1 Samuel 7:1-17 NIV
1So 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. 2The 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. 3So 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.
5Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede With The LORD for you.” 6When 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 leadera of Israel at Mizpah.
7When 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. 8They 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.” 9Then 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.
10While 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. 11The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
“Thus far The LORD Has Helped us.”
13So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Hand of The LORD Was Against the Philistines. 14The 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.
15Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. 16From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. 17But 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.
The Israelites Solemnly Repent at Mizpah
A great national reformation was effected through the influence of Samuel. Disgusted with their foreign servitude, and panting for the restoration of liberty and independence, they were open to Samuel’s exhortation and convinced of their errors and they renounced idolatry.
The re-establishment of the faith of their fathers was inaugurated at a great public meeting, held at Mizpah in Judah. The drawing water, and pouring it out Before The LORD, seems to have been a symbolical act by which, in the people's name, Samuel testified their sense of national corruption, their need of that moral purification of which water is the emblem, and their sincere desire to pour out their hearts in repentance Before GOD.
The character and importance of the national convention at Mizpah were fully appreciated by the Philistines. They discerned in it the rising spirit of religious patriotism among the Israelites that was prepared to throw off the yoke of their domination. Anxious to crush it at the first, they made a sudden incursion while the Israelites were in the midst of their solemn celebration.
Unprepared for resistance, they besought Samuel to cry out To Jehovah To Save them from their enemies. The prophet's prayers and sacrifice were answered by such a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning that the Philistines, panic-struck, were disordered and fled.
The Israelites, recognizing the Hand of GOD, rushed courageously on the enemy they had so much feared so that the Philistines did not for long recover from this disastrous blow. This brilliant victory secured peace and independence to Israel for twenty years, as well as the restoration of the former territory.