The ancient Ebenezer story is linked to the modern Israeli town of Kafr Qasim. It is a hill-top town with an Arab population of about 25,000 residents and is located approximately 12 miles east of Tel Aviv on the Israeli side of the border with the West Bank.
In modern times the town is tragically remembered as the site of the
Kafr Qasim massacre, when Israel Border Police killed 49 civilians on
29th October 1956.
The Ancient Story
2,500 years ago the settlement was close to the site of two battles
between the ancient Israelis and their neighbours and enemies the
Philistines, a war-like people said to have originally migrated from
According to the book of Samuel in the Nevi'im (the book of Prophets in Judiasm and the Old Testament in the Christian bible) the Israelis lost heavily in both battles. It is recorded as 4,000 deaths in the first battle and 30,000 deaths in the second battle. Not only did they lose soldiers they also lost territory and the Philistines occupied many of the Israeli border towns.
about 20 years, pressure built to the point where the Israelis wanted to
initiate military action to retake those territories and break free
from the oppression of Philistine occupation. They approached their
spiritual leader the prophet Samuel and asked for his advice and
The cultural and religious background to this was that the Israelis had a deeply ingrained ethnocentrism believing themselves to be their god JWHW's (Yaweh or Jehovah in modern translation) "chosen people" tasked with spreading the message of monotheism.
But in preceding years they had moved away from JWHW and were worshipping other foreign gods and idols. However, Judaism forbids idolatry, in all its forms, both then and now. Thus their two major defeats by the Philistines came to be recognised as a withdrawal of JHWH's support because of this.
Samuel called a meeting of the Israeli leaders and told them:
“If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths (goddesses) and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
The mythic truth
The Israeli leaders debated this amongst themselves and decided that they would drop their worship of foreign gods and worship only the Israeli god YHWH.
In the ensuing battle the Israelis prevailed and the Philistines were decisively defeated. Following this the Israelis reclaimed their occupied towns and secured their border and lived in peace for many years thereafter.
Raising the Ebenezer stone of help
After the battle, Samuel the prophet went to the settlement where the Israelis spent the night before the battle and erected a stone monument and called it "Ebenezer" which means in Hebrew "Stone Of Help".
He did this as a permanent reminder to the Israelis to stay faithful to YHWH the one true source of their strength and victory. In modern framing:
So what's the point of this old story about Ebenezer and how does this apply to me today?
Depiction of the Battle of Eben-Ezer from the Dura-Europos synagogue (pre-244 AD)
To understand the personal significance and application of this story here are four pointers to help understand the context:
# We live in an energetic universe. This perspective is science based and proven.
# We also live in a participatory universe. This perspective is supported by science but not yet fully proven by science.
# We are energetic beings. Our energetic state has a significant impact on the life experiences we create and attract.
# There are 3 levels to the mind:
it all goes horribly wrong
To quote from an earlier article on Living With Your Thoughts:
"Given that we are fundamentally energetic beings existing in an energetic universe we need to understand, relate to and work with our higher self. It is the portal to, in the conventional sense, everything 'out there'.
However, 'Windows 10' (the ego) is not an energetic being but it thinks it is! Its sphere of operation is defined by our sensory perceptions. For 'Windows 10' seeing is believing. Because its role is to control it thinks it does - or should - control everything.
This is, of course, a major delusion and is where the whole teaching in mainstream belief systems of dying to the self comes into play."
This is the present day mythic truth drawn from this ancient story
the historical period of these ancient Israelis, and in common with the
later monotheistic belief traditions, the realm of the spiritual
dimension was seen as distant, other and outside of the self (using the
word self in the modern understanding of the whole self).
In keeping with their belief system, the ancient Israeli's viewed themselves as JHWH's chosen people, and JHWH was their source of guidance and power. So when they disconnected from this source and engaged with the false gods and goddesses (what to the modern view we would see as the preoccupations and projections of the egoic mind) they failed.
When we do likewise, and deny or ignore our spiritual or energetic nature, step out of alignment, and follow our egos, we too will ultimately fail.
the ancient Israelis our battles are more likely to be internal battles
with our negative thoughts and the associated negative energetic
These thoughts stem from the older part of our brains that generate the flight/fight response, and that host our more basic or animal nature, and from conditioning - courtesy of the dominant adult figures in our lives when we were younger.
In adulthood we are all influenced by the zeitgeist, the media in general and for younger people by social media in particular.
To counter the effects of these negative influences takes time and more importantly effort.
We are talking quite literally about a renewal of our minds. Think of this as re-wiring of our brain. This is why meditation is spoken of as a practice.
The purpose of your creating Ebenezer stones of help is to enable multiple points of contact with these reminders throughout the day and, over time, reinforcing these truths in your mind.
To aid your practice I offer the following Ebenezer stones of help that I have created and that I use:
# Collection of phrases, sutras and verses that have deep personal energetic resonance
- These can be drawn from many different sources. The key thing is that speak to you.
- I hold a file of these phrases on my laptop as screensavers which change at preset intervals.
- I hold a file of these phrases on my phone which I can read when I am out walking and taking a break.
- I have a paper copy of these beside my bed which I read before I go to sleep at night and in the night if I wake up.
# A powerful visual image that has deep personal energetic resonance
- I have a picture of a man in a chariot which has a powerful and personal symbolic meaning for me.
- I have that picture on my laptop as a screen saver.
- I have a picture of this image mounted and framed and hanging on my kitchen wall.
- I even have a mug with this image on it!
# A gratitude box
- This was something that a friend made and gave me containing 60 little hand-made notes of personal things for which I am grateful.
Next Article: Going With The Flow - The Balance Of Being And Doing
Return from "Your Ebenezer Stone Of Help" to: Walking The Talk
Or to: What Is Spirituality?
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