Eben-Ezer

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Eben-Ezer (Hebrew: אבן העזר‎‎, Even Ha'Ezer, lit. stone of help) is the name of a location that is mentioned by the Books of Samuel as the scene of battles between the Israelites and Philistines. It is specified as having been less than a day's journey by foot from Shiloh, near Aphek, in the neighbourhood of Mizpah, near the western entrance of the pass of Beth-horon. However, its location has not been identified in modern times with much certainty, with some identifying it with Beit Iksa, and others with Dayr Aban.[1]

Historical mentions[edit]

It appears in the Books of Samuel in two narratives:

  • In the first narrative (1 Samuel 4:1-11), the Philistines defeat the Israelites, even though the Israelites brought the Ark of the Covenant onto the battlefield in hope of it bringing them a divinely assured victory. As a result of the Philistine victory and the Ark's presence on the battlefield, it was captured by the Philistines, and not returned until many months later (1 Samuel 6:1-2).
  • In the second narrative (1 Samuel 7:2-14), the Israelites defeat the Philistines, after Samuel has offered a sacrifice. Samuel puts up a stone in memorial and names it Eben-Ezer (the placename in the previous narrative resulting from this). This monument is referred to in the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.[2]

Modern-day placement[edit]

It is currently accepted among many Israeli archaeologists and historians to place the Eben-Ezer of the first narrative in the immediate neighborhood of modern-day Kafr Qasim, near Antipatris (ancient city Aphek), while the second battle's location is deemed to be insufficiently well-defined in the Biblical text. The other proposed site is called "Isbet Sartah".[3] Some scholars hold that there were more than one Aphek. C.R. Conder identified the Aphek of Eben-Ezer[4] with a ruin (Khirbet) some 3.7 miles (6 km) distant from Dayr Aban (believed to be Eben-Ezer), and known by the name Marj al-Fikiya; the name al-Fikiya being an Arabic corruption of Aphek.[5] Eusebius, when writing about Eben-ezer in his Onomasticon, says that it is "the place from which the Gentiles seized the Ark, between Jerusalem and Ascalon, near the village of Bethsamys (Beit Shemesh),"[6] a locale that corresponds with Conder's identification.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C.R. Conder, Notes from the Memoir, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, vol. 18, London 1876, p. 149; Conder & Kitchener, The Survey of Western Palestine, vol. iii (Judaea), London 1883, p. 24
  2. ^ "Here I Raise My Ebenezer!". Apologeticspress.org. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Location and map of Izbet Zartta or Eben-Ezer
  4. ^ The account in 1 Samuel 4:1 of the battle at Aphek and Eben-ezer
  5. ^ North, Robert (1960). "Ap(h)eq(a) and 'Azeqa". Biblica. 41 (1): 61–63. Retrieved 1 January 2016 – via JSTOR. (registration required (help)). 
  6. ^ Eusebius Werke, Erich Klostermann (ed.), Leipzig 1904, p. 33,24.

External links[edit]