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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ebenezer;   Intercession;   Pillar;   Samuel;   Shen;   Stones;   Thankfulness;   Thompson Chain Reference - Eben-Ezer;   Monuments;   Pillars, Memorial;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Philistines, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ebenezer;   Mizpah or Mizpeh;   Philistines;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Mizpah;   Philistia, philistines;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Covenant;   Create, Creation;   Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Eben-Ezer;   Idol;   Mizpah;   Prayer;   Samuel;   Shen;   Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Dibon;   Eben-Ezer;   Judges, the Book of;   Philistia;   Samson;   Samuel;   Shen;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Jeshanah;   Samuel, Books of;   Shen;   Shiloh;   Stone;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Eben-Ezer;   Mediator, Mediation;   Pillar;   Samuel, Books of;   Shen;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ebenezer ;   Judges, Book of;   Mizpah, Mizpeh ;   Shen;   Stones;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ebenezer;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eben-ezer;   Mizpah;   Samuel;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eben-E'zer;   Sam'uel;   Shen;   Stones;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Samuel the Prophet;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chalkstone;   Crag;   Eben-Ezer;   Hitherto;   Images;   Jeshanah;   Judges, Period of;   Mediation;   Names, Proper;   Philistines;   Prayer;   Samuel;   Samuel, Books of;   Shen;   Sorek, Valley of;   Stone;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eben-Ezer;   Philistines;   Pillar;   Stone and Stone-Worship;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for December 31;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 1 Samuel 7:12. Called the name of it Eben-ezerאבן העזר Eben haezer, "The Stone of Help; " perhaps a pillar is meant by the word stone.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-7.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Samuel’s leadership (7:2-17)

During the years of Philistine oppression, Samuel’s position as chief ruler in Israel became firmly established. As a religious leader he commanded the people to turn from idols and worship the Lord only, and the people responded (2-6a). As a civil leader he settled disputes among them (6b). In response to the people’s repentance and Samuel’s prayers for them, God gave Israel a great victory over the Philistines (7-11). The Israelites continued to fight against the Philistines till they had driven them from Israel’s territory completely. From this time on, as long as Samuel remained in control of Israel, the Philistines were of no great trouble to Israel (12-14).
With the destruction of Israel’s tabernacle at Shiloh, the nation’s religious life centred on Samuel, who set up an altar for sacrifice in his home town of Ramah. The civil administration also centred on Samuel, as he moved in an annual circuit around four major towns where he held district courts to settle disputes (15-17).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-samuel-7.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Shen was a tooth-pointed or sharp-pointed rock (see 1 Samuel 14:4), nowhere else mentioned and not identified.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-samuel-7.html. 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 7

And so the men of Kirjathjearim came, and they took the ark of the Lord; and they brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill, and sanctified Eleazar the son to keep the ark of the Lord. And it came to pass, while the ark was there at Kirjathjearim, it was there for a long time; for twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord. And Samuel spake to all the house of Israel, saying, If you do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth [Now Ashtaroth was the goddess of sexual love, and the fertility goddess, and they were, the children of Israel worshiping Ashtaroth, and he said, "Put away the gods and Ashtaroth,"] from among you, and prepare your hearts to the Lord, serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. So the children of Israel put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord. And so they gathered together at Mizpeh, and they drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and he fasted on that day, and said, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. Now when the Philistines heard that they had gathered to Mizpeh, they set up the army against them. And the children of Israel were afraid of the Philistines. And they said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a suckling lamb, and offered it as a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. [Now Samuel beginning to exercise his ministry of intercessory prayer.] 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 on the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came to Bethcar. And then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us ( 1 Samuel 7:1-12 ).

The Ebenezer stone. The word means "the stone of help". Now we sing the song, "Come the fount of every blessing to my heart to sing thy praise. Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise." Second verse, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer", and you've probably been singing that all your life. What in the world are you raising? "Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by Thy help that comes." Actually, it's a stone of memorial, it's a memory kind of a stone. Here I set the stone. God has helped me thus far. God has brought me this far along.

Now actually that's something we can set up every day. You set up Ebenezer, "Well, God brought me this far." Now in that there is always encouragement and hope. For God brought me this far not to dump me. If He wanted to dump me, He would've dumped me a long time ago. Hitherto hath the Lord helped me. The help of the Lord in the past is a prophecy of the help of the Lord in the future. The fact that God has helped me up to this point, gives me assurance He's gonna see me all the way. For the Lord will complete that which concerns you, having begun a good work in your life, He is going to finish it, He's going to complete it. So it is healthy sometimes to set up that memorial "Well God has brought me this far, surely He's not gonna leave me now. He's not gonna forsake me now. Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."

So this was the beginning of the turn of the tide against the Philistines. Up to this point the Philistines had been beating them at every turn, every battle. Now this is the first turn of the tide against the Philistines, and as they came out he set up that stone, he said, "All right the Lord has helped us this far." The first of the beginning of God's work in bringing them victory over their enemies.

So as God brings victories in your lives, set up your Ebenezer stone, "Well, praise the Lord He helped me this far." Stones that mark the places of victory and God's work in my life.

So the Philistines were subdued, they came no more into the coast of Israel: during all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored, from Ekron even to Gath; there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged all the days of his life, judged Israel. And then he went from year to year in a circuit [So he was sort of a circuit prophet.] and he would go from Bethel, to Gilgal, to Mizpeh, and then return to his home in Ramah ( 1 Samuel 7:13-17 );

Which is the modern city of Ram Allah just north of Israel.

"





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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/1-samuel-7.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A. Samuel’s Ministry as Israel’s Judges 7:2-17

As a totally dedicated Nazarite who followed the stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant as best he could, Samuel became a source of deliverance for Israel. The writer recorded two deliverances in this chapter.

