1 Samuel 7

1The men of Kiriath Jearim came and took the Lord’s Holy Box. They took the Lord’s Box up the hill to the house of ˻the priest,˼ Abinadab. They did a special ceremony to prepare Abinadab’s son, Eleazar, to guard the Lord’s Box. 2The Box stayed at Kiriath Jearim a long time. It stayed there 20 years. The people of Israel began to follow the Lord again. 3Samuel told the people of Israel, “If you are really coming back to the Lord—with all your heart—then you must throw away your foreign gods. You must throw away your idols of Ashtoreth. And you must give yourselves fully to the Lord. You must serve only the Lord! Then the Lord will save you from the Philistines.” 4So the Israelites threw away their statues of Baal and Ashtoreth. The Israelites served only the Lord. 5Samuel said, “All Israel must meet at Mizpah. I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6The Israelites met together at Mizpah. They got water and poured it out before the Lord. ˻In this way, they began a time of fasting.˼ They did not eat any food that day and they confessed their sins. They said, “We have sinned against the Lord.” So Samuel served as a judge of Israel at Mizpah. 7The Philistines heard that the Israelites were meeting at Mizpah. The Philistine rulers went to fight against the Israelites. The Israelites heard the Philistines were coming, and they became afraid. 8The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t stop praying to the Lord our God for us! Ask the Lord to save us from the Philistines!” 9Samuel took a baby lamb. He burned the lamb as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Samuel prayed to the Lord for Israel. The Lord answered Samuel’s prayer. 10While Samuel was burning the sacrifice, the Philistines came to fight Israel. But the Lord caused loud thunder near the Philistines. This confused the Philistines. The thunder scared the Philistines, and they became confused. ˻Their leaders were not able to control them.˼ So the Israelites defeated the Philistines in battle. 11The men of Israel ran out of Mizpah and chased the Philistines. They chased them all the way to Beth Car. They killed Philistine soldiers all along the way. 12After this, Samuel set up a special stone. ˻He did this to help people remember the things God did.˼ Samuel put the stone between Mizpah and Shen. Samuel named the stone “Stone of Help.” Samuel said, “The Lord helped us all the way to this place!” 13The Philistines were defeated. They did not enter the land of Israel again. The Lord was against the Philistines during the rest of Samuel’s life. 14The Philistines had taken some cities from Israel. But the Israelites won back those towns. Israel rescued those cities throughout the Philistine area, from Ekron to Gath. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15Samuel led Israel all his life. 16Samuel went from place to place judging the people of Israel. Every year he traveled around the country. He went to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. So he judged and ruled the people of Israel in all these places. 17But Samuel’s home was in Ramah. So Samuel always went back to Ramah. Samuel judged and ruled Israel from that town. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord in Ramah.

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