1 Samuel 7: Samuel Judges Israel

Synopsis:

The men of Kirjathejearim get the Ark and put it in the house of Abinadab and Eleazor (his son, was sanctified to keep the Ark).  The Ark abode there for 20 years. Samuel spoke to Israel and told them, give up the other gods (Baal and Ashtaroth) and serve the Lord only. Gather everyone to Mizpeh and I will pray unto you.  So they did. This made the Philistine’s very nervous and they prepared for battle against Israel, but God thundered a great thunder and it scared the Philistines away. The Israelis went out and chased them until they came to Bethcar. The Philistines were subdued and Israel regained  their land and there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. Samuel would travel to all the cities of Israel, but his house was in Ramah.

In other words:

Samuel becomes the judge of Israel and they are able to defeat the Philistines and bring peace.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 7:10 – An 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.  (I imagine a large army camped and then a massive storm and flood hitting just this camp and scarying them all. A bad omen before a battle.)

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 7:4 – Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.  (Clearly, other god worship was still very common).

What’s confusing:

Why did they all rally around Samuel?  Was it because he could hear the voice of God in his head?  There were other prophets and men of God in the area that could do this and still, people continued to worship other gods.  It would be nice to know what caused people to follow him.  I suspect that it wasn't everyone, but that he was well regarded and so people were more inclined to follow him as a result.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Fair and impartial judges are essential to peace among people. (1 Samuel 7)