EBENEZER: Sig "stone of help". The name is mentioned
three times in the Bible (1Sa 4:1; 5:1; 7:12). According to 1Sa 7:12 it was the
name given to a stone set up by Samuel to commemorate the divine assistance
given to Israel in battle, whereby they were victorious over the Philistines.
Its position was carefully defined as a place between Mizpah and Shen, near
Aphek. According to 1Sa 4:1; 5:1, Israel 20 years previously had been soundly
defeated there by the Philistines and the ark of God captured and taken to
Ashdod. The writer used the name Ebenezer because the place was known by that
name at the time of writing.
LET US BRING THE ARK... FROM SHILOH: This carrying of a
"god" into battle was a common practice of Gentile armies (cp 2Sa 5:21). This
action here suggests the Jews' superstitious reliance upon the ark of God, as
though such alone would "save" them in battle, even when they had little or no
regard for the commandments of their God.
In later times this characteristic would manifest itself again
and again, in a strict observance of the letter of Law, and a love of outward
show. "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their
lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of
rules taught by men" (Isa 29:13).
THE PHILISTINES WERE AFRAID: They had more faith in the
power of God than did the Jews. Sym triumph of Gospel (Gentiles) over Law
Cit 1Co 16:13: in context of Gentiles "triumphing" over