This section sounds more like the Book of Judges than does any other in 1 or 2 Samuel. The cycle of religious experience repeated six times in that book occurs here as well. That cycle consists of blessing, apostasy, discipline, repentance, deliverance, rededication, and blessing. Samuel exercised the same function as the judges whose experiences appear on the pages of Judges.

"In the books of Samuel there are three chapters which stand out as markers, characterized by their interpretation of historical changes taking place in Israel’s leadership structure. They are 1 Samuel 7, 1 Samuel 12 and 2 Samuel 7. Not that the remainder of these books is ’non-theological,’ for theological presuppositions undergird the whole, but in these chapters a prophet expounds the divine word for each stage of the crisis through which the people of God are passing." [Note: Baldwin, p. 33.]

Note the continuation of the key word "hand" in this chapter (1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Samuel 7:8; 1 Samuel 7:13-14). It reflects the writer’s continuing interest in the source of true power.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-samuel-7.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. National repentance and deliverance 7:5-14

Mizpah (lit. watchtower, indicating an elevated site) was about two miles northwest of Samuel’s hometown, Ramah, on the central Benjamin plateau. [Note: On the significance of the six-fold repetition of Mizpah in this story, see John A. Beck, "The Narrative-Geographical Shaping of 1 Samuel 7:5-13," Bibliotheca Sacra 162:647 (July-September 2005):299-309.] Pouring out water symbolized the people’s feeling of total inability to make an effective resistance against their enemy (cf. Psalms 62:8; et al.). The people showed that they felt a greater need to spend their time praying to strengthen themselves spiritually than eating to strengthen themselves physically. They did this by fasting (skipping a meal or meals). [Note: On the practice of fasting, see Kent D. Berghuis, "A Biblical Perspective on Fasting," Bibliotheca Sacra 158:629 (January-March 2001):86-103.] They admitted that what they had been doing was a sin against God (cf. 1 John 1:9). The writer described Samuel as one of Israel’s judges similar in function to Gideon, Samson, and others, at this time (cf. Judges 6:25-27).

The Israelites sensed their continuing need for God’s help and appealed to Samuel to continue to intercede for them (1 Samuel 7:8). Samuel gave intercession priority in his ministry because he realized how essential it was to Israel’s welfare (cf. 1 Samuel 12:23). All spiritual leaders should realize this need and should give prayer priority in their ministries. The suckling young lamb he sacrificed for the people represented the nation as it had recently begun to experience new life because of its repentance (1 Samuel 7:9). The burnt offering was an offering of dedication, but it also served to make atonement for God’s people (cf. 1 Samuel 24:25; Leviticus 1:4; Job 1:5; Job 42:8).

After the tabernacle left Shiloh, the Israelites may have pitched it at Mizpah. Since Samuel offered a burnt offering there (1 Samuel 7:9), perhaps that is where the tabernacle stood. Nevertheless at this time the Israelites made offerings to God at other places too (cf. 1 Samuel 7:17).

God’s deliverance was apparently entirely supernatural (1 Samuel 7:10), probably to impress the people with His ability to save them in a hopeless condition and to strengthen their faith in Him. Baal was supposedly the god of storms, but Yahweh humiliated him here. [Note: See Robert B. Chisholm Jr., "The Polemic against Baalism in Israel’s Early History and Literature," Bibliotheca Sacra 151:603 (July-September 1994):277; and idem, "Yahweh versus the Canaanite Gods: Polemic in Judges and 1 Samuel 1-7," Bibliotheca Sacra 164:654 (April-June 2007):165-80.] The location of Bethcar is still uncertain, but most scholars believe it was near Lower Beth-horon, about 8 miles west of Mizpah toward the Philistine plain.

Scholars also dispute the site of Shen (1 Samuel 7:12). The Israelites memorialized God’s help with a stone monument that they named Ebenezer (lit. stone of help). This Ebenezer is quite certainly not the same as the one the writer mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:1 and 1 Samuel 5:1. It was another memorial stone that marked God’s action for His people (cf. Genesis 35:14; Joshua 4:9; Joshua 24:26). [Note: See Carl F. Graesser, "Standing Stones in Ancient Palestine," Biblical Archaeologist 35:2 (1972):34-63.] It announced the reversal of previous indignities and was a symbol of reintegration. [Note: Gordon, pp. 107-8.] This victory ended the 40-year oppression of the Philistines (1124-1084 B.C.; cf. Judges 3:30; Judges 8:28). However, the Philistines again became a problem for Israel later (cf. 1 Samuel 9:16).

The memorial stone bore witness to the effectiveness of trusting the Lord and His designated judge. If the Lord had helped the people thus far, what need was there for a king? This incident shows that the people should have continued following the leadership of the judges that God had been raising up for them. This was not the right time for a king.

The concluding reference to peace with the Amorites may imply that this victory began a period of peace with the Amorites as well as with the Philistines. The Amorites had controlled the hill country of Canaan, and the Philistines had dominated the coastal plain. The native Canaanites, here referred to as Amorites, would have profited from Israel’s superiority over the Philistines since the Philistines were more of a threat to the Canaanites than were the Israelites. [Note: Norman K. Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh, a Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel, 1250-1050 B.C.E., p. 418. ] Often in the Old Testament "Amorites" (Westerners) designates the original inhabitants of Canaan in general.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-samuel-7.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Samuel took a stone, and set it,.... Not for worship, but as a monument of the victory obtained by the help of God: and this he placed

between Mizpeh and Shen; which latter signifies a tooth, and designs the precipice of a rock which juts out, and hangs over in the form of one:

and called the name of it Ebenezer; which signifies "the stone of help"; and is the same place which by anticipation has this name, 1 Samuel 4:1, so that in the selfsame place where the Israelites were twice beaten by the Philistines, and the ark taken, was this salvation wrought for them:

saying, hitherto hath the Lord helped us; this was but the beginning of their deliverance from the Philistines, and which was owing to the help of the Lord; and as he had begun to help them, they might hope and encourage themselves that he would go on to help them until their deliverance was completed: however, they with Samuel thought it their duty, which was right, to acknowledge what the Lord had done for them, and perpetuate the memory of it, though they could not be sure what he would do for them hereafter; yet as they were sensible of, and thankful for this instance of his goodness, they hoped for more, and had their dependence on him for future success against their enemies.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-7.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Israelites Attacked by the Philistines; Samuel's Intercession for Israel. B. C. 1099.

