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Monday, May 23, 2011

With All Your Heart. . .

The Ark of the Covenant had been in the possession of Eleazar, son of Abinadab in Kirjath Jearim for twenty years, after being hastily returned by the Philistines.  The ark had been placed in the house of the Philistine God, Dagon, to the idol’s ruin (I Sam. 5:3).  Kirjath Jearim, or the “city of woods,” was reported by Eusebius as being located 9.3 miles from Jerusalem.  The King James Version describes the situation thusly, “And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-Jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord” (I Sam.7:2, KJV).  The Hebrew word for lamented in this instance is nahah, which means to groan, cry aloud or wail.  The prophet Samuel advises the still wayward Israelites, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and he will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines” (I Sam. 7:3). The people repent and are saved by God’s hand, “. . . the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel” (I Sam.7:10).

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