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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 4

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Defeat of the Israelites. At that time, the Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel. Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel. After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh that it may go into battle among us and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

Loss of the Ark. 4So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.* The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God. z Ex 25, 22 . 5When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded. 6The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked, “What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp, 7the Philistines were frightened. They said, “Gods have come to their camp.” They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. 8Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?* These are the gods that struck the Egyptians with various plagues and with pestilence. 9Take courage and be manly, Philistines; otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews, as they were your slaves. So fight manfully!” 10The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. a Ps 78, 61 . 11The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead. b 1 Sm 2, 34 .

Death of Eli. 12A Benjaminite fled from the battlefield and reached Shiloh that same day, with his clothes torn and his head covered with dirt. c Jos 7, 6; 2 Sm 1, 2; Jer 7, 12 . 13When he arrived, Eli was sitting in his chair beside the gate, watching the road, for he was troubled at heart about the ark of God. The man, however, went into the city to divulge his news, which put the whole city in an uproar. 14Hearing the outcry of the men standing near him, Eli inquired, “What does this commotion mean?” 15(Eli was ninety‐eight years old, and his eyes would not focus, so that he could not see.) 16The man quickly came up to Eli and said, “It is I who have come from the battlefield; I fled from there today.” He asked, “What happened, my son?” 17And the messenger answered: “Israel fled from the Philistines; in fact, the troops suffered heavy losses. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are among the dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18At this mention of the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his chair into the gateway; since he was an old man and heavy, he died of a broken neck. He had judged Israel for forty years.

19His daughter‐in‐law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and at the point of giving birth. When she heard the news concerning the capture of the ark and the deaths of her father‐in‐law and her husband, she was seized with the pangs of labor, and gave birth. 20She was about to die when the women standing around her said to her, “Never fear! You have given birth to a son.” Yet she neither answered nor paid any attention. d 1 Sm 14, 3; Gn 35, 16ff . 21[She named the child Ichabod, saying, “Gone is the glory from Israel,” with reference to the capture of the ark of God and to her father‐in‐law and her husband.] 22She said, “Gone is the glory from Israel,” because the ark of God had been captured. e Ps 78, 61 .

Notes:

z: Ex 25, 22 .

a: Ps 78, 61 .

b: 1 Sm 2, 34 .

c: Jos 7, 6; 2 Sm 1, 2; Jer 7, 12 .

d: 1 Sm 14, 3; Gn 35, 16ff .

e: Ps 78, 61 .

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