In all probability, the controlling Philistines had banned the Israelites from holding public meeting where they could mobilize the tribes for war. Consequently, the Philistines dispatched a large military force to Mizpah “to attack them.” Fear gripped the Israelites when they learned that an attack by the Philistines was looming.
Samuel told them, “Don’t stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, so that he will save us from the Philistines.” Then he took a young lamb and offered it as an offering to the Lord. The bible says, “the Lord answered him.” While Samuel was offering the young lamb, the Philistines approached to fight. Suddenly, the Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by Israel. The men of Israel chased the Philistines out of Mizpah and pursued them, striking them down.
In honor of God’s victory, Samuel took a stone and set it up at the place of the victory. He named it Ebenezer, clarifying that, “The Lord has helped us to this point.” The Philistines did not invade Israel’s territory again and the Lord’s hand was against the Philistines all of Samuel’s life.