I Samuel – Chapter 7

Discombobulating the Philistines

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The people of Kiryas Ye’arim took the Ark and put it in the house of a man named Avinadav, where it would reside for twenty years. Shmuel then presided over a national teshuvah movement. (“Teshuvah” means repentance, or a return to G-d.) The Jews discarded their idols and turned to G-d.

At a national gathering in Mitzpah, the Philistines attacked the nation. The people cried out to Shmuel to pray for them. He did and G-d sent thunderous noises that so discombobulated the Philistines that they were easily defeated. Shmuel established a monument to the event and called it “even-ezer,” meaning “the rock where G-d helped us.”

After this, the Philistine threat subsided and they remained in the background for the duration of Shmuel’s tenure as a Judge. Shmuel was an exceptional Judge, traveling the country to go to the people, rather than expecting them to come to him. Unfortunately, the rigors of his self-imposed routine made him old before his time.

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