      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.   8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.   9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.   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.   11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car.   12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

      Here, I. The Philistines invade Israel (1 Samuel 7:7; 1 Samuel 7:7), taking umbrage from that general meeting for repentance and prayer as if it had been a rendezvous for war, and, if so, they thought it prudent to keep the war out of their own country. They had no just cause for this suspicion; but those that seek to do mischief to others will be forward to imagine that others design mischief to them. Now see here, 1. How evil sometimes seems to come out of good. The religious meeting of the Israelites at Mizpeh brought trouble upon them from the Philistines, which perhaps tempted them to wish they had staid at home and to blame Samuel for calling them together. But we may be in God's way and yet meet with distress; nay, when sinners begin to repent and reform, they must expect that Satan will muster all his force against them, and set his instruments on work to the utmost to oppose and discourage them. But, 2. How good is, at length, brought out of that evil. Israel could never be threatened more seasonably than at this time, when they were repenting and praying, nor could they have been better prepared to receive the enemy; nor could the Philistines have acted more impolitely for themselves than to make war upon Israel at this time, when they were making their peace with God. But God permitted them to do it, that he might have an opportunity immediately of crowning his people's reformation with tokens of his favour, and of confirming the words of his messenger, who had assured them that if they repented God would deliver them out of the hand of the Philistines. Thus he makes man's wrath to praise him, and serves the purposes of his grace to his people even by the malicious designs of their enemies against them, Micah 4:11; Micah 4:12.

      II. Israel cleaves closely to Samuel, as their best friend, under God, in this distress; though he was no military man, nor ever celebrated as a mighty man of valour, yet, being afraid of the Philistines, for whom they thought themselves an unequal match, they engaged Samuel's prayers for them: Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us,1 Samuel 7:8; 1 Samuel 7:8. They were here unarmed, unprepared for war, come together to fast and pray, not to fight; prayers and tears therefore being all the weapons many of them are now furnished with, to these they have recourse. And, knowing Samuel to have a great interest in heaven, they earnestly beg of him to improve it for them. They had reason to expect it, because he had promised to pray for them (1 Samuel 7:5; 1 Samuel 7:5), had promised them deliverance from the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Samuel 7:3), and they had been observant of him in all that which he had spoken to them from the Lord. Thus those who sincerely submit to Christ, as their lawgiver and judge, need not doubt of their interest in his intercession. They were very solicitous that Samuel should not cease to pray for them: what military preparations were to be made they would undertake them, but let him continue instant in prayer, perhaps remembering that when Moses did but let down his hand ever so little Amalek prevailed. O what a comfort is it to all believers that our great intercessor above never ceases, is never silent, for he always appears in the presence of God for us!

      III. Samuel intercedes with God for them, and does it by sacrifice,1 Samuel 7:9; 1 Samuel 7:9. He took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt-offering, a whole burnt-offering, to the Lord, and, while the sacrifice was in burning, with the smoke of it his prayers ascended up to heaven for Israel. Observe, 1. He made intercession with a sacrifice. Christ intercedes in the virtue of his satisfaction, and in all our prayers we must have an eye to his great oblation, depending upon that for audience and acceptance. Samuel's sacrifice without his prayer would have been an empty shadow, his prayer without the sacrifice would not have been so prevalent, but both together teach us what great things we may expect from God in answer to those prayers which are made with faith in Christ's sacrifice. 2. It was a burnt-offering, which was offered purely for the glory of God, so intimating that the great plea he relied on in his prayer was taken from the honour of God. "Lord, help thy people now for thy name's sake." When we endeavour to give glory to God we may hope he will, in answer to our prayers, work for his own glory. 3. It was but one sucking lamb that he offered; for it is the integrity and intention of the heart that God looks at, more than the bulk or number of the offerings. This one lamb (typifying the Lamb of God) was more acceptable than thousands of rams or bullocks would have been without faith and prayer. Samuel was no priest, but he was a Levite and a prophet; the case was extraordinary, and what he did was by special direction, and therefore was accepted of God. And justly was this reproach put upon the priests because they had corrupted themselves.

      IV. God gave a gracious answer to Samuel's prayer (1 Samuel 7:9; 1 Samuel 7:9): The Lord heard him. He was himself a Samuel, asked of God, and many a Samuel, many a mercy in answer to prayer, God gave him. Sons of prayer should be famous for praying, as Samuel was among those that call upon his name,Psalms 99:6. The answer was a real answer: the Philistines were discomfited (1 Samuel 7:10; 1 Samuel 7:11), totally routed, and that in such a manner as highly magnified the prayer of Samuel, the power of God, and the valour of Israel. 1. The prayer of Samuel was honoured; for at the very time when he was offering up his sacrifice, and his prayer with it, the battle began, and turned immediately against the Philistines. Thus while he was yet speaking God heard, and answered in thunder, Isaiah 65:24. God showed that it was Samuel's prayer and sacrifice that he had respect to, and hereby let Israel know that as in a former engagement with the Philistines he had justly chastised their presumptuous confidence in the presence of the ark, on the shoulders of two profane priests, so now he graciously accepted their humble dependence upon the prayer of faith from the mouth and heart of a pious prophet. 2. The power of God was greatly honoured; for he took the work into his own hand, and discomfited them, not with great hail-stones, which would kill them (as Joshua 10:11), but with a great thunder, which frightened them and put them into such terror and consternation that they fainted away, and became a very easy prey to the sword of Israel, before whom, being thus confounded, they were smitten. Josephus adds that the earth quaked under them when first they made the onset and in many places opened and swallowed them up, and that, besides the terror of the thunder, their faces and hands were burnt with lightning, which obliged them to shift for themselves by flight. And, being thus driven to their heels by the immediate hand of God (whom they feared not so much as they had feared his ark, 1 Samuel 4:7; 1 Samuel 4:7), then, 3. Honour was put upon the hosts of Israel; they were made use of for the completing of the victory, and had the pleasure of triumphing over their oppressors: They pursued the Philistines, and smote them. How soon did they find the benefit of their repentance, and reformation, and return to God! Now that they have thus engaged him for them none of their enemies can stand before them.

