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In "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," the second verse, says, "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come."

I have heard that an Ebenezer is a monument of some kind, but even armed with that knowledge, I really don't understand what I'm singing. What is going in that verse?

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Because you are singing a song which is freakin' awesome. –  Ignatius Theophorus Jun 26 '12 at 11:06

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This has always been a favorite line of mine. As you may know, the word Ebenezer comes from 1 Samuel 7:12. Israel had just screwed up with the ark (the Philistines had captured it) and gotten it back (only because God has freaked the Philistines out by knocking their precious Dagon over), and Samuel was talking to Israel.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "till now the LORD has helped us."

Ebenezer is "Eben ha-`ezer" which means "stone of help." God was a rock of salvation to Israel; Samuel was setting up a monument of God's rock-ness (which is all throughout the bible) and salvation. God had, once again, helped Israel where they had messed up.

This is especially emphasized by the irony that "Ebenezer" was the name of the place that the Israelites had lost the ark to the Philistines. Aren't the literary connections in Scripture cool?

The first two lines in Come Thou Fount that contain Ebenezer go (at least according to The Trinity Hymnal)

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I'm come

The hymnist is, like Samuel, raising his stone of help as a tribute to God's salvation and grace. By thy help I've come this far; I praise you for it.

It's a great line because it captures the grace of God and the praise of Him for it in one succinct quote.

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This is a very nice answer! In reading up on it, I came across a further connection: Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Sam 7:12 refers to Acts 26:22-23. There, Paul stands before Agrippa, tells the road-to-Damascus story, and says, "But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen - that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles." –  James T Apr 1 '12 at 2:54
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@JamesT thanks! That's a great connection by Henry. Isn't it fascinating how many pieces of the Bible begin to fit together as you dig deeper? –  Thomas Shields Apr 1 '12 at 3:19
    
Wikipedia doesn't mention the tune of the hymn; but it would appear to fit the tune Ebenezer as well. I wonder if it was written for these words? –  Andrew Leach Apr 2 '12 at 18:46

From studying, I found that Ebenezer means "Stone of help"; I've discovered many verses that remind us that God is our help and strength (Psalm 46) and we can be channels of his help to others--from Eve, the helpmeet for Adam, to Dorcas, helping the poor (Acts:9.36)--and all of us can have the gift of "helping others" (1 Cor:12.28).

The writer of the hymn was Robert Robinson, who was a leader of a notorious gang in his youth but was wonderfully converted after hearing George Whitfield preach. He later became a pastor of a church in Norfolk. He was 23 when he wrote the hymn "Come thou fount of every blessing." Sadly, he later drifted from the faith. He was once traveling on a stagecoach when a lady sitting next to him was reading a hymn book and read out this hymn and said how wonderful it was. He replied "Madam, I'm the poor man who wrote that hymn many years ago. I would give a thousand worlds to enjoy the feelings I had then." It was indeed true- he even says in the next verse "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it...."

Source: The Complete Book of Hymns- Inspiring stories by William J. Peterson and Ardythe Peterson

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Welcome to C.SE. A good, solid, well-sourced answer! I'd direct you to what we're tour, but it looks like yuo've already been there! –  Affable Geek Jun 12 '13 at 13:47

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