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1 Samuel 7:17

ESV Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the LORD.
NIV But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the LORD.
NASB Then he would make his return to Ramah, because his house was there, and there he also judged Israel; and there he built an altar to the Lord.
CSB Then he would return to Ramah because his home was there, he judged Israel there, and he built an altar to the Lord there.
NLT Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.
KJV And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.

What does 1 Samuel 7:17 mean?

Serving as judge over Israel, Samuel would travel an annual circuit to three important locations to carry out his duties: Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah (1 Samuel 7:16). Once he had completed the circuit, Samuel would return to his hometown of Ramah, also north of Jerusalem.

The prophet would conduct the Lord's business in Ramah, as well, and eventually built an altar there. It's unknown whether this was a memorial altar to honor the Lord or the replacement for the official altar of sacrifice at Shiloh that had likely been destroyed by the Philistines. Samuel's work at Ramah caused that city to become one of the important religious cities in Israel during this time, as well.
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