      V. Samuel erected a thankful memorial of this victory, to the glory of God and for the encouragement of Israel, 1 Samuel 7:12; 1 Samuel 7:12. He set up an Eben-ezer, the stone of help. If ever the people's hard hearts should lose the impressions of this providence, this stone would either revive the remembrance of it, and make them thankful, or remain a standing witness against them for their unthankfulness. 1. The place where this memorial was set up was the same where, twenty years before, the Israelites were smitten before the Philistines, for that was beside Eben-ezer, 1 Samuel 4:1; 1 Samuel 4:1. The sin which procured that defeat formerly being pardoned upon their repentance, the pardon was sealed by this glorious victory in the very same place where they then suffered loss; see Hosea 1:10. 2. Samuel himself took care to set up this monument. He had been instrumental by prayer to obtain the mercy, and therefore he thought himself in a special manner obliged to make this grateful acknowledgement of it. 3. The reason he gives for the name is, Hitherto the Lord hath helped us, in which he speaks thankfully of what was past, giving the glory of the victory to God only, who had added this to all his former favours; and yet he speaks somewhat doubtfully for the future: "Hitherto things have done well, but what God may yet do with us we know not, that we refer to him; but let us praise him for what he has done." Note, The beginnings of mercy and deliverance are to be acknowledged by us with thankfulness so far as they go, though they be not completely finished, nay, though the issue seem uncertain. Having obtained help from God, I continue hitherto, says blessed Paul, Acts 26:22.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/1-samuel-7.html. 1706.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Ebenezer!

March 15th, 1863 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12 .

