Oh what a comfort it is to all
believers, that our great Intercessor above never ceases, is
never silent! for he always appears in the presence of God for
us. Samuel's sacrifice, without his prayer, had been an empty
shadow. God gave a gracious answer. And Samuel erected a
memorial of this victory, to the glory of God, and to encourage
Israel. Through successive generations, the church of God has
had cause to set up Eben-ezers for renewed deliverances; neither
outward persecutions nor inward corruptions have prevailed
against her, because "hitherto the Lord hath helped her:" and he
will help, even to the end of the world.
In this great revival of true religion, the ark was
neither removed to Shiloh, nor placed with the tabernacle any
where else. This disregard to the Levitical institutions showed
that their typical meaning formed their chief use; and when that
was overlooked, they became a lifeless service, not to be
compared with repentance, faith, and the love of God and man.