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1 Samuel 4 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Capture of the Covenant Box

At that time the Philistines gathered to go to war against Israel, so[a] the Israelites set out to fight them. The Israelites set up their camp at Ebenezer and the Philistines at Aphek. The Philistines attacked, and after fierce fighting they defeated the Israelites and killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. When the survivors came back to camp, the leaders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let the Philistines defeat us today? Let's go and bring the Lord's Covenant Box from Shiloh, so that he[b] will go with us and save us from our enemies.” So they sent messengers to Shiloh and got the Covenant Box of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned above the winged creatures.[c] And Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, came along with the Covenant Box.

When the Covenant Box arrived, the Israelites gave such a loud shout of joy that the earth shook. The Philistines heard the shouting and said, “Listen to all that shouting in the Hebrew camp! What does it mean?” When they found out that the Lord's Covenant Box had arrived in the Hebrew camp, they were afraid, and said, “A god has come into their camp! We're lost! Nothing like this has ever happened to us before! Who can save us from those powerful gods? They are the gods who slaughtered the Egyptians in the desert! Be brave, Philistines! Fight like men, or we will become slaves to the Hebrews, just as they were our slaves. So fight like men!”

10 The Philistines fought hard and defeated the Israelites, who went running to their homes. There was a great slaughter: thirty thousand Israelite soldiers were killed. 11 God's Covenant Box was captured, and Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were both killed.

The Death of Eli

12 A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran all the way from the battlefield to Shiloh and arrived there the same day. To show his grief, he had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head. 13 Eli, who was very worried about the Covenant Box, was sitting in his seat beside the road, staring. The man spread the news throughout the town, and everyone cried out in fear. 14 Eli heard the noise and asked, “What is all this noise about?” The man hurried to Eli to tell him the news. (15 Eli was now ninety-eight years old and almost completely blind.) 16 The man said, “I have escaped from the battle and have run all the way here today.”

Eli asked him, “What happened, my son?”

17 The messenger answered, “Israel ran away from the Philistines; it was a terrible defeat for us! Besides that, your sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and God's Covenant Box was captured!”

18 When the man mentioned the Covenant Box, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He was so old and fat that the fall broke his neck, and he died. He had been a leader in Israel for forty years.

The Death of the Widow of Phinehas

19 Eli's daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, and it was almost time for her baby to be born. When she heard that God's Covenant Box had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she suddenly went into labor and gave birth. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her said to her, “Be brave! You have a son!” But she paid no attention and did not answer. 21 She named the boy Ichabod,[d] explaining, “God's glory has left Israel”—referring to the capture of the Covenant Box and the death of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 “God's glory has left Israel,” she said, “because God's Covenant Box has been captured.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 4:1 One ancient translation the Philistines … so; Hebrew does not have these words.
  2. 1 Samuel 4:3 he; or it.
  3. 1 Samuel 4:4 See Word List.
  4. 1 Samuel 4:21 This name in Hebrew means “no glory.”
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

1 Samuel 4 New International Version (NIV)

And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.

The Philistines Capture the Ark

Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”

So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”

When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid. “A god has[a] come into the camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has happened before. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

Death of Eli

12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.

14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?”

The man hurried over to Eli, 15 who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see. 16 He told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.”

Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”

17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led[b] Israel forty years.

19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention.

21 She named the boy Ichabod,[c] saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 4:7 Or “Gods have (see Septuagint)
  2. 1 Samuel 4:18 Traditionally judged
  3. 1 Samuel 4:21 Ichabod means no glory.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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