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English Standard Version

1 Samuel 4:3–7:2

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And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here yfrom Shiloh, that it1 may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, zwho is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel agave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. bTake courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews cas they have been to you; be men and fight.”

10 So the Philistines fought, dand Israel was defeated, eand they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 fAnd the ark of God was captured, gand the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

The Death of Eli

12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, hwith his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, iEli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old jand his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, k“How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward lfrom his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, m“Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child nIchabod, saying, o“The glory has departed2 from Israel!” because pthe ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, pfor the ark of God has been captured.”

The Philistines and the Ark

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from qEbenezer to rAshdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside sDagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, tDagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, uand the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon vdo not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

wThe hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with xtumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all ythe lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, zthe hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that xtumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 yThey sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. wThe hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with xtumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and athe diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him ba guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why chis hand does not turn away from you.” And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden dtumors and five golden mice, eaccording to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. So you must make images of your dtumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, fand give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps ghe will lighten his hand from off you hand your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as ithe Egyptians and jPharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, kdid they not send the people away, and they departed? Now then, take and prepare la new cart and two milk cows mon which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side nthe figures of gold, which you are returning to him as ba guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to oBeth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not phis hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of qBeth-shemesh along rone highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of qBeth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of qBeth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. sA great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon sthe great stone. And the men of qBeth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when tthe five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a uguilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, vboth fortified cities and unwalled villages. wThe great stone beside which they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

19 xAnd he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them,1 and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, y“Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of zKiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of aAbinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

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