1 Samuel 4

1 Samuels words came to all Israel. Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They camped near Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek.

2 The Philistines deployed their troops to meet Israel in battle. The Philistines defeated Israel and killed about four thousand soldiers in the field.

3 The army of Israel retreated to their camp. The leaders of Israel asked: »Why has Jehovah used the Philistines to defeat us today? Let us get the Ark of Jehovah’s Covenant from Shiloh so that he may be with us and save us from our enemies.«

4 They sent men to Shiloh to bring back the Ark of the Covenant of Jehovah of Hosts who is enthroned over the angels. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas came along with God’s ark.

5 When Jehovah’s Ark came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.

6 When the Philistines heard the noise, they asked: »What is all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?« The Philistines found out that Jehovah’s ark was brought into the camp.

7 Then they were frightened and said: »A god has come into their camp.« They also said: »Oh no! Nothing like this has ever happened before.

8 »We are in trouble now! Who will deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with plagues in the desert wilderness.

9 »Be strong, Philistines, and conduct your selves like men with courage. Or else you will serve the Hebrews as they served you. Act like men and fight.«

10 The Philistines fought and defeated Israel. Every Israelite soldier fled to his tent. It was a major defeat in which thirty thousand Israelite foot soldiers died.

11 The Ark of the Covenant was captured. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

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 was very worried about the Ark of the Covenant. He sat besides the road staring. When the man spread the news throughout the town 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 ran 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 great slaughter and a terrible defeat for us! Besides that, your sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and God’s Ark of the Covenant was captured!«

18 When the man mentioned the Ark of God 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 was a leader in Israel for forty years.

19 Eli’s daughter-in-law the wife of Phinehas was pregnant. It was almost time for her baby to be born. When she heard that God’s Ark of the Covenant was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she suddenly went into labor and gave birth.

20 She too was dying. The women helping her said: »Do not be afraid. You have given birth to a son.« But she did not answer or pay attention.

21 She called the boy Ichabod No Glory, saying: »Israel’s glory is gone, because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and her husband died.«

22 »Israel’s glory is gone because the Ark of God has been captured:« she said.