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EBENEZER (ĕb'ĕn-ē'zêr, Heb. ’even-‘ezer, stone of help)

A town of Ephraim near Aphek by which the Israelites camped before fighting a losing battle with the Philistines (1Sam.4.1). The ark of God was captured by these enemies of Israel, and they brought it from Ebenezer to their city, Ashdod (1Sam.5.1).Later, God gave Israel victory over the Philistines. Samuel then took a stone and set it up as a memorial of the occasion, calling it Eben-ezer, “the stone of help,” saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us” (1Sam.7.12).

EBENEZER, EBEN-EZER ĕb’ ə nē’ zər (אֶ֣בֶן הָעֵ֔זֶר; LXX ̓Αβενεζερ, stone of help). 1. The scene of two defeats of the Israelites by the Philistines. In the first battle, the Israelites lost 4,000 men and in the second, 30,000. In the second battle, the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines; also Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed (1 Sam 4:1-11). The precise location of Ebenezer is uncertain. It was near Aphek, but this site has not been identified with certainty either. Some scholars believe the site of Ebenezer may be Majdel Yaba, NE of Jaffa.

2. Ebenezer also was the name given by Samuel to the stone set up by him between Mizpah and Jeshanah to commemorate an Israelite victory over the Philistines (1 Sam 7:12).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(’ebhen ha-`ezer, "stone of the help"; Abenezer):

(1) Here Israel was defeated by the Philistines, 4,000 men falling in the battle (1Sa 4:1 ff). It appears also to have been the scene of the disaster when the ark of God was captured (1Sa 4:3 ff). The place is not identified. It was over against Aphek; but this site is also unknown (compare Jos 12:18). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it between Jerusalem and Ascalon, in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh. Conder suggests Deir Aban, fully 2 miles East of `Ain Shems (PEF, III, 24).

(2) A stone set up by Samuel to perpetuate the memory of the signal victory granted to Israel over the Philistines in answer to his prayer (1Sa 7:12). It stood between Mizpeh and Shen. The latter is probably identical with `Ain Sinia, North of Bethel. This defines the district in which it may be found; but no identification is yet possible.