1News about Samuel spread through all of Israel. Eli was very old. His sons kept doing bad things before the Lord. At that time, the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites made their camp at Ebenezer. The Philistines made their camp at Aphek. 2The Philistines prepared to attack Israel. The battle began. The Philistines defeated the Israelites. The Philistines killed about 4,000 soldiers from Israel’s army. 3The Israelite soldiers came back to their camp. The elders ˻(leaders)˼ of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord let the Philistines defeat us? Let’s bring the Lord’s Box of the Agreement from Shiloh. ˻In this way, God will go with us into battle.˼ He will save us from our enemies.” 4So the people sent men to Shiloh. The men brought back the Lord All-Powerful’s Box of the Agreement. On top of the Box are the Cherub angels. They are like the throne that the Lord sits on. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the Box. 5When the Lord’s Box of the Agreement came into the camp, all the Israelites gave a great shout. That shout made the ground shake. 6The Philistines heard Israel’s shout. They asked, “Why are the people so excited in the Hebrew camp?” Then the Philistines learned that the Lord’s Holy Box had been brought into Israel’s camp. 7The Philistines became afraid. The Philistines said, “Gods have come to their camp! We’re in trouble. This has never happened before! 8We are worried. Who can save us from these powerful gods? These gods are the same gods that gave the Egyptians those diseases and terrible sicknesses. 9Be brave, Philistines! Fight like men! In the past, the Hebrew people were our slaves. So fight like men or you will become their slaves!” 10So the Philistines fought very hard and defeated the Israelites. Every Israelite soldier ran away to his tent. It was a terrible defeat for Israel. 30,000 Israelite soldiers were killed. 11The Philistines took God’s Holy Box and killed Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. 12That day a man from the family group of Benjamin ran from the battle. He tore his clothes and put dust on his head ˻to show his great sadness˼. 13Eli was sitting on a chair near the city gates when this man came to Shiloh. Eli was worried about God’s Holy Box, so he was sitting there waiting and watching. Then the Benjamite man came into Shiloh and told the bad news. All the people in town began to cry out loud. 14- 15Eli was 98 years old. Eli was blind, ˻so he could not see what was happening˼. But he could hear the loud noise of the people crying. Eli asked, “Why are the people making this loud noise?” The Benjamite man ran to Eli and told him what happened. 16The Benjamite man told Eli, “I am the man who just came from the battle. I ran away from the battle today!” Eli asked, “What happened, son?” 17The Benjamite man answered, “Israel ran away from the Philistines. The Israelite army has lost many soldiers. Your two sons are both dead. And the Philistines took God’s Holy Box.” 18When the Benjamite man mentioned God’s Holy Box, Eli fell backward off his chair near the gate and broke his neck. Eli was old and fat, so he died. Eli had led Israel for 20 years. 19Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant. It was nearly time for her baby to be born. She heard the news that God’s Holy Box was taken. She also heard that her father-in-law Eli and her husband Phinehas were both dead. As soon as she heard the news, her pain started and she began giving birth to her baby. 20She was about to die when the women who were helping her said, “Don’t worry! You have given birth to a son.” But Eli’s daughter-in-law did not answer or pay attention. 21Eli’s daughter-in-law named the baby Ichabod, that is to say, “Israel’s glory has been taken away!” She did this because God’s Holy Box was taken away and because both her father-in-law and her husband were dead. 22She said, “Israel’s glory has been taken away” because the Philistines had taken God’s Holy Box.
1 Samuel 4