Samuel was the thirteenth judge of Israel Although his tribal relation is not very clearly established, his life work indicates that he was a Levite. The son of Elkanah and Hannah, who lived at Ramathaimzophim, of Mount Ephraim. Shiloh was still the center of the national worship and Elkanah along with his family were devout servants and worshippers of God. At this time the worship of God had been neglected and dishonored to such an extent that the people abhorred the sacrifices required by the law of Moses. Ebenezer refers to a city mentioned in the Old Testament book of I Samuel when the prophet Samuel and the nation of Israel defeated the Philistines.
And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
Then Samuel was called by God and established as a prophet.The Philistines invaded the land where the children of Israel were encamped. In the battle that followed, Israel suffered a humiliating defeat and the ark of God was taken by the Philistines.
And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
1 Samuel 4:3-11
Ecstatic, the Philistines carried the ark in victory to Ashdod and set it beside their god Dagon. Calamity, plague, and death followed for seven months until they returned it to Israel. Soon after the return of the ark, Israel assembled at Mizpeh, and they drew water and poured it out before the Lord, fasted, acknowledged their sins, and Samuel judged the people.
When the Philistines heard that they were gathered at Mizpeh, they were furious and went to war against them. The Israelites begged Samuel to pray continuously for them and the Lord answered with a 'mighty voice of thunder from heaven'. The Philistines were frightened and the Israelites routed them in a horrific battle.
And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.
1 Samuel 7:9-11
Many years after Israel had lost their significant battle to the Philistines
, a lot had happened to bring Israel back to God and as a result they battled the Philistines again at the very same location and this time they were victorious. A large memorial stone was set up by the Prophet Samuel at that spot as a reminder for Israel to never forget how with God's help and only his help they had won this battle in the same place they had been defeated before. Samuel named the stone, and the place, Ebenezer
, which means in Hebrew "stone of help".
This immediate defeat of the previously all-conquering Philistines, and the return of the ark of God and Samuel’s commemoration by erecting a new standing stone called Ebenezer, the "Stone of Salvation." is celebrated in the hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing". The second stanza begins, "Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I've come". Hence an Ebenezer is anything that reminds one that, ‘hither by God's help I've come’.
There is a melody named Ebenezer that is also known as Ton-Y-Botel. A couple of the hymns this air is used for are Once to Every Man and Nation and O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. While it is used for other hymns as well there is also a fiddle tune called Ebenezer.
So, that's what an Ebenezer stone is - as a Biblical word Ebenezer means "stone of help" that later became a hymn melody, and finally, a fiddle tune.
The Holy Bible
Behind the Name: Traditional English Names: