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)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.Judges 15:11.)
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.
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 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. 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. Joshua 9:17), was neither a priestly nor a Levitical city. The reason why the ark was taken there, is to be sought for, therefore, in the situation of the town, i.e., in the fact that Kirjath-jearim was the nearest large town on the road from Bethshemesh to Shiloh. We have no definite information, however, as to the reason why it was not taken on to Shiloh, to be placed in the tabernacle, but was allowed to remain in the house of Abinadab at Kirjath-jearim, where a keeper was expressly appointed to take charge of it; so that we can only confine ourselves to conjectures. Ewald's opinion (Gesch. ii. 540), that the Philistines had conquered Shiloh after the victory described in 1 Samuel 4, and had destroyed the ancient sanctuary there, i.e., the tabernacle, is at variance with the accounts given in 1 Samuel 21:6; 1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:3, respecting the continuance of worship in the tabernacle at Nob and Gibeon. There is much more to be said in support of the conjecture, that the carrying away of the ark by the Philistines was regarded as a judgment upon the sanctuary, which had been desecrated by the reckless conduct of the sons of Eli, and consequently, that even when the ark itself was recovered, they would not take it back without an express declaration of the will of God, but were satisfied, as a temporary arrangement, to leave the ark in Kirjath-jearim, which was farther removed from the cities of the Philistines. And there it remained, because no declaration of the divine will followed respecting its removal into the tabernacle, and the tabernacle itself had to be removed from Shiloh to Nob, and eventually to Gibeon, until David had effected the conquest of the citadel of Zion, and chosen Jerusalem as his capital, when it was removed from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). It is not stated that Abinadab was a Levites; but this is very probable, because otherwise they would hardly have consecrated his son to be the keeper of the ark, but would have chosen a Levite for the office.
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