1 Samuel 4
Complete Jewish Bible
4 So the word of Sh’mu’el came to all Isra’el.
Isra’el went out to fight against the P’lishtim, setting up camp at Even-‘Ezer, while the P’lishtim camped at Afek. 2 The P’lishtim drew up in battle formation against Isra’el. The battle was fierce, and Isra’el was beaten by the P’lishtim — they killed about four thousand soldiers on the battlefield. 3 When the army had returned to camp, the leaders of Isra’el asked, “Why has Adonai defeated us today before the P’lishtim? Let’s bring the ark for the covenant of Adonai from Shiloh to us, so that he will come among us and save us from our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark for the covenant of Adonai-Tzva’ot, who is present above the k’ruvim. The two sons of ‘Eli, Hofni and Pinchas, were there with the ark for the covenant of God.
5 When the ark for the covenant of Adonai entered the camp, all Isra’el gave a mighty shout that resounded through the land. 6 On hearing the shout, the P’lishtim asked, “What does this great shout in the Hebrews’ camp mean?” Then they realized that the ark of Adonai had arrived in the camp, 7 and the P’lishtim became afraid. They said, “God has entered the camp! We’re lost! There was no such thing yesterday or the day before. 8 We’re lost! Who will rescue us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods that completely overthrew the Egyptians in the desert. 9 Be strong; and behave like men, you P’lishtim; so that you won’t become slaves to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Behave like men, and fight!”
10 The P’lishtim fought, Isra’el was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. It was a terrible slaughter — 30,000 of Isra’el’s foot soldiers fell. 11 Moreover, the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of ‘Eli, Hofni and Pinchas, died. 12 One of the soldiers, a man from Binyamin, ran and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and earth on his head [as a sign of mourning]. 13 As he arrived, ‘Eli was sitting on his seat by the road, watching; because he was trembling with anxiety over the ark of God. When the man entered the city and told the news, the whole city began crying out. 14 On hearing the cries, ‘Eli asked, “What does this uproar mean?” So the man hurried, came to ‘Eli and told him. 15 ‘Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his gaze was fixed, because he was blind. 16 The man said to ‘Eli, “I’m the soldier that came; I escaped today from the battlefield.” He asked, “How did things go, my son?” 17 The one who had come with the news answered, “Isra’el fled before the P’lishtim, and there was a terrible slaughter among the people. Your two sons, Hofni and Pinchas, also are dead; and the ark of God was captured. 18 As soon as he mentioned what had happened to the ark of God, ‘Eli fell backward off his seat next to the gate, broke his neck and died; for he was an old man, and heavy. He had judged Isra’el forty years.
19 His daughter-in-law, Pinchas’s wife, was pregnant and near delivery-time. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into abnormal labor, bent over and gave birth. 20 As she was dying, the women standing by her said to her, “Don’t be afraid, because you have given birth to a son.” But she didn’t answer or show any sign of recognition. 21 She named the child I-Khavod [without glory], saying, “The glory has departed from Isra’el”; because the ark of God had been captured, and because of her father-in-law and husband. 22 She said, “The glory of Isra’el has gone into exile, because the ark of God has been captured.”