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The Philistines Take the Ark

Thus the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped beside (A)Ebenezer, and the Philistines camped in (B)Aphek. And the Philistines arranged themselves to meet Israel. Then the battle spread, and Israel was [a]defeated before the Philistines who struck down about 4,000 men on the battlefield. Then the people came into the camp, and the elders of Israel said, “(C)Why has Yahweh [b]defeated us today before the Philistines? (D)Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, that [c]it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of hosts (E)who sits above the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And it happened that as the ark of the covenant of Yahweh came into the camp, (F)all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth was thrown into confusion. Then the Philistines heard the noise of the shout and said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they knew that the ark of Yahweh had come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” And they said, “(G)Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who shall deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. (H)Be strong and become men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews, (I)as they have been slaves to you; therefore, become men and fight.”

10 So the Philistines fought, and (J)Israel was [d]defeated, and (K)every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel 30,000 foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was taken; and (L)the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

The Death of Eli

12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with (M)his robes torn and [e]dust on his head. 13 And he came, and behold, (N)Eli was sitting on his seat [f]by the road eagerly watching because his heart was trembling for the ark of God. Now the man came to tell it in the city, and all the city cried out. 14 Then Eli heard the noise of the outcry, and he said, “What does the noise of this commotion mean?” So the man came hurriedly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and (O)his eyes had set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I fled from the battle line today.” And he said, “(P)How did things go, my son?” 17 Then the one who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 And it happened that when he mentioned the ark of God, [g](Q)Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken, and he died, for the man was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’s wife, was with child and about to give birth. And she heard the report that the ark of God was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, so she kneeled down and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “(R)Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she called the boy [h]Ichabod, saying, “(S)The glory has departed from Israel,” because (T)the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken.”


  1. 1 Samuel 4:2 Lit smitten
  2. 1 Samuel 4:3 Lit smitten
  3. 1 Samuel 4:3 Or he
  4. 1 Samuel 4:10 Lit smitten
  5. 1 Samuel 4:12 Lit ground
  6. 1 Samuel 4:13 Gr beside the gate watching the road
  7. 1 Samuel 4:18 Lit he
  8. 1 Samuel 4:21 Lit no glory