I Samuel 4
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1  and Shmuel‘s word went forth to all Yisrael.Yisrael marched out to engage the Philistines in battle; they encamped near Even Ha-Ezer, while the Philistines encamped at Aphek.

א  וַיְהִי דְבַר־שְׁמוּאֵל לְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּצֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל לִקְרַאת פְּלִשְׁתִּים לַמִּלְחָמָה וַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־הָאֶבֶן הָעֵזֶר וּפְלִשְׁתִּים חָנוּ בַאֲפֵק׃

2  The Philistines arrayed themselves against Yisrael; and when the battle was fought, Yisrael was routed by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the field of battle.

ב  וַיַּעַרְכוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל וַתִּטֹּשׁ הַמִּלְחָמָה וַיִּנָּגֶף יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיַּכּוּ בַמַּעֲרָכָה בַּשָּׂדֶה כְּאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ׃

3  When the [Israelite] troops returned to the camp, the elders of Yisrael asked, “Why did Hashem put us to rout today before the Philistines? Let us fetch the Aron Brit Hashem from Shilo; thus He will be present among us and will deliver us from the hands of our enemies.”

ג  וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיֹּאמְרוּ זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָמָּה נְגָפָנוּ יְהֹוָה הַיּוֹם לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים נִקְחָה אֵלֵינוּ מִשִּׁלֹה אֶת־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית יְהֹוָה וְיָבֹא בְקִרְבֵּנוּ וְיֹשִׁעֵנוּ מִכַּף אֹיְבֵינוּ׃

4  So the troops sent men to Shilo; there Eli‘s two sons, Chofni and Pinchas, were in charge of the Aron Brit Hashem, and they brought down from there the Aron Habrit of the lord of Hosts Enthroned on the Keruvim.

ד  וַיִּשְׁלַח הָעָם שִׁלֹה וַיִּשְׂאוּ מִשָּׁם אֵת אֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יֹשֵׁב הַכְּרֻבִים וְשָׁם שְׁנֵי בְנֵי־עֵלִי עִם־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית הָאֱלֹהִים חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס׃

5  When the Aron Brit Hashem entered the camp, all Yisrael burst into a great shout, so that the earth resounded.

ה  וַיְהִי כְּבוֹא אֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהֹוָה אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיָּרִעוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל תְּרוּעָה גְדוֹלָה וַתֵּהֹם הָאָרֶץ׃

6  The Philistines heard the noise of the shouting and they wondered, “Why is there such a loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews?” And when they learned that the Aron of Hashem had come to the camp,

ו  וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־קוֹל הַתְּרוּעָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ מֶה קוֹל הַתְּרוּעָה הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת בְּמַחֲנֵה הָעִבְרִים וַיֵּדְעוּ כִּי אֲרוֹן יְהֹוָה בָּא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה׃

7  the Philistines were frightened; for they said, “Hashem has come to the camp.” And they cried, “Woe to us! Nothing like this has ever happened before.

ז  וַיִּרְאוּ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּים כִּי אָמְרוּ בָּא אֱלֹהִים אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אוֹי לָנוּ כִּי לֹא הָיְתָה כָּזֹאת אֶתְמוֹל שִׁלְשֹׁם׃

8  Woe to us! Who will save us from the power of this mighty Hashem? He is the same Hashem who struck the Egyptians with every kind of plague in the wilderness!

ח  אוֹי לָנוּ מִי יַצִּילֵנוּ מִיַּד הָאֱלֹהִים הָאַדִּירִים הָאֵלֶּה אֵלֶּה הֵם הָאֱלֹהִים הַמַּכִּים אֶת־מִצְרַיִם בְּכָל־מַכָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

9  Brace yourselves and be men, O Philistines! Or you will become slaves to the Hebrews as they were slaves to you. Be men and fight!”

