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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]. 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. 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.”

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].

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. 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. 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! ·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]. 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].”

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