It is certainly a very delightful thing to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints. How profitable an occupation to observe God's goodness in delivering David out of the jaw of the hon and the paw of the bear; his mercy in passing by the transgression, iniquity, and sin of Manasseh; his faithfulness in keeping the covenant made with Abraham; or his interposition on the behalf of the dying Hezekiah. But, beloved, would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of his goodness and of his truth, as much a proof of his faithfulness and veracity as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? I think we do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that he wrought all his mighty acts in days of yore, and showed himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare his arm for the saints that are now upon the earth. Let us review, I say, our own diaries. Surely in these modern pages we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the Divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you not been saved in six troubles? yea, in seven hath not Jehovah helped you? Have you had no manifestations? The God that spoke to Abraham at Mamre, hath he never spoken to you? The angel that wrestled with Jacob at Peniel, hath he never wrestled with you? He that stood in the fiery furnace with the three holy children, hath he never trodden the coals at your side? O beloved, he has manifested himself unto us as he doth not unto the world. Forget not these manifestations; fail not to rejoice in them. Have you had no choice favors? The God that gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath he never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty, of whom David sang, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's," hath he never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to he down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely, beloved, the goodness of God of old has been repeated unto us. The manifestations of his grace to those gone to glory has been renewed to us, and delivering mercies as experienced by them are not unknown even to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come. I beg you, therefore, dear friends, for a little time this morning, to fix your thoughts upon your God in connection with yourselves; and, while we think of Samuel piling the stones and saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us," let us lay the emphasis upon the last word and say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped US," and if you can put it in the singular, and say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped ME," so much the better. Again, it is a very delightful exercise to remember the various ways in which the grateful saints recorded their thankfulness. Who can look without pleasure upon the altar which Noah reared after his preservation from the universal deluge? Have not our eyes often sparkled as we have thought of Abraham building the altar and calling it "Jehovah-jireh, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen?" Have we not read with intense satisfaction, of Jacob setting up the stone which had been his pillow, and pouring oil upon it, and calling upon the name of the Lord, naming the place Bethel, though the name thereof was Luz at the first? Who has failed to rejoice in the martial music of Miriam's timbrel, and the glorious notes of Moses' song at the Red Sea? And have we not paused and looked at the twelve stones set up in the midst of Jordan by good old Joshua when Jordan was driven back, that the hosts of Israel might go through dryshod? Surely, brethren, we have rejoiced in this stone which Samuel set up and called Ebenezer? And, in looking upon all the various ways in which the saints of God have recorded his lovingkindness of old, we have felt a satisfaction in beholding the perpetuity of God's glory, since one generation showeth forth to another all his mighty acts. Oh, would it not be quite as pleasant, and more profitable for us to record the mighty acts of the Lord as we have seen them? Should not we set up the altar unto his name, or weave his mercies into a song? Should we not take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise, and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus? Ought not our souls to give forth musics as sweet and exhilarating as ever came from David's harp? Ought not the feet of our gratitude to trip as lightly as Miriam's when she led the daughters of Israel? Have we not some means of praising God? Are there no methods by which we may set forth the gratitude we feel within? I trust we can make an offering unto our Lord. We can entertain our beloved with the spiced wine of our pomegranate, and the choice drops of our honeycomb. I hope that this day our souls may suggest unto themselves some way in which we may record the Lord's mighty deeds, and hand down to coming generations our testimony of his faithfulness and of his truth. In the spirit of these two observations then, looking at God's hand in our own life, and acknowledging that hand with some record of thankfulness, I, your minister, brought by divine grace to preach this morning the five hundredth of my printed sermons, consecutively published week by week, set up my stone of Ebenezer to God. I thank Him, thank Him humbly, but yet most joyfully for all the help and assistance given in studying and preaching the word to these mighty congregations by the voice, and afterwards to so many nations through the press. I set up my pillar in the form of this sermon. My motto this day shall be the same as Samuel's, "Hitherto, the Lord hath helped me." And as the stone of my praise is much too heavy for me to set it upright alone, I ask you, my comrades in the day of battle, my fellow-laborers in the vineyard of Christ, to join with me in expressing gratitude, while together we set up the stone of memorial and say, "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us." This morning there are three things I want to talk about three yet only one. This stone of help was suggestive as to the place of its erection, as to the occasion of its setting up, and as to the inscription which it bore. I. First, then, much valuable instruction, much excitement to devout thankfulness may be found in THE SPOT WHERE THE STONE OF EBENEZER WAS SET UP. Twenty years before on that field Israel was routed. Twenty years before, Hoplini and Phineas, the priests of the Lord, were slain upon that ground, and the ark of the Lord was taken, and the Philistines triumphed. It was well that they should remember the defeat they had sustained, and that amidst the joyous victory they should recollect that the battle had been turned into a defeat unless the Lord had been upon their side. Brethren, let us remember our defeats. Have we forgotten when we went out in our own strength determined to subdue our corruptions, and found ourselves weak as water? Have you forgotten when you reposed in the ark of the Lord, when you rested in ceremonies and ordinances, and not in the rock of your salvation? Have you forgotten, I say, how you were discomfited before your sins and found no place of refuge from your adversaries? Have we forgotten our pitiful failures in preaching and prayer when we waited not upon God for strength? O those times of groaning, when none have believed our report because the Lord's arm was not revealed. I call to remembrance all my failures as I stand on this hill of joy. I doubt not, that on the field of Ebenezer there were the graves of thousands who had been slain in fight. Let the graves of our past proud notions, the graves of our self-confidence, the graves of our