1 Samuel 4

Battle lost to Philistines 1
Plan to carry ark into battle 3
Ark brought from Shiloh to the camp; people shouted 4
Philistines fearful; determined to fight 7
Israel defeated; ark captured 10
News comes to Shiloh 12
Eli told news; his sons dead he died on hearing of the ark 14
Widow of Phinehas died in childbirth 19
Boy named Ichabod the glory has departed 21
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Text
Comments
.1 ¶ And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek.
 2  And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
  Aphek Several towns had this name. For example, 2ki1317.
.3  And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.   That it may save us Sign of a corrupted religion unfaithful to God looking beyond Him to objects. Compare 2sa1525.
.4  So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
 5  And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.
 6  And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.
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  4 - People sent ... ark " Strange that they were so blind to the real cause of the disaster and that they did not discern, in the great and general corruption of religion and morals (1Sa 2:22-25; 7:3; Ps 78:58), the reason why the presence and aid of God were not extended to them. Their first measure for restoring the national spirit and energy ought to have been a complete reformation--a universal return to purity of worship and morals.
Quotation continues from left column.

 But, instead of cherishing a spirit of deep humiliation and sincere repentance, instead of resolving on the abolition of existing abuses, and the re-establishing of the pure faith, they adopted what appeared an easier and speedier course--they put their trust in ceremonial observances, and doubted not but that the introduction of the ark into the battlefield would ensure their victory. In recommending this extraordinary step, the elders might recollect the confidence it imparted to their ancestors (Nu 10:35; 14:44), as well as what had been done at Jericho. But it is more probable that they were influenced by the heathenish ideas of their idolatrous neighbors, who carried their idol Dagon, or his sacred symbols, to their wars... God, while punishing them for their apostasy by allowing the capture of the ark, had another end in view--that of signally vindicating His supremacy over all the gods of the nations.

.7  And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
 8  Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
 9  Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
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.10 ¶ And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
 11  And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
  Ark of God was taken Hophni and Phinehas may have been surprised that these wicked Philistines could touch the ark and not die. God had a purpose which the Philistines would be able to understand.
"Year after year the Lord delayed His threatened judgments. Much might have been done in those years to redeem the failures of the past, but the aged priest took no effective measures to correct the evils that were polluting the sanctuary of the Lord and leading thousands in Israel to ruin. The forbearance of God caused Hophni and Phinehas to harden their hearts and to become still bolder in transgression. The messages of warning and reproof to his house were made known by Eli to the whole nation. By this means he hoped to counteract, in some measure, the evil influence of his past neglect. But the warnings were disregarded by the people, as they had been by the priests." (Conflict and Courage, p. 142.3.)
.12 ¶ And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
 13  And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.
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.14  And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
.15  Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
 16  And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?
.17  And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
 18  And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
  14ff - Eli had been warned 1sa0231.
.19 ¶ And his daughter in law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.
 20  And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it.
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.21  And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
 22  And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.
  Ichabod From two Hebrew words, 'i kabod, meaning "not glorious."
  Glory is departed Literally, "... gone into exile." Although the lady was shocked by the deaths of her husband and father-in-law, her real sorrow was from the lost glory of Israel. We, too, may remain pure in a corrupt world.
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