Near the end of Joshua’s life, he called his people together and challenged them to commit to follow God. They made a covenant to obey and serve God. In order to remind them of their covenant, Joshua “took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.” He told the people that this stone would be a witness, a reminder of the covenant they had made.” (See Joshua 24:24-27).
Several hundred years later, the prophet Samuel also used a large stone as a reminder. After the Israelites won a battle against the Philistines with divine assistance, “Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen [near the place of the battle], and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).
Eben (אֶבֶן) means “a stone” in Hebrew, and ezer (עֵזֶר) means “a help” or “a helper.” So eben-ezer means “stone of help.” Samuel wanted this monument to remind the children of Israel of the divine help they had received.
After King Benjamin’s people received a remission of their sins by exercising faith in Jesus Christ, Benjamin admonished them to “remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God…and his goodness and long-suffering towards you” (Mosiah 4:11). He had all their names recorded in a book as a record of their covenant to follow God. He also appointed priests “to stir them up in remembrance of the oath which they had made” (Mosiah 6:3).
In the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” we sing the following words:
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Today, I will remember. Just as Joshua and Samuel placed large stones in conspicuous places, and just as Benjamin recorded the names of his people, I will remind myself of the goodness of God to me and of the commitments I have made to Him.