creature-strength and boasting, stir us up to praise the Lord who hath hitherto helped us. Perhaps on that spot there stood a trophy raised by the insulting Philistines. Oh, let the remembrance of the boasting of the adversary, when he said, "Aha! aha!" let that come into our ears to sweeten the shout of triumph while we glorify the God of Israel. Have you done anything for God? You would have done nothing without him. Look to your former defeats. Do you return victorious? You would have returned with your garments trailed in the mire, and your shield dishonored, if God had not been upon your side. Oh, ye that have proven your weakness, perhaps by some terrible fall, or in some sad disappointment, let the recollection of the spot where you were vanquished constrain you the more to praise the Lord who hath helped you even to this day to triumph over your adversaries. The field between Mizpeh and Shen would also refresh their memories concerning their sins, for it was sin that conquered them. Had not their hearts been captured by sin, their land had never been captured by Philistia. Had they not turned their backs upon their God, they would not have turned their backs in the day of conflict. Brethren, let us recollect our sins; they will serve as a black foil on which the mercy of God shall glisten the more brightly. Egypt's fertility is the more wonderful because of its nearness to the Lybian sands, which would cover it altogether if it were not for the Nile. That God should be so good is marvellous, but that he should be so good to you and to me, who are so rebelhous, is a miracle of miracles. I know not a word which can express the surprise and wonder our souls ought to feel at God's goodness to us. Our hearts playing the harlot; our lives far from perfect; our faith almost blown out; our unbelief often prevailing; our pride lifting up its accursed head; our patience a poor sickly plant, almost nipped by one night's frost; our courage little better than cowardice; our love lukewarmness; our ardor but as ice oh, my dear brethren, if we will but think any one of us what a mass of sin we are, if we will but reflect that we are after all, as one of the fathers writes, "walking dunghills," we should indeed be surprised that the sun of divine grace should continue so perpetually to shine upon us, and that the abundance of heaven's mercy should be revealed in us. Oh, Lord, when we recollect what we might have been, and what we really have been, we must say, "Glory be unto the gracious and merciful God who hitherto hath helped us." Again, that spot would remind them of their sorrows. What a mournful chapter in Israel's history is that which follows their defeat by the Philistines. Good old Eli, you remember, fell backward and broke his neck; and his daughter-in-law in the pangs of her travail cried, concerning her child, "Call him Ichabod, for the glory has departed, because the ark of the Lord is taken." Their harvests were snatched away by the robbers; their vintage was gleaned for them by alien hands. Israel had twenty years of deep and bitter sorrow. They might have said with David, "We went through fire and through water; men did ride over our heads." Well, friends, let the remembrance of our sorrows also inspire us with a profounder thankfulness while we erect the stone of Ebenezer. We have had our sorrows as a Church. Shall I remind you of our black and dark day? Never erased from our memory can be the time of our affliction and trial. Death came into our windows, and dismay into our hearts. Did not all men speak ill of us? Who would give us a good word? The Lord himself afflicted us, and broke us as in the day of his anger so it seemed to us, then. Ah, God thou knowest how great have been the results which flowed from that terrible calamity, but from our souls the memory never can be taken, not even in heaven itself. In the recollection of that night of confusion, and those long weeks of slander and abuse, let us roll a great stone before the Lord, and let us write thereon, "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us." Little I ween did the devil get by that master-stroke; small was the triumph which he earned by that piece of malice. Greater multitudes than ever flocked to listen to the word, and some here who otherwise might never have attended the preaching of the gospel, remain as living monuments of God's power to save. Of all evil things out of which good has arisen, we can always point to the Surrey Hall catastrophe as one of the greatest goods which ever befel this neighborhood, notwithstanding the sorrows which it brought. This one fact is but a sample of others; for it is the Lord's rule to bring good out of evil, and so to prove his wisdom and magnify his grace. O ye that have come from beds of languishing, ye that have been bowed down with doubt and fear, and ye that have been poverty-stricken, or slandered, or apparently deserted by your God, if this day the glory of God's grace resteth upon you, pile the stone, and anoint the pillar, and write thereon, "Ebenezer, hitherto the Lord hath helped us." While dwelling upon the pecuharity of the locality, we must remark, that, as it had been the spot of their defeat, their sin, their sorrow, so now before the victory, it was the place of their repentance. You see, beloved, they came together to repent, to confess their sins, to put away their false gods, to cast Ashtaroth from their houses and from their hearts. It was there that they saw God's hand and were led to say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." When you and I are most diligent in hunting sin, then God will be most vahant in routing our foes. You look to the work within and overcome sin, and God will look to the work without and overcome your troubles and your trials for you. Ah, dear friends, as we pile that stone thinking how God has helped us, let us shed tears of sorrow to think how ungrateful we have been. On earth penitence and praise must always sing together. Just as in some of our tunes there are two or three parts, we shall always need repentance to take the bass notes while we are here, while faith in praise can mount up to the very highest notes of the divine gamut of gratitude. Yes, with our joy for pardoned guilt we mourn that we pierced the Lord, and with our joy for strengthened graces and ripening experience, we must mourn over ingratitude and unbelief. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst once say, "My God has forgotten me." Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst murmur and complain against him. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst once deny him like Peter. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thine eye hath gone astray after vanity, and thy hand hath touched sin, and thy heart hath played the wanton. Let us repent, my brethren, for it is through our tears, that we shall best perceive the beauty of these grateful words, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." You must remember, too, that Ebenezer was the place of lamentation after the Lord. They came together to pray God to return to them. We shall surely see God when we long after him. How delightful it is to see a Church earnest after revivals, crying, pleading for God to come into her midst. When you know, brethren, that without God your ordinances are nothing, when you cannot rest satisfied with the dead, dry letter, but really want to have the power and the presence of God, then it will not be long before you have it. So while you and I express gratitude for the past, let us breathe another prayer to God for renewed grace. If you personally have lost the light of his face, pray this morning

