May 29, 2024

Thomas McNeilly

Jesus Christ is King

1 Samuel 4 The Philistines capture God’s chest
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1And Samuel’s word went out to all Israel. The Philistines capture God’s chest In those days the Philistines gathered for war against Israel, so Israel went out to engage the Philistines in war. Israel camped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2The Philistines readied themselves to fight Israel. When the battle was joined, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3When the troops returned to the camp, Israel’s elders said, “Why did the LORD defeat us today before the Philistines? Let’s bring the chest containing the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh so it can go with us and save us from our enemies’ power.” 4So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the chest containing the covenant of the LORD of heavenly forces, who sits enthroned on the winged heavenly creatures. Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas were there with the chest containing God’s covenant. 5When the chest containing the LORD’s covenant entered the camp, all Israel let out such a loud shout that the ground shook. 6When the Philistines heard the sound of that shout, they asked, “What is that loud shouting in the Hebrew camp about?” When they learned that the LORD’s chest had come into the camp, 7the Philistines were afraid and said, “A god has come into that camp! We’re doomed,” they said, “because nothing like this has ever happened before. 8We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the grip of these powerful deities? They are the same gods who struck the Egyptians in the desert with every kind of wound. 9Pull yourselves together and act like men, Philistines! Otherwise, you’ll serve the Hebrews like they’ve been serving you. Act like men and fight!” 10So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated, and everyone fled to their homes. It was a massive defeat: thirty thousand Israelite foot soldiers fell, 11God’s chest was taken, and Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas died. 12That very day, a Benjaminite ran from the battle to Shiloh. His clothes were torn, and dirt was on his head. 13When he got there, Eli was sitting in a chair beside the road, waiting because he was nervous about God’s chest. The man arrived and gave the news to the city, and the whole city cried out. 14Eli heard the sound of the cry and said, “What’s all this noise about?” The man hurriedly went and told Eli the news. (15Now Eli was 98 years old, and his eyes stared straight ahead, unable to see.) 16The man told Eli, “I’m the one who just came from the battle. I fled from the battle today.” “What’s the report, my son?” Eli asked. 17The messenger answered, “Israel has fled from the Philistines. The army has suffered a massive defeat. Also, your own two sons Hophni and Phinehas have died, and God’s chest has been taken!” 18At the mention of God’s chest, Eli fell backward off the chair beside the gate. His neck broke, and he died because he was an old man and overweight. Eli had judged Israel for forty years. 19Now Eli’s daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant and about to give birth. When she heard the news that God’s chest had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she doubled over and gave birth because her labor pains overwhelmed her. 20As she was about to die, the women standing by helping her said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ve given birth to a son!” But she didn’t answer or pay them any attention. 21She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has left Israel,” referring to the capture of God’s chest and the death of her father-in-law and her husband. 22“The glory has left Israel because God’s chest has been taken,” she said.