Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 7

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Eli and Samuel (c 1-7)
Message: Samuel Becomes a Judge (v 1-17)

1 Samuel 7 Commentary

(7:4) The Ark goes to Krihath-jearim - The ark was taken to Kirjath-jearim for safekeeping, and Eleazar was given the task of caring for it. Why wasn't it taken back to the tabernacle at Shiloh? Shiloh had probably been defeated and destroyed by the Philistines in an earlier battle (4:1-18; Jeremiah 26:2-6) because of the evil deeds of its priests (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Apparently, the tabernacle and its furniture had been saved, because we know that the tabernacle was set up in Nob during Saul's reign (214-6) and in Gibeon during the reigns of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39; 21:20-30: 2 Chronicles 1:2-3, 13). Shiloh, however, is never again mentioned in the historical books of the Old Testament. Samuel's new home became Ramah (1 Samuel 715-17; 8:4), his birthplace (which is further evidence of Shiloh's destruction)

(7:2-3) Obeying the Lord - Israel mourned, and sorrow gripped the nation for 20 years. The ark was put away like an unwanted box in an attic, and it seemed as if the Lord had abandoned his people. Samuel, now a grown man, roused them to action by saying that if they were truly sorry, they should do something about it. How easy it is for us to complain about our problems, even to God, while we refuse to act, change, and do what he requires. We don't even take the advice he has already given us. Do you ever feel as if God has abandoned you? Ask yourself if he has already told you to do something and you've been ignoring his advice. You may not receive new guidance from God until you have carried out his previous directions with a willing heart.

(7:3) Strange gods - Samuel urged the Israelites to get rid of their foreign ("strange") gods. Idols today are much more subtle than gods of wood and stone, but they are just as dangerous. Whatever holds first place in our lives or controls us is our god. Money, success, pride, material goods, a relationship, a cause, technology, our image, or anything else can be an idol if it takes the place of God in our lives. The Lord alone is worthy of our service and worship, and we must let nothing rival him. If we have "foreign strange gods," we need to ask God to help us dethrone them, making the true God our first priority.

(7:4) god's of the Canaanites - Baal was believed to be the son of El, chief deity of the Canaanites. Baal was regarded as the god of thunder and rain, thus providing the source for vegetation and agriculture. Ashtaroth was a goddess of love and war (she was called Ishtar in Babylonia and Astarte or Aphrodite in Greece). She represented fertility. The Canaanites believed that by the sexual union of Baal and Ashtaroth, the earth would be magically rejuvenated and made fertile.

(7:5) The Land of Mizpeh - Mizpeh held special significance for the Israelite nation. It was there that the Israelites had gathered to mobilize against the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20:1); Samuel was appointed to be Israel's last judge (1 Samuel 7:6); and then Saul, Israel's first king, would be identified and presented to the people (10:17-27).

(7:6) Repentance comes to Israel - Pouring water on the ground before the LORD" was a sign of repenting from sin, turning from idols, and determined to obey God alone.

(7:6-7) Samuel becomes Israel's Last Judge - Samuel became the last in the long line of Israel's judges, a line that had begun when Israel first conquered the Promised Land. A judge was both a political and a religious leader. God was Israel's true leader, while the judges were to be God's spokespeople to the Israelites and administrators of justice throughout the land. While some of Israel's judges relied more on their own judgment than on God's, Samuel's obedience and dedication to God made him one of the greatest judges in Israel's history. (For more on Samuel as a judge, see the note on 4:18.)

(7:12) Israel is Delivered from the Philistines - The Israelites had great difficulty with the Philistines, but God rescued them. In response, the people set up a large stone as a memorial of God's great help and deliverance. During tough times, we may need to remember the crucial turning points in the past in order to help us through the present. Memorials can help us remember God's past victories and gain confidence and strength for the present. Try creating a timeline of your life, marking the places where you have seen God work. It will encourage you and be a testimony to others.

(7:14) The Amorites - In Joshua's time, the Amorites were a powerful tribe scattered throughout the hill country on both sides of the Jordan with a heavy concentration occupying the east side of the Jordan River opposite the Dead Sea. In the context of this verse, however, Amorites is another general name for all the non-Israelite inhabitants of Canaan.


Dave Burnette's Life Application



Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 7. In our text, we see that after the Lord gave Isreal's victory over the Philistines, he placed a stone with the inscription of "Ebenezer," which means "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" In making application, we see the need to remember what God has done for us. We should make our own "Ebenezer" stone remembering what God has done. Our Church has a homecoming service each year that we call our Ebenezer Service, and we remember what God has done for us. How about you? Do you remember the blessings of God in your life? Let us learn from our text today. Embracing Ebenezer, for Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.


1 Samuel 7

1 Samuel 7

 1And 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.

 2And 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.

 3And 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.

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

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

 6And 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.

 7And 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.

 8And 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.

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

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

 12Then 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.

 13So 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.

 14And 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.

 15And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

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

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