Bible: 1 Samuel 4:1-18

4:1 Samuel revealed the word of the Lord 1  to all Israel.

The Ark of the Covenant is Lost to the Philistines

Then the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines. 2  They camped at Ebenezer, 3  and the Philistines camped at Aphek. 4:2 The Philistines arranged their forces to fight 4  Israel. As the battle spread out, 5  Israel was defeated by 6  the Philistines, who 7  killed about four thousand men in the battle line in the field.

4:3 When the army 8  came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let us be defeated today by 9  the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us 10  from the hand of our enemies.

4:4 So the army 11  sent to Shiloh, and they took from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits between the cherubim. Now the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 4:5 When the ark of the covenant of the Lord arrived at the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly 12  that the ground shook.

4:6 When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout, they said, “What is this loud shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they realized that the ark of the Lord had arrived at the camp. 4:7 The Philistines were scared because they thought that gods had come to the camp. 13  They said, “Too bad for 14  us! We’ve never seen anything like this! 4:8 Too bad for us! Who can deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all sorts of plagues in the desert! 4:9 Be strong and act like men, you Philistines, or else you will wind up serving the Hebrews the way they have served you! Act like men and fight!

4:10 So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated; they all ran home. 15  The slaughter was very great; thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in battle. 4:11 The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were killed.

Eli Dies

4:12 On that day 16  a Benjaminite ran from the battle lines and came to Shiloh. His clothes were torn and dirt was on his head. 4:13 When he arrived in Shiloh, Eli was sitting in his chair watching by the side of 17  the road, for he was very worried 18  about the ark of God. As the man entered the city to give his report, 19  the whole city cried out.

4:14 When Eli heard the outcry, 20  he said, “What is this commotion?” 21  The man quickly came and told Eli. 4:15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes looked straight ahead; 22  he was unable to see.

4:16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle lines! Just today I fled from the battle lines!” Eli 23  asked, “How did things go, my son? 4:17 The messenger replied, “Israel has fled from 24  the Philistines! The army has suffered a great defeat! Your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are dead! The ark of God has been captured!

4:18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli 25  fell backward from his chair beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he 26  was old and heavy. He had judged Israel for forty years.

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