"Return, O holy Dove! return, Sweet messenger of rest! I hate the sins that made thee mourn, And drove thee from my breast."

And if it be the entire Church, and in any measure our love has grown cold, and the converting and sanctifying spirit has departed, let us pray also the same prayer.

"Savior, visit thy plantation; Grant us, Lord, a gracious rain! All will come to desolation, Unless thou return again; Lord, revive us, All our help must come from thee!"

The place of revival should be the place of gracious thankfulness. On that day, too, Mizpeh was the place of renewed covenant, and its name signifies the watch-tower. These people, I say, came together to renew their covenant with God, and wait for him as upon a watch-tower. Whenever God's people look back upon the past they should renew their covenant with God. Put your hand into the hand of Christ anew, thou saint of the Most High, and give thyself to him again. Climb thy watch-tower and watch for the coming of thy Lord. See whether there be sin within thee, temptation without thee, duty neglected or lethargy creeping over thee. Come to Mizpeh, the watch-tower; come to Mizpeh the place of the renewal of the covenant, and then set up your stone and say, "Hitherto, the Lord hath helped us." It seems to me that the spot where Samuel said "Ebenezer," was exceedingly similar in many respects to the position occupied by us this day. I do not think the children of Israel could with heartier joy say "Ebenezer!" than we can. We have had many sins, a share of sorrows, and some defeats by reason of our own folly. I hope we have humbled ourselves before God, and lament after him, and desire to behold him, and to dwell very near him, and that our soul doth bless his name while we renew the covenant again this day, and while we come to the watch-tower and wait to hear what God the Lord will speak unto us. Come, then, in this great house which the Lord's favor has builded for us, let us sing together, "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us." II. We now change the subject to look at the OCCASION OF THE ERECTION OF THIS MEMORIAL. The tribes had assembled unarmed to worship. The Philistines, hearing of their gathering, suspected a revolt. A rising was not at that time contemplated, though no doubt there was lurking in the hearts of the people a hope that they would somehow or other be delivered. The Philistines being as a nation far inferior in numbers to the children of Israel, they had the natural suspiciousness of weak oppressors. If we must have tyrants let them be strong ones, for they are never so jealous or cruel as those little despots who are always afraid of rebelhon. Hearing that the people had come together, the Philistines determined to attack them; to attack an unarmed company, mark you, who had come together for worship. The people were alarmed; naturally they might be. Samuel, however, the prophet of God, was equal to the occasion. He bade them bring a lamb. I do not know that the lamb was offered according to the Levitical rites, yet prophets in all ages had a right to dispense with ordinary laws. This was to show that the legal dispensation was not permanent, that there was something higher than the Aaronic priesthood, so that Samuel and Elijah, men in whom God expressly dwelt, were mightier than the ordinary officiating priests of the sanctuary. He takes the lamb, puts it on the altar, offers it, and as it smokes to heaven he offers prayer. The voice of man is answered by the voice of God; a great thunder dismays the Philistines, and they are put to rout. We, I think, have been in similar circumstances. Hear the parallel. The victory obtained was by the lamb. As soon as the lamb was slaughtered, and the smoke went up to heaven, the blessing began to descend upon the Israelites, and the curse upon the foes. "They smote them" note the words they "smote them until they came under Betlicar," which, being interpreted, signifies "the house of the Lamb." At the offering of the lamb the Israelites began to fight the Philistines, and slew them even to the house of the lamb. Brethren, if we have done anything for Christ, if we have achieved any victories, if in this house any souls have been converted, any hearts sanctified, any drooping spirits comforted, bear witness that it has been all through the Lamb. When we have pictured Christ slaughtered, have described the agonies which he endured upon the cross, when we have tried to preach fully though feebly the great doctrine of his substitutionary sacrifice, have set him forth as the propitiation for sins, then it is that the victories have begun. And when we have preached Christ ascending up on high, leading captivity captive, and when we have glorified in the fact that he ever liveth to make intercession for us, and that he shall come to judge the quick and dead, if any good has been accomplished it has been through the Lamb the Lamb slain, or else the Lamb exalted. Hark you, dear friends, as we pile our Ebenezer this morning, we do it honoring him. "Unto the Lamb once slain be glory for ever and ever." You have overcome your foes, you have slaughtered your sins, you have mastered your troubles. How has it been? From the altar of that bleeding lamb, onward to the throne of him who is to reign for ever and ever, the whole road has been stained with the crimson blood of your enemies: you have overcome through the blood of the Lamb. The Lamb shall overcome thee. He that rides on the white horse goeth before us; his name is the Lamb. And all the saints shall follow him on the white horses, going forth conquering and to conquer. "Ebenezer; hitherto the Lord hath helped us." But the help has always been through the Lamb, the bleeding, the living, the reigning Lamb. As in this occurrence the sacrifice was exalted, so also was the power of prayer acknowledged. The Philistines were not routed except by prayer. Samuel prayed unto the Lord. They said, "Cease not to cry unto the Lord for us." Brethren, let us bear our witness this morning that, if aught of good has been accomplished here, it has been the result of prayer. Often have I solaced my heart by the recollection of the prayers offered in our former house of meeting at New Park-street. What supplications have I heard there; what groans of wrestling spirits; times we have known when the minister has not had the heart to say a word, because your prayers to God have melted him stopped his utterance, and he has been fain to pronounce a benediction and send you away, because the Spirit of God has been so present that it was hardly the time to speak to man, but only to speak to God. I do not think we always have the same spirit of prayer here, and yet in this I must and will rejoice I know not where the spirit of prayer is to be found more in exercise than in this place. I know you hold up my hands, you that are like Aaron and Hur upon the mountains. I know that you intercede with God for the conversion of this neighborhood, and the evangelization of this great city. Young and old, you do strive together that the kingdom may come, and the Lord's will may be done. But, oh, we must not forget as we look upon this vast Church two thousand and more members walking in the fear of God we must not forget that this increase came as the result of prayer, and that it is in prayer still that our strength must he. I charge you before the Most High, never depend upon my ministy. What am I? What is there in me? I speak, and when God speaks through me I speak with a power unknown to men in whom the Spirit dwells not; but if He leave me, I am not only as weak as other men, but less than they, for I have no wisdom of years, I have no human learning, I have taken no degree in the university, and wear no titles of learned honor. If God speak by me, he must have all the glory; if he saves souls by such a frail being, he must have all the glory. Give unto the Lord glory and strength; lay every particle of the honor at his feet. But do continue to pray, do plead with God for me that his power may still be seen, his arm still put mightily to his work. Prayer honored must be recollected when we set up the Ebenezer and say, "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us." Again, as there was prayer and sacrifice, you must remember that in answer to the sweet savor of the lamb and the sweet perfume of Samuel's intercession, Jehovah came forth to rout his foes. I read not that Israel shouted a war-cry. No, their shouts would not have been heard amid those great thunders. I find that they dashed to battle; but it was not their bow, their spear, their sword, that gained the viotory. Hearken, my brethren, the voice of God is heard! Crash crash! Where are you now, ye sons of Anak! The heavens shake, the earth rocks, the everlasting hills do bow, the birds of the air fly to the coverts of the forest to hide themselves, the timid goats upon the mountains seek the clefts of the rocks. Peal on peal the thunders roll till mountain answers mountain in loud uproar of affright. From crag to crag leaps the live lightning, and the Philistines are all but blinded by it, and stand aghast, and then take to their heels and fly. Quit yourselves like men, O Philistines, that ye be not servants to the Hebrews. Quit yourselves like men, but unless ye be gods ye must tremble now. Where are your bucklers and the bosses thereof? Where are your spears and the sheen thereof? Now let your swords flash from their scabbards; now send out your giants and their armor-bearers! Now let your Gohaths defy the Lord God of hosts! Aha! Aha! Ye become like women, ye quake! ye faint! See, see! they turn their backs and fly before the men of Israel, whom they counted but as slaves. They flee. The warrior fhes and the stout heart quails, and the mighty man fhes like a timid dove to his hiding-place. "Glory