1 Samuel 7:3
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel,.... When they assembled at one of their three yearly feasts, or as he went from place to place, exhorting them to repentance and reformation; and perceiving they began to be awakened to a sense of their sins, and seemed desirous of returning to God, and restoring his worship:
saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts; truly and sincerely; for he might fear there was hypocrisy and dissimulation at least in some of them:
then put away the strange gods; as all but the true God are; or the gods of another people, as the Philistines, Canaanites, &c. Baalim seem chiefly intended, as appears from the following verse:
and Ashtaroth from among you; female deities, such as with other nations went by the name of Juno, Venus, &c. so the Arabic version,
"the idols of the women ye secretly worship.''
Aquila renders it, "the images of Astarte"; so they call Venus as Procopius Gazaeus observes, from "aster", a star; but the word signifies flocks of sheep, and these deities are supposed by some to be in the form of them; but be they what they may, they were to be put away out of their houses, and out of their hearts:
and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only; that is, direct your hearts to him while in his service; let it proceed from the heart, and let it be done to him only, and not to another with him; or to him in and by another, as may be pretended, and commonly is by idolaters:
and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines; under whose dominion they had been for many years; for though their power over them was weakened by Samson, yet they were not completely delivered by him; so all the time of Eli they were not wholly free from them; and especially since their last defeat by them; when the ark was taken, they had been under oppression by them; now Samuel promises them deliverance from it, in case they relinquish their idols, and served the Lord solely and heartily.