ט  הִתְחַזְּקוּ וִהְיוּ לַאֲנָשִׁים פְּלִשְׁתִּים פֶּן תַּעַבְדוּ לָעִבְרִים כַּאֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ לָכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים וְנִלְחַמְתֶּם׃

10  The Philistines fought; Yisrael was routed, and they all fled to their homes. The defeat was very great, thirty thousand foot soldiers of Yisrael fell there.

י  וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּנָּגֶף יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיָּנֻסוּ אִישׁ לְאֹהָלָיו וַתְּהִי הַמַּכָּה גְּדוֹלָה מְאֹד וַיִּפֹּל מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל שְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף רַגְלִי׃

11  The Aron of Hashem was captured, and Eli‘s two sons, Chofni and Pinchas, were slain.

יא  וַאֲרוֹן אֱלֹהִים נִלְקָח וּשְׁנֵי בְנֵי־עֵלִי מֵתוּ חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס׃

12  A Binyaminite ran from the battlefield and reached Shilo the same day; his clothes were rent and there was earth on his head.

יב  וַיָּרָץ אִישׁ־בִּנְיָמִן מֵהַמַּעֲרָכָה וַיָּבֹא שִׁלֹה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וּמַדָּיו קְרֻעִים וַאֲדָמָה עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ׃

13  When he arrived, he found Eli sitting on a seat, waiting beside the road—his heart trembling for the Aron of Hashem. The man entered the city to spread the news, and the whole city broke out in a cry.

va-ya-VO v’-hi-NAY ay-LEE yo-SHAYV al ha-ki-SAY YAD DE-rekh m’-tza-PEH kee ha-YAH li-BO kha-RAYD AL a-RON ha-e-lo-HEEM v’-ha-EESH BA l’-ha-GEED ba-EER va-tiz-AK kol ha-EER

יג  וַיָּבוֹא וְהִנֵּה עֵלִי יֹשֵׁב עַל־הַכִּסֵּא יך [יַד] דֶּרֶךְ מְצַפֶּה כִּי־הָיָה לִבּוֹ חָרֵד עַל אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וְהָאִישׁ בָּא לְהַגִּיד בָּעִיר וַתִּזְעַק כָּל־הָעִיר׃

 4:13   The whole city broke out in a cry

After the terrible battlefield loss to the Philistines, a man from the tribe of Binyamin runs to Shilo to deliver the news to Eli. Rashi reports a tradition that this man was none other than Shaul, who would later be selected as the first king of Israel. This is significant, as leaders of Israel are often military men. For example, Avraham (see Genesis 14, which describes the war he fought to save his nephew Lot), Moshe (see Numbers 21, where he leads Israel in battle against Sihon and Og) and Yehoshua were all spiritual and military figures. Fighting just wars is an imperative, and it is the responsibility of the Israelite leader to lead his troops into battle. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the first king of Israel is also a soldier.1 comment

14  And when Eli heard the sound of the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?” the man rushed over to tell Eli.

יד  וַיִּשְׁמַע עֵלִי אֶת־קוֹל הַצְּעָקָה וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה קוֹל הֶהָמוֹן הַזֶּה וְהָאִישׁ מִהַר וַיָּבֹא וַיַּגֵּד לְעֵלִי׃

15  Now Eli was ninety-eight years old; his eyes were fixed in a blind stare.

טו  וְעֵלִי בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה וְעֵינָיו קָמָה וְלֹא יָכוֹל לִרְאוֹת׃

16  The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battlefield; I have just fled from the battlefield.” [Eli] asked, “What happened, my son?”

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ אֶל־עֵלִי אָנֹכִי הַבָּא מִן־הַמַּעֲרָכָה וַאֲנִי מִן־הַמַּעֲרָכָה נַסְתִּי הַיּוֹם וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה־הָיָה הַדָּבָר בְּנִי׃

17  The bearer of the news replied, “Yisrael fled before the Philistines and the troops also suffered a great slaughter. Your two sons, Chofni and Pinchas, are dead, and the Aron of