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Poole on 1 Samuel 7:12: Eben-ezer

Verse 12:[1] Then Samuel (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14; Josh. 4:9; 24:26) took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it (1 Sam. 4:1) Eben-ezer (that is, the stone of help[2]), saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.



[He brought a stone, etc.] To perpetuate the memory of the benefit received, and of the victory. Others did the same: Jacob, Genesis 28:18; 35:14; Moses, Exodus 24:4; Joshua, Joshua 4:8, 9. Question: Whether Samuel violated that law in Leviticus 26:1, ye shall not place an eminent stone…? Response: Not at all. 1. The law prohibited the erecting of a stone for worship, but not for other ends (certain interpreters in Mendoza). On the contrary: The erection of stones was prohibited, not only with the intention, but also with the danger, of worship (Mendoza). 2. A stone polished, painted, and marked was prohibited; not rude and unpolished, which by its appearance would tempt no one to worship (certain interpreters in Mendoza). 3. The truer response is, that Samuel enjoyed a divine privilege (Mendoza).


A stone; a rude, unpolished stone, which was not prohibited by that law, Leviticus 26:1, there being no danger of worshipping such a stone, and this being set up only as a monument of the victory.


[Between Mizpeh and Shen, וּבֵ֣ין הַשֵּׁ֔ן[3]] [Some take it appellatively.] Between that boulder (Drusius, Junius and Tremellius), called eben-ezer, concerning which 1 Samuel 4:1 (Junius); tooth/projection (Piscator, Drusius, Munster). Thus the Hebrew language calls a projecting rock (Munster). The tooth/projection of rock; that is, a boulder (Munster). Between that tooth/ projection, which in verse 11 was called Beth-car (Malvenda). And between the ancient (Septuagint); they confound שֵׁן/shen/tooth with יָשֵׁן/old (Drusius). [To others it is a proper name.] Between Shina (Jonathan), Shen (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus); between Beth-jasan (Syriac, Arabic). It was a promontory, or part of cliff that was jutting out farther (Vatablus).



[The stone of help[4]] The Greeks have, the stone of the helper. But helper is עוֹזֵר, not עֶזֶר/help (Drusius). The Pagans were erecting monuments, but to themselves; but Samuel erected this to God. He does not ascribe that victory to the stone; but, according to the nature of Sacraments, he attributes to the symbol what was proper to the matter itself (Martyr).


Eben-ezer; by which, compared with 1 Samuel 4:1, it appears that this victory was gained in or near the very same place where the Israelites received their former fatal loss.


[Hitherto, etc.] He indicates that this help was not unto the total overthrow of their enemies, but limited to certain events only. This was done, lest the people in victory should become haughty, and loosed from all fear. For it was better prudently to fear and to prepare, than rashly to presume and to exult (Mendoza).


Hitherto hath the Lord helped us; he hath begun to help us in some measure, though not completely to deliver us; by which wary expression he exciteth both their thankfulness for their mercy received, and their holy fear and care to please and serve the Lord, that he might proceed to help and deliver them more effectually.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקַּ֙ח שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶ֣בֶן אַחַ֗ת וַיָּ֤שֶׂם בֵּֽין־הַמִּצְפָּה֙ וּבֵ֣ין הַשֵּׁ֔ן וַיִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמָ֖הּ אֶ֣בֶן הָעָ֑זֶר וַיֹּאמַ֕ר עַד־הֵ֖נָּה עֲזָרָ֥נוּ יְהוָֽה׃ [2] Hebrew: אֶ֣בֶן הָעָ֑זֶר. [3]שֵׁן/shen signifies tooth. [4] Hebrew: אֶ֣בֶן הָעָ֑זֶר.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12 abr 2021


Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening": '"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."—1 Samuel 7:12 The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, "hitherto the Lord hath helped!" Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, "hitherto hath the Lord helped us!"

We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12 abr 2021

Robert Hawker's "Poor Man's Portion": '"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."—1 Samuel 7:12 Did Samuel do this? Was that servant of the Lord, who lived not to see Christ in the flesh, so full of faith in the coming Saviour, and in the experience of Jehovah's faithfulness in what was past, that he set up his Ebenezer? Surely, my soul, thou wilt blush to be outdone by the prophet, when thou hast not only seen the day of the Son of man completed, but felt his power. Oh my soul, let thine Ebenezer be Jesus! Let the stone thou settes…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12 abr 2021


Matthew Henry: 'Samuel erected a thankful memorial of this victory, to the glory of God and for the encouragement of Israel, 1 Samuel 7:12. He set up an Ebenezer, 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 Ebenezer, 1 Samuel 4:1. The sin which procured that defeat formerly being pardoned upon their repentance, the pardon was sealed by this glorious victor…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12 abr 2021

Study 1 Samuel in detail with the Illustrious Matthew Poole! www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/1-samuel

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