1 Samuel 4-5 Expanded Bible (EXB)
4 So, ·news about Samuel [or Samuel’s words] spread through all of Israel.
The Philistines Capture the Ark of the Agreement
At that time the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines [C a rival nation occupying the southwest coast of Israel]. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer [C somewhere near Aphek; means “stone of help”] and the Philistines [L camped] at Aphek [C on the plain of Sharon, northeast of Joppa]. 2 The Philistines ·went [deployed; drew up in battlelines] to meet the Israelites in battle. And ·as the battle spread [or when battle was joined], they defeated the Israelites, killing about four thousand soldiers on the battlefield. 3 When ·some Israelite soldiers [L the troops] went back to their camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord ·let the Philistines defeat us [or defeat/rout us before the Philistines]? Let’s bring the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord [C the Ark represented the presence of God; Ex. 25:10–22] here from Shiloh [1:3] and take it with us into battle. Then ·God [or it] will save us from the ·power [L hand] of our enemies.”
4 So the ·people [or troops] sent men to Shiloh [1:3]. They brought back the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord [4:3] ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; of Hosts], who sits ·between [on] the ·gold creatures with wings [L cherubim; C powerful angelic creatures]. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the Ark [L of the covenant of God].
5 When the Ark of the ·Agreement [Covenant; Treaty] ·with [or of] the Lord came into the camp, all the Israelites ·gave a great shout of joy [shouted with a great shout] that made the ground shake. 6 When the Philistines heard Israel’s shout, they asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”
Then the Philistines ·found out [realized; understood] that the Ark of the Lord had come into the Hebrew camp. 7 They were afraid and said, “·A god [or The gods; or God] has come into the Hebrew camp! ·We’re in trouble [L Woe to us; Disaster]! This has never happened before! 8 ·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] us! Who can ·save [rescue; deliver] us from these powerful gods? ·They are the ones [These are the gods] who ·struck [T smote] the Egyptians with ·all kinds of disasters [plagues] in the ·desert [wilderness; Ex. 7–12]. 9 Be brave, Philistines! Fight like men! In the past they were ·our [your] slaves. So fight like men, or ·we [you] will become their slaves.”
10 So the Philistines fought hard and defeated the Israelites, and every ·Israelite soldier ran away to his own home [man fled to his tent]. It was a great ·defeat [slaughter] for Israel, because thirty thousand Israelite [foot] soldiers ·were killed [L fell]. 11 The Ark of God was ·taken [captured] by the Philistines, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
12 That same day a man ·from the tribe of [L of] Benjamin ran from the battle. He tore his clothes and put dust on his head [C to indicate mourning]. 13 When he arrived in Shiloh [1:3], Eli was by the side of the road. He was sitting there in a chair, watching [L eagerly; anxiously], because ·he was worried about [L his heart trembled/feared for] the Ark of God. When the Benjaminite entered Shiloh [1:3], he told ·the bad news [what had happened]. Then all the ·people in town [city; towns] cried loudly. 14 Eli heard the crying and asked, “What’s all this ·noise [commotion]?”
The Benjaminite ran to Eli and told him what had happened. 15 Eli was now ninety-eight years old, and ·he was blind [L his gaze was fixed, so he could not see] . 16 The Benjaminite told him, “I have come from the battle. I ·ran all the way here [escaped/fled from the battle line] today.”
Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”
17 The ·Benjaminite [L messenger] answered, “Israel ·ran away [fled] from the Philistines, and the ·Israelite army has lost many soldiers [people/troops have been slaughtered]. Your two sons are both dead, and the Philistines have ·taken [captured] the Ark of God.”
18 When he mentioned the Ark of God [4:3], Eli fell backward off his chair. He fell beside the gate, broke his neck, and died, because he was old and ·fat [heavy]. He had ·led [judged; been judge of] Israel for forty years.
The Glory Is Gone
19 Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and was about to give birth. When she heard the news that the Ark of God had been taken and that Eli, her father-in-law, and Phinehas, her husband, were both dead, she ·began to give [went into labor/crouched down and gave] birth to her child. The child was born, but ·the mother had much trouble in giving birth [her labor pains overwhelmed her]. 20 As she was dying, the women who helped her said, “Don’t ·worry [be afraid]! You’ve given birth to a son!” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 She named the baby Ichabod [C meaning “No Glory”], saying, “Israel’s glory ·is gone [has departed].” She said this because the Ark of God had been ·taken [captured] and her father-in-law and husband were dead. 22 She said, “Israel’s glory is ·gone [departed], because the Ark of God has been ·taken away [captured].”
Trouble for the Philistines
5 After the Philistines [4:1] had captured the Ark of God [4:3], they took it from Ebenezer [4:1] to Ashdod [C one of the five chief cities of the Philistines]. 2 They carried it into Dagon’s [C a major Philistine god, perhaps a storm god] temple and put it next to Dagon [C to symbolize that Israel’s god was now on the side of Dagon]. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next morning, they found that Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the Ark of the Lord [C as if in worship]. So they put Dagon back in his place. 4 The next morning when they rose, they again found Dagon fallen face-down on the ground before the Ark of the Lord. His head and hands had broken off and were lying ·in the doorway [on the threshold; C the treatment given corpses of enemy soldiers]. Only his ·body [trunk] was ·still in one piece [intact; left to him]. 5 So, ·even today [to this day], Dagon’s priests and others who enter his temple at Ashdod refuse to step on the ·doorsill [threshold of Dagon].
6 The ·Lord was hard [L hand of the Lord was heavy] on the people of Ashdod and ·their neighbors [its environs]. He ·caused them to suffer [ravaged/terrified them] and ·gave them [struck/afflicted them with] ·growths on their skin [tumors; or hemorrhoids]. 7 When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The Ark of the God of Israel can’t stay with us. ·God is punishing [L His hand is heavy on] us and Dagon our god.” 8 The people of Ashdod called all five Philistine ·kings [rulers] together and asked them, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?”
The rulers answered, “Move the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath [C another major city of the Philistines to the southeast of Ashdod].” So the Philistines moved it to Gath.
9 But after they moved it to Gath, there was a great panic. The ·Lord was hard [L hand of the Lord was heavy] on that city also, and he ·gave [struck; afflicted] both old and young people in Gath ·growths on their skin [with an outbreak of tumors/or hemorrhoids]. 10 Then the Philistines sent the Ark of God to Ekron [C a third major city of the Philistines north of Gath].
But when it came into Ekron, the people of Ekron ·yelled [cried out], “Why are you bringing the Ark of the God of Israel to our city? Do you want to kill us and our people?” 11 So they called all the ·kings [rulers] of the Philistines together and said, “Send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own place ·before it kills [or it will kill] us and our people!” All the people in the city were struck with ·terror [deadly panic] because ·God was so hard [L God’s hand was so heavy] on them there. 12 The people who did not die were ·troubled [struck; afflicted] with ·growths on their skin [tumors; or hemorrhoids]. So the people of Ekron ·cried [wailed] loudly to heaven.