A. Israel’s repentance.
1. The worship of Jehovah during this period:
a. Why was not the ark brought back to Shiloh where it had been since the days of Joshua (Ps. 78:59, 60)?
b. What very likely happened to the worship at the tabernacle because of the absence of the ark?
c. What place of worship was substituted for the tabernacle at Shiloh (I Sam. 7:17)?
d. In light of Lev. 17:8, 9 and Deut. 12:13, 14 do you think it was wrong for Samuel to build an altar in Ramah?
e. Does verse 2 of chapter 7 establish a connection between the ark’s being gone from Shiloh and Israel’s repentance?
2. A national repentance:
a. Did the many troubles that Israel suffered during the days of Eli have anything to do with her repentance (Judges 2:20-23, Heb. 12:5-10)?
b. In connection with the previous question, is there a difference between punishment and chastisement? Cf. also Ps. 11:5.
c. How long did it take before this severity accomplished its purpose?
d. Are there any indications in chapter 7 that Israel’s repentance was sincere?
e. Why does the Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day XXX speak of sincerity? Is there a difference between a sincere and a perfect repentance? Cf. also II Cor. 7:9-11.
B. Israel’s victory over the Philistines.
1. The story:
a. When and why did the Philistines come to Mizpeh to fight against Israel?
b. Why were the Israelites so afraid (Ps. 44:20-25)?
c. How does verse 10 prove that the storm which defeated the Philistines was no ordinary storm? Cf. Ps. 83:15.
d. What was the result of this victory for Israel? Was it the great victory toward which He was leading them (Ps. 78:65-72)?
2. The significance of this history:
a. How are Israel’s repentance and the victory God gave them related (I Kings 8:33, 34)?
b. Of what great victory given by God to His church is this victory over the Philistines a picture (Matt. 27:45, Acts 2:19, 20, Matt. 24:27-30)?
c. Is repentance also the way in which we become partakers of the victory over our enemies? Cf. II Cor. 7:9-11.
d. What does the name Ebenezer mean and what is the significance of that name? Cf. Deut. 32:4, 15-18, 30, 31, Ps. 95:1, 61:2, 62:2, Is. 51:1, etc.
e. Who is our Ebenezer (I Cor. 10:4, Rom. 9:33, I Peter 2:6-8)?
C. Israel’s request for a King.
1. The circumstances:
a. Approximately how long a time intervenes between chapters 7 and 8?
b. Who did Samuel appoint to succeed him as Israel’s judges? Were these men worthy of that position (Duet. 16:18-20)?
c. Why do we read nothing of Samuel being rebuked and punished like Eli for the conduct of his sons? Cf. Ez. 33:17-19 for a possible answer.
2. The request of Israel’s elders:
a. What reasons did the elders give for their request that they be allowed to have a king? Which was the real reason?
b. In the light of Deut. 17:14, 15, was it wrong for Israel to ask for a King?
c. What was wrong with the reasons they gave (I Samuel 10:19, 12:17-19, Hosea 13:9-11)? Cf. also Ps. 20:7, etc.
d. What do you think that Israel saw in the Kings of the nations that made them want a king? Cf. for example Dan. 4:30.
e. Was it true that by asking a king they were rejecting Samuel as he himself thought?
3. God’s response to their request?
a. How was Israel punished for this rejection of God? Cf. Ps. 106:14, 15, the example of Israel in the wilderness and apply that to this story.
b. What did Samuel tell them their king would be like?
c. By giving them a King after their own hearts, for whom was God preparing the way (Ps. 78:70)?
d. What does this whole incident teach us about our great King? Is He a king like the Kings of the nations, the kind of King we would choose? Is He King by our request and choice? Cf. Matt. 27:11, 29, 37, John 12:15.