1 Samuel 6:20-7:17 Good News Translation (GNT)
The Covenant Box at Kiriath Jearim
20 So the men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who can stand before the Lord, this holy God? Where can we send him to get him away from us?” 21 They sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim to say, “The Philistines have returned the Lord's Covenant Box. Come down and get it.”
7 So the people of Kiriath Jearim got the Lord's Covenant Box and took it to the house of a man named Abinadab, who lived on a hill. They consecrated his son Eleazar to be in charge of it.
Samuel Rules Israel
2 The Covenant Box of the Lord stayed in Kiriath Jearim a long time, some twenty years. During this time all the Israelites cried to the Lord for help.
3 Samuel said to the people of Israel, “If you are going to turn to the Lord with all your hearts, you must get rid of all the foreign gods and the images of the goddess Astarte. Dedicate yourselves completely to the Lord and worship only him, and he will rescue you from the power of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their idols of Baal and Astarte, and worshiped only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel called for all the Israelites to meet at Mizpah, telling them, “I will pray to the Lord for you there.” 6 So they all gathered at Mizpah. They drew some water and poured it out as an offering to the Lord and fasted that whole day. They said, “We have sinned against the Lord.” (It was at Mizpah where Samuel settled disputes among the Israelites.)
7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the five Philistine kings started out with their men to attack them. The Israelites heard about it and were afraid, 8 and said to Samuel, “Keep praying to the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines.” 9 Samuel killed a young lamb and burned it whole as a sacrifice to the Lord. Then he prayed to the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered his prayer. 10 While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines moved forward to attack; but just then the Lord thundered from heaven against them. They became completely confused and fled in panic. 11 The Israelites marched out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines almost as far as Bethcar, killing them along the way.
12 Then Samuel took a stone, set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and said, “The Lord has helped us all the way”—and he named it “Stone of Help.” 13 So the Philistines were defeated, and the Lord prevented them from invading Israel's territory as long as Samuel lived. 14 All the cities which the Philistines had captured between Ekron and Gath were returned to Israel, and so Israel got back all its territory. And there was peace also between the Israelites and the Canaanites.
15 Samuel ruled Israel as long as he lived. 16 Every year he would go around to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and in these places he would settle disputes. 17 Then he would go back to his home in Ramah, where also he would serve as judge. In Ramah he built an altar to the Lord.
1 Samuel 6:20-7:17 New International Version (NIV)
20 And the people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?”
21 Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your town.” 7 1 So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. 2 The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all.
Samuel Subdues the Philistines at Mizpah
Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. 3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.
5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6 When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a] of Israel at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8 They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[b] saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
13 So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 14 The towns from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord.