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I Samuel Chapter 7

Memory verses for this week:  Ezek 44:28  And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.


Introduction:  We continue our study on Samuel this week.   In last week’s lesson, we studied about the Philistines sending the ark of God away from them on a new cart pulled by some milk kine.   The people rejoice when the ark comes back to them, but by not following God’s way of dealing with the ark, over 50,000 men lost their lives.


I.                     Ark is Brought to House of Abinadab

1 Sam 7:1  And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.

1 Sam 7:2  And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

The men of Kirjathjearim took custody of the ark and it remained with them.  They chose Eleazar, the son of Abinadab to keep the ark in his father’s house.   After being moved every few days over the past year, it stays here at the house of Abinadab for over 20 years.   This was during the time that Samuel was Judge over the nation of Israel.   It stayed there even longer than his reign since it was not moved to Jerusalem until after David became king over Israel. The ark was there almost 100 years because Saul reigned for 50 years after the 20 year period of Samuel being judge.   During those first 20 years, the Israelites lamented after the Lord because of their burden being so great as they were under oppression to the Philistines.

1 Sam 7:3  And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

1 Sam 7:4  Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.

Samuel spoke to the Jews during this early period of the ark being at the house of Abinadab.   He preached and to get the people to turn back to God.   Finally after 20 years, there was a revival among Israel sufficient that the Lord heard them and delivered them from the Philistines.   Samuel encouraged the Jews to prove their seriousness with God by putting away their false gods of Baalim and Ashtaroth.  If they would be serious in their repentance, God would hear their prayers and deliver them.   But God wanted them to turn wholly to Him with their hearts.   The people heard Samuel’s message and finally did repent and turned away from the false gods.   They served only the Lord only.


II.  Israel Gathers to Mizpeh  

1 Sam 7:5  And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.

1 Sam 7:6  And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.

After Samuel saw the people were sincere in their repentance, he told them to gather to Mizpeh for a prayer meeting.   When a man or woman’s heart is right with God, we have great power in prayer.

2 Chr 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When the people gathered to Mizpeh, it says in verse 6 that they drew water and poured it out before the Lord.   This was a symbol of their purification before God.   They confessed that “We have sinned against the Lord.”   That is all God requires of us… to acknowledge our failures, repent of them, and come back with a full and pure heart.   It was at that time that Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. 

In the King James Study Bible, it said that:

7:6. The pouring out of water symbolized a repentant heart poured out in submission and personal trust before God (cf. Ps. 62:8).  [i]

Psa 62:8  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

1 Sam 7:7  And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.

1 Sam 7:8  And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.

The Philistines hear of this large gathering of the Israelites.  The Lord of the Philistines gathered their forces to come against Israel to break up the revival and the prayer meeting.   Satan never wants us to be serious with God and to be praying with truth and sincerity.   But that is exactly what Jesus said that God desires of his people.   Remember his words to the woman of Samaria at the well.

John 4:20  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

John 4:21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

John 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

When Israel heard that the Philistine were coming, they were afraid.   Their faith was weak from all the years of bondage, and they turned to Samuel to sustain their strength.   They ask Samuel to continue to cry unto the Lord that He would deliver them out of the hands of the Philistines.


III.  Israelites Victory  at Ebenezer

1 Sam 7:9  And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.

1 Sam 7:10  And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.

Samuel took a lamb and offered it wholly unto the Lord for a burnt-offering.   This is what Noah did first after coming off the ark.


Gen 8:20  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

When Samuel cried unto the Lord, God heard his prayer.     As Samuel was making the sacrifice, the Philistines drew near to battle.  The lamb that Samuel offered was a typification of the true lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

John 1:19  And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

John 1:20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

John 1:21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

John 1:22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

John 1:23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.


John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:30  After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

John 1:31  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

John 1:32  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

John 1:33  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

John 1:34  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John 1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

John 1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!


Before Samuel can complete the sacrifice, the enemy attacks.   The Philistines had the people under bondage, and intended to keep it that way.   This quick attack should remind us that Satan does not delay to strike us.   We are Satan’s enemies when we know Jesus as Lord and Savior.   Because of what Christ has done, our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.   The victory is ours and is won already.    But while Satan can’t hurt our salvation or affect our souls, he can try to discourage us or damage our testimony to the point that we are ineffective with the lost.    The Lord was ever watching over His people.  Their faith was weak but God did not forsake the.   God was ready for the Philistine’s attack.   The Philistines strike during the time of the sacrifice shows their defiance of the Lord.  It says that God thundered upon them with a great thunder.   While we are not told of everything that happened, God does tell us that the Lord discomfited them and smote them before Israel. 

1 Sam 7:11  And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.

1 Sam 7:12  Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

1 Sam 7:13  So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

1 Sam 7:14  And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

The victory over the Philistines really encouraged Israel, and the came out against them and pursued them to Bethcar.  Verse 12 says that Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpeh and Shen to remind the people that the Lord helped them.  He named the place Ebenezer which means “Hitherto that the Lord helped us.”   It says that the hand of God was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

In the Believers Study Bible, it said:

7:12 “Ebenezer” was a stone monument or testimony to the intervention of God in the life of Israel. As such, it stood for God’s grace in behalf of helpless man.[ii]


IV.  Samuel was Prophet, Priest, and Judge

1 Sam 7:15  And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

1 Sam 7:16  And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.

1 Sam 7:17  And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.

Our study of Samuel began with the sacrifice that Hannah made to offer her son to God all the days of his life.   We see that God blessed Hannah and Samuel, and it says Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.   He went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh as he judged the people.  His home was Ramah, where he would return after judging the people.  It was in Ramah that he built an altar unto the Lord.     All of us should have a place of worship where we pray and dedicate ourselves to our service to the Lord.   Everything we own comes from God, and our homes should be dedicated to the Lord.

Matthew Henry had some good points about what a blessing Samuel was to the nation of Israel.

We have here a short account of the further good services that Samuel did to Israel. Having parted them from their idols, and brought them home to their God, he had put them into a capacity of receiving further benefits by his ministry. Having prevailed in that, he becomes, in other instances, a great blessing to them; yet, writing it himself, he is brief in the relation. We are not told here, but it appears (2 Chr. 35:18) that in the days of Samuel the prophet the people of Israel kept the ordinance of the passover with more than ordinary devotion, notwithstanding the distance of the ark and the desolations of Shiloh. Many good offices, no doubt, he did for Israel, but here we are only told how instrumental he was, 1. In securing the public peace (v. 13): "In his days the Philistines came no more into the coast of Israel, made no inroads or incursions upon them; they perceived that God now fought for Israel and that his hand was against the Philistines, and this kept them in awe, and restrained the remainder of their wrath.’’ Samuel was a protector and deliverer to Israel, not by dint of sword, as Gideon, nor by strength of arm, as Samson, but by the power of prayer to God and carrying on a work of reformation among the people. Religion and piety are the best securities of a nation.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]Thomas Nelson, Inc., King James Version Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1988  by Liberty University.

[ii]W.A. Criswell, Believer’s study Bible [computer file], electronic ed. , Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991 by the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies.