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The Ark of the Covenant is Lost to the Philistines
Then the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines.2 They camped at Ebenezer,3 and the Philistines camped at Aphek. 4:2 The Philistines arranged their forces to fight4 Israel. As the battle spread out,5 Israel was defeated by6 the Philistines, who7 killed about four thousand men in the battle line in the field.
4:3 When the army8 came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let us be defeated today by9 the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us10 from the hand of our enemies.
4:4 So the army11 sent to Shiloh, and they took from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits between the cherubim. Now the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 4:5 When the ark of the covenant of the Lord arrived at the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly12 that the ground shook.
4:6 When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout, they said, “What is this loud shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” Then they realized that the ark of the Lord had arrived at the camp. 4:7 The Philistines were scared because they thought that gods had come to the camp.13 They said, “Too bad for14 us! We’ve never seen anything like this! 4:8 Too bad for us! Who can deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all sorts of plagues in the desert! 4:9 Be strong and act like men, you Philistines, or else you will wind up serving the Hebrews the way they have served you! Act like men and fight!”
4:10 So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated; they all ran home.15 The slaughter was very great; thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in battle. 4:11 The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were killed.
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