Beginning of the End


Samuel Becomes a Judge

A large assembly gathered at Mizpah, and they held a solemn fast there. With deep humiliation the people confessed their sins, and they gave Samuel the authority of judge. BOE 298.6

The Philistines interpreted this gathering as a council of war and set out to scatter the Israelites before their plans could mature. News of their approach caused great terror in Israel. The people begged Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” BOE 298.7

While Samuel was in the act of presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, the Philistines drew near for battle. Then the Mighty One who had parted the Red Sea and made a way through Jordan for Israel showed His power again. A terrible storm burst on the advancing army, and the earth was littered with the bodies of mighty warriors. BOE 299.1

The Israelites had stood trembling with hope and fear. When they saw the slaughter of their enemies, they knew that God had accepted their repentance. Though unprepared for battle, they took the weapons of the slaughtered Philistines and pursued the fleeing army. This victory came on the very field where, twenty years before, Israel had been defeated by the Philistines, the priests killed, and the ark of God taken. The Philistines were now so completely subdued that they surrendered the strongholds that they had taken from Israel, and they avoided any acts of hostility for many years. Other nations followed this example, and the Israelites enjoyed peace until the close of Samuel’s lone administration. BOE 299.2

So that they would never forget the occasion, Samuel set up a great stone as a memorial. He called it Ebenezer, “the stone of help,” saying to the people, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” BOE 299.3