Verse 16. "He went from year to year in circuit" - When he was at BETH-EL, the tribe of Ephraim, and all the northern parts of the country, could attend him; when at GILGAL, the tribe of Benjamin, and those beyond Jordan, might have easy access to him; and when at MIZPEH, he was within reach of Judah, Simeon, and Gad; but Ramah was the place of his ordinary abode; and there he held his court, for there he judged Israel; and, as it is probable that Shiloh was destroyed, it is said, ver. 17, that there (viz., at Ramah) he built an altar unto the Lord. This altar, being duly consecrated, the worship performed at it was strictly legal.
Ramah, which is said to be about six miles from Jerusalem, was the seat of prophecy during the life of Samuel; and there it is probable all Israel came to consult him on matters of a spiritual nature, as there was the only altar of God in the land of Israel.