be unto the Lord God of Israel: his own right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory." Beloved, if aught of good has been accomplished, or if you and I have routed sin, how hath it been? Not by our strength, not by our power, but by the glorious voice of God. When the gospel is truly preached it is God thundering. It may sound as feebly as a child's voice when we tell of Jesus crucified, but it is God thundering, and I tell you, sirs, the thunders of God never so smote the heart of the Philistines as the gospel of Christ does the heart of convinced sinners. When we preach and God blesses it, it is God's lightnings, it is God's flashes of divine fire, the glittering of his spear; for never were Philistines so smitten with the blaze of lightning in their faces as sinners are when God's law and gospel flash into their dark eyes. But to God be the glory to God to God to God alone! Not a word for man, not a syllable for the son of man. "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, unto him be glory." This is the song of perfect saints above; shall it not be the song of imperfect ones below? "Not unto us not unto us," the seraphs cry as they veil their faces with their wings, and cast their crowns at Jehovah's feet. "Not unto us, not unto us," must we say while we exult in his power and magnify the God of our salvation. III. This was the occasion then. I need not tarry longer, but turn at once to THE INSCRIPTION UPON THE MEMORIAL, "Ebenezer, hitherto the Lord hath helped us." The inscription may be read in three ways. You must read first of all its central word, the word on which all the sense depends, where the fullness of it gathers. "Hitherto the LORD hath helped us." Note, beloved, that they did not stand still and refuse to use their weapons, but while God was thundering they were fighting, and while the lightnings were dashing in the foeman's eyes they were making them feel the potency of their steel. So that while we glorify God we are not to deny or to discard human agency. We must fight because God fighteth for us. We must strike, but the power to strike and the result of striking must all come from him. You see they did not say, "Hitherto our sword hath helped us, hitherto Samuel has encouraged us." No, no "hitherto the Lord has helped us." Now you must admit that everything truly great must be of the Lord. You cannot suppose a thing so great as the conversion of sinners, the revival of a Church can ever be man's work. You see the Thames when the tide is ebbing what a long reach of foul, putrid mud, but the tide returns. Poor unbeliever, you who thought the river would run out till it was all dry and the ships be left aground, see, the flood comes back again, joyfully filling up the stream once more. But you are quite certain that so large a river as the Thames is not to be flooded except by ocean's tides. So you cannot see great results and ascribe them to man. Where there is little worlk done men often take the credit themselves, but where there is great work done, they dare not. If Simon Peter had been angling over the side of his ship and had caught a fine fish, he might have said, "Well done fisherman!" But when the boat was full of fish, so that it began to sink, he could not think of himself then. No, down he goes with "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." The greatness of our work compels us to confess that it must be of God, it must be of the Lord alone. And, dear friends, it must be so if we consider the little with which we began. Jacob said as he came over Jordan, "With my staff I crossed this Jordan, but now am I become two bands." Surely his becoming two bands must be of God, for he had nothing but his staff. And do you not remember some few of you here present one morning when we crossed this Jordan with a staff? Were we a hundred when first I addressed you? What hosts of empty pews, what a miserable handful of hearers. With the staff we crossed that Jordan. But God has multiphed the people and multiphed the joy, till we have become not only two bands but many bands; and many this day are gathering to hear the gospel preached by the sons of this church, begotten of us, and sent forth by us to minister the word of life in many towns and villages throughout these three kingdoms. Glory be unto God, this cannot be man's work. What effort made by the unaided strength of man will equal this which has been accomplished by God. Let the name of the Lord, therefore, be inscribed upon the pillar of the memorial. I am always very jealous about this matter. If we do not as a Church and a congregation, if we do not as individuals, always give God the glory, it is utterly impossible that God should work by us. Many wonders I have seen, but I never saw yet a man who arrogated the honor of his work to himself, whom God did not leave sooner or later. Nebuchadnezzar said, "Behold this great Babylon that I have builded." Behold that poor lunatic whose hair has grown like eagle's feathers, and his nails like bird's claws that is Nebuchadnezzar. And that must be you, and that must be me, each in our own way, unless we are content always to give all the glory unto God. Surely, brethren, we shall be a stench in the nostrils of the Most High, an offense, even like carrion, before the Lord of Hosts, if we arrogate to ourselves any honor. What doth God send his saints for? That they may be demigods? Did God make men strong that they may exalt themselves into his throne? What, doth the King of kings crown you with mercies that you may pretend to lord it over him? What, doth he dignify you that you may usurp the prerogatives of his throne? No; you must come with all the favors and honors that God has put upon you, and creep to the foot of his throne and say, What am I, and what is my father's house that thou hast remembered me. "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us." I said this text might be read three ways. We have read it once by laying stress upon the center word. Now it ought to be read looking backward. The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in that direction. Look back, look back. Twenty years thirty forty fifty sixty seventy eighty "hitherto!" say that each of you. Through poverty through wealth through sickness through health at home abroad on the land on the sea in honor in dishonor in perplexity in joy in trial in triumph in prayer in temptation hitherto. Put the whole together. I like sometimes to look down a long avenue of trees. It is very delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of leafy temple with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. Cannot you look down the long aisles of your years, look at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear your joys? Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there must be many. And the bright sunshine and the blue sky are yonder; and if you turn round in the far distance, you may see heaven's brightness and a throne of gold. "Hitherto! hitherto!" Then the text may be read a third way, looking forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes "hitherto," he looks back upon much that is past, but "hitherto" is not the end, there is yet a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; more slanders, more comforts; more hons and bears to be fought, more tearings of the hon for God's Davids, more deep waters, more high mountains; more troops of devils, more hosts of angels yet. And then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No, no, no! We will raise one stone more when we get into the river, we will shout Ebenezer there: "hitherto the Lord hath helped us," for there is more to come. An awakening in his likeness, climbing of starry spheres, harps, songs, palms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Yes, as sure as God has helped so far as to-day, he will help us to the close. "I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee; I have been with thee, and I will be with thee to the end." Courage, brethren, then; and as we pile the stones, saying, "Hitherto the Lord hath helped us," let us just gird up the loins of our mind, and be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be revealed in us, for as it has been, so it shall be world without end. I want some oil to pour on this pillar I want some oil. Jacob poured oil upon it and called upon the name of the Lord. Where shall I get my oil. Grateful hearts, have ye any oil? Prayerful spirits, have ye any? Companions of Jesus, have ye any? Ye that commune with him day and night, have ye any? Pour it out, then. Break your alabaster boxes, oh ye Mary's. Pour out your prayers this morning with mine. Offer your thanksgivings with my grateful expressions of thanks. Come each of you, pour this oil upon the top of this Ebenezer to-day. I want some oil, I wonder whether I shall get it from yonder heart. Oh, says one, my heart is as a flinty rock. I read in scripture that the Lord brought oil out of the flinty rock. Oh, if there should be a soul led to believe in Christ this morning, if some heart would give itself up to Christ to-day! Why not so? why not? The Holy Ghost can melt flint and move mountains. Young man, how long are we to preach to you, how long to invite you, how long to pain you, how long to entreat you, to implore you? Shall this be the day that you will yield? Dost thou say, "I am nothing?" Then Christ is everything. Take him, trust him. I know not a better way of celebrating this day of Ebenezer and thanksgiving, than by some hearts this day accepting the marriage ring of Christ's love, and being affianced unto the Son of God for ever and ever. God grant it may be so. It shall be so if you pray for it, O true hearts. And unto God be glory for ever. Amen.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-samuel-7.html. 2011.