1 So the people of Kiriath-jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord. They put it in Abinadab's house on the hill. They dedicated his son Eleazar to take care of the Ark of the Lord. 2 The Ark remained there in Kiriath-jearim from that day for a long time, in fact for twenty years. Everyone in Israel mourned and in repentance came back to the Lord.
3 Then Samuel said to all of Israel, “If you sincerely wish to come back to the Lord, then get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreth images you have, and commit yourselves to the Lord and only worship him, and he will save you from the Philistines.” 4 The people of Israel got rid of their Baals and Ashtoreth images and worshiped only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel said, “Have all the people of Israel gather at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”
6 Once they had gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. They fasted that day, and admitted, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Samuel became the leader* Literally “judge,” which was equivalent to “leader.” Also verse 15. of the Israelites at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines found out that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their rulers led an attack on Israel. When the Israelites heard about this, they were terrified at what the Philistines might do. 8 They told Samuel, “Don't stop pleading with the Lord our God for us so he can save us from the Philistines.” 9 Samuel took a young lamb and presented it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out for help to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord responded.
10 While Samuel was presenting the burnt offering, the Philistines approached to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered extremely loudly against the Philistines that day, which totally confused them, and they were defeated as Israel watched. 11 Then the men of Israel ran out from Mizpah and chased them, killing them all the way to a place near Beth-car.
12 After this Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. He called it Ebenezer, saying, “The Lord helped us right up to here!”
13 In this way the Philistines were kept under control and did not invade Israel again. During Samuel's lifetime the Lord used his power against the Philistines. 14 The towns the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, all the way from Ekron to Gath, and Israel also liberated the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel was Israel's leader for the rest of his life. 16 Every year he went around, going to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. At all these places he ruled Israel. 17 Then he would return to Ramah because that was where he lived. He ruled Israel from there, and also built an altar to the Lord.
*7:6 Literally “judge,” which was equivalent to “leader.” Also verse 15.