1 Samuel 7:10
And 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.
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7:7-12 The Philistines invaded Israel. When sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all his force against them, and set his instruments at work to the utmost, to oppose and discourage them. The Israelites earnestly beg Samuel to pray for them. Oh what a comfort it is to all believers, that our great Intercessor above never ceases, is never silent! for he always appears in the presence of God for us. Samuel's sacrifice, without his prayer, had been an empty shadow. God gave a gracious answer. And Samuel erected a memorial of this victory, to the glory of God, and to encourage Israel. Through successive generations, the church of God has had cause to set up Eben-ezers for renewed deliverances; neither outward persecutions nor inward corruptions have prevailed against her, because hitherto the Lord hath helped her: and he will help, even to the end of the world.Samuel's preparation for intercessory prayer, namely, the offering up an atoning sacrifice, is most significant (compare Luke 1:9-10). The term here used for a "lamb" does not occur in the Pentateuch; indeed it is only found besides this place in Isaiah 65:25. The offering is in accordance with Leviticus 22:27.

The Lord heard him - Better as in margin. The "answer" was not simply the granting the asked-for deliverance, but the great thunder 1 Samuel 7:10, which was "the voice of the Lord," the same voice with which the Lord answered Moses Exodus 19:19; Psalm 99:6.

1Sa 7:7-14. While Samuel Prays, the Philistines Are Discomfited.

7-11. when the Philistines heard, &c.—The character and importance of the national convention at Mizpeh 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 supplicate the divine interposition 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 assailants, panic-struck, were disordered and fled. The Israelites, recognizing the hand of God, rushed courageously on the foe they had so much dreaded and committed such immense havoc, 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 restitution of the usurped territory.

Either by the lightnings, or thunderbolts, or other things which accompanied the cracks of thunder; or by the Israelites, who perceiving them to be affrighted and flee away, pursued and smote them, as the next verse mentions.

And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering.... Which he might do by a priest, as Ben Gersom suggests, he being only a Levite; though he being a prophet, and an extraordinary person, and this an extraordinary case, he might do it himself, as Gideon and others, as well as offer it in another place than where the tabernacle was; Shiloh being now destroyed, persons and places for sacrifice were now dispensed with: and before Samuel had made an end of offering the sacrifice:

the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel; and were come as far almost as Mizpeh, where Israel were, and Samuel was sacrificing:

but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines; which fulfilled Hannah's prophecy, 1 Samuel 2:10 and this, as Josephus (n) says, was attended with lightning, which flashed in their faces, and shook their weapons out of their hands, so that they fled disarmed; and also with an earthquake, which caused gaps in the earth, into which they fell:

and discomfited them; disturbed, affrighted them, and threw them into confusion and disorder, as well as destroyed many of them:

and they were smitten before Israel; the meaning of which is not that they fled before them, and were killed by them; but that before Israel could come out against them, and fight with them, they were smitten and destroyed, many of them by the thunder and lightning, and by the earth opening upon them, and devouring them; for this phrase, "before Israel", denotes time, as Abarbinel observes, and not place.

(n) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 2. sect. 2.

And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD {f} thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.

(f) According to the prophecy of Hannah Samuel's mother, 1Sa 2:10.

10. thundered with a great thunder] Lit., with a great voice. Thunder is the “voice of God” (Psalm 29:3-4). Cp. ch. 1 Samuel 2:10; 2 Samuel 22:14-15.

discomfited them] The Heb. word expresses the confusion of a sudden panic, and is especially used of supernatural defeats. Cp. Exodus 14:24 (E. V. troubled); Joshua 10:10; Jdg 4:15; 2 Samuel 22:15.

and they were smitten before Israel] The thunder which dismayed the Philistines gave courage to the Israelites. The verb “they were smitten” (different from the one similarly translated in the next verse) is specially spoken of God, e.g. ch. 1 Samuel 4:3.

Verses 10, 11. - As Samuel was offering, etc. We have here a detailed and lively description of the whole event. The lamb is still burning upon the altar, and Samuel still kneeling before it, when the Philistine hosts appear upon the lofty plateau just below the hill of Mizpah, and marshal themselves for battle. It seemed as if Israel's case were hopeless, and many a heart, no doubt, was bravely straggling against its fears, and scarcely could keep them down. But as the enemy drew near the electric cloud formed in the heavens, and Jehovah thundered with a great voice (so the Hebrew) on that day upon the Philistines. Alarmed at so unusual a phenomenon, the Philistines hesitate in their advance, and Samuel, seeing their consternation, gives the signal for the charge, and Israel, inspirited by the voice of Jehovah, rushes down the hill upon the foe. Full of enthusiasm, they forget the poorness of their weapons, and the weight of their impetuous rush breaks through the opposing line. And now a panic seizes the Philistines; they attempt no further resistance, but flee in dismay from the pursuing Israelites. Their course would lead them down a huge valley 1000 feet deep, at the bottom of which was a torrent rushing over a rocky bed; nor was their flight stayed until they came under Beth-car. Of this place we know nothing, but probably it was a fastness where the Philistines could protect themselves from further attack. 1 Samuel 7:10When the Philistines advanced during the offering of the sacrifice to fight against Israel, "Jehovah thundered with a great noise," i.e., with loud peals, against the Philistines, and threw them into confusion, so that they were smitten before Israel. The thunder, which alarmed the Philistines and threw them into confusion (יהמּם, as in Joshua 10:10), was the answer of God to Samuel's crying to the Lord.
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