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The men of Kiriath Jearim came to take Yahweh’s ark and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill. They gave Abinadab’s son Eleazar the holy occupation of guarding Yahweh’s ark.

Israel Admits It Has Sinned

A long time passed after the ark came to stay at Kiriath Jearim. For 20 years the entire nation of Israel mournfully sought Yahweh.

Samuel told the entire nation of Israel, “If you are returning to Yahweh wholeheartedly, get rid of the foreign gods you have, including the statues of the goddess Astarte. Make a commitment to Yahweh, and serve only him. Then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”

So the Israelites got rid of the statues of Baal and Astarte and served only Yahweh.

Then Samuel said, “Gather all the Israelites together at Mizpah, and I will pray to Yahweh for you.” So the Israelites gathered together at Mizpah. They drew some water, poured it out in front of Yahweh, and fasted that day. They confessed, “We have sinned against Yahweh.” So Samuel judged Israel in Mizpah.

The Philistines Defeated

When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the Philistine rulers came to attack Israel. The Israelites heard about the Philistine plan and were afraid of them. The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t turn a deaf ear to us! Don’t stop crying to Yahweh our Elohim for us! Ask him to save us from the Philistines!”

Then Samuel took a lamb, one still feeding on milk, and sacrificed it as a burnt offering to Yahweh. Samuel cried to Yahweh on behalf of Israel, and Yahweh answered him. 10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines came to fight against Israel. On that day Yahweh thundered loudly at the Philistines and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel. 11 Israel’s soldiers left Mizpah, pursued the Philistines, and killed them as far as Beth Car.

12 Then Samuel took a rock and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer [Rock of Help] and said, “Until now Yahweh has helped us.”

13 The power of the Philistines was crushed, so they didn’t come into Israel’s territory again. Yahweh restrained the Philistines as long as Samuel lived. 14 The cities between Ekron and Gath which the Philistines took from Israel were returned to Israel. And Israel recovered the territory controlled by these cities from the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived. 16 Every year he went around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah in order to judge Israel in all those places. 17 Then he would return home to Ramah. There, too, he judged Israel. And in Ramah he built an altar to Yahweh.

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