1 Samuel 7:7
And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) The lords of the Philistines went up against Israel.—This was what might naturally have been expected. The sudden destruction of the Phœnician idol shrines throughout the country, followed immediately by the summons of a vast popular assembly, held in so conspicuous a place as Mizpeh in Benjamin aroused at once the warlike nation which had so long kept Israel in servitude. The Philistine leaders promptly assemble a powerful force, and proceed to interrupt the Mizpeh gathering.

1 Samuel 7:7. The lords of the Philistines went up — With an army, suspecting the effects of their general convention, and intending to nip them in the bud. They were afraid — Being a company of unarmed persons, and unfit for battle. When sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect Satan will muster all his forces against them, and set his instruments at work to the uttermost, to oppose and discourage them.

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.This implies a united invasion by the whole Philistine force. Hence, the terror of the Israelites. (Compare Judges 15:11.) 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.

The lords of the Philistines went up, to wit, with all army, 1 Samuel 7:10, suspecting the effects of their general convention, and intending to nip them in the bud.

They were afraid; being a company of unarmed persons, and unfit for battle.

And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh,.... Not knowing it was upon a religious account; but supposing they met to form schemes and measures to cast off their yoke, and deliver themselves out of their hands; and were preparing to take up arms, and fall upon them:

the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel; with forces out of their several principalities united to fight with them; judging it advisable to lose no time, but attack them before they were well prepared and provided to defend themselves:

and when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines; because they were unarmed, and not at all prepared for war, and having no expectation of it.

And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7–12. Total Rout of the Philistines at Ebenezer

7. when the Philistines heard, &c.] The lords naturally regarded a national assembly of their vassals as a preliminary step towards revolt, and mustering the army of the confederation, marched up towards Mizpah.

Verses 7, 8. - When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. This was perfectly natural, and implied no intention on the part of the Israelites not to fight it out. No dominant nation would permit a subject race to hold such a meeting as Samuel's at Mizpah without having recourse to arms; but the Philistines acted with such promptness and vigour as brought home to the assembled Israelites not merely the conviction that they would have to fight, but that they must do it at once, and with the combined forces of the enemy. In spite, nevertheless, of their fears, they determine to await the attack, and that this decision was taken in faith their own words prove. For they say, Cease not to cry unto Jehovah our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. The words literally are, "Be not silent from crying," etc. Let him mediate for them with God, and they will await the onslaught of the foe. 1 Samuel 7:7When they had assembled together here, "they drew water and poured it out before Jehovah, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord." Drawing water and pouring it out before Jehovah was a symbolical act, which has been thus correctly explained by the Chaldee, on the whole: "They poured out their heart like water in penitence before the Lord." This is evident from the figurative expressions, "poured out like water," in Psalm 22:15, and "pour out thy heart like water," in Lamentations 2:19, which are used to denote inward dissolution through pain, misery, and distress (see 2 Samuel 14:14). Hence the pouring out of water before God was a symbolical representation of the temporal and spiritual distress in which they were at the time, - a practical confession before God, "Behold, we are before Thee like water that has been poured out;" and as it was their own sin and rebellion against God that had brought this distress upon them, it was at the same time a confession of their misery, and an act of the deepest humiliation before the Lord. They gave a still further practical expression to this humiliation by fasting (צוּם), as a sign of their inward distress of mind on account of their sin, and an oral confession of their sin against the Lord. By the word שׁם, which is added to ויּאמרוּ, "they said "there," i.e., at Mizpeh, the oral confession of their sin is formally separated from the two symbolical acts of humiliation before God, though by this very separation it is practically placed on a par with them. What they did symbolically by the pouring out of water and fasting, they explained and confirmed by their verbal confession. שׁם is never an adverb of time signifying "then;" neither in Psalm 14:5; Psalm 132:17, nor Judges 5:11. "And thus Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpeh." ויּשׁפּט does not mean "he became judge" (Mich. and others), any more than "he punished every one according to his iniquity" (Thenius, after David Kimchi). Judging the people neither consisted in a censure pronounced by Samuel afterwards, nor in absolution granted to the penitent after they had made a confession of their sin, but in the fact that Samuel summoned the nation to Mizpeh to humble itself before Jehovah, and there secured for it, through his intercession, the forgiveness of its sin, and a renewal of the favour of its God, and thus restored the proper relation between Israel and its God, so that the Lord could proceed to vindicate His people's rights against their foes.

When the Philistines heard of the gathering of the Israelites at Mizpeh (1 Samuel 7:7, 1 Samuel 7:8), their princes went up against Israel to make war upon it; and the Israelites, in their fear of the Philistines, entreated Samuel, "Do not cease to cry for us to the Lord our God, that He may save us out of the hand of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:9. "And Samuel took a milk-lamb (a lamb that was still sucking, probably, according to Leviticus 22:27, a lamb seven days old), and offered it whole as a burnt-offering to the Lord." כּליל is used adverbially, according to its original meaning as an adverb, "whole." The Chaldee has not given the word at all, probably because the translators regarded it as pleonastic, since every burnt-offering was consumed upon the altar whole, and consequently the word כּליל was sometimes used in a substantive sense, as synonymous with עולה (Deuteronomy 33:10; Psalm 51:21). But in the passage before us, כּליל is not synonymous with עולה, but simply affirms that the lamb was offered upon the altar without being cut up or divided. Samuel selected a young lamb for the burnt-offering, not "as being the purest and most innocent kind of sacrificial animal," - for it cannot possibly be shown that very young animals were regarded as purer than those that were full-grown, - but as being the most suitable to represent the nation that had wakened up to new life through its conversion to the Lord, and was, as it were, new-born. For the burnt-offering represented the man, who consecrated therein his life and labour to the Lord. The sacrifice was the substratum for prayer. When Samuel offered it, he cried to the Lord for the children of Israel; and the Lord "answered," i.e., granted, his prayer.

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