Thursday, April 07, 2005

1 Samuel 7

So now the ark comes to Kiriath Jearim, a defensible and non-pagan town, where it stays for 20 years in the house of Aminadab, tended by his sone Eleazar. The repentance of Israel begins by an eviction of the idols of Baal and Ashtoreth and is capped with an assembly at Mizpah to declare national guilt. Israel routs the Philistines, Samuel erects the Stone of Help (Ebenezer), and Israel goes on to a string of victories against the Philistines. The ark will stay another 40 years in Kiriath Jearim, until David moved it.

Samuel, dwelling in Ramah (where he built an altar), performs as a circuit judge by traveling from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah.

Ramah means height and it is argued that the Ramah of Samuel was in either in the territory of tribe of Benjamin or of Ephraim about 4-8 miles north of Jerusalem. The circuit he walked was on Deborah's former turf (Judges 4:5). Samuel was also a neighbor of Saul, living in Gibeah (1 Sam. 10:26).

There are a few interesting things in this chapter. First, Aminadab's house is on a hill, and Samuel's home is in Ramah ("height"). So the ark is being elevated from the low areas, occupied by the Philistines, to the high areas. Also note that the ark is entrusted to a man called Eleazar. Eleazar is the name of Aaron's son, mentioned frequently throughout the Pentateuch. The gathering at Mizpah draws the Philistines, who evidently seek to disrupt the national repentance, but instead end up giving God an opportunity to demonstrate his acceptance of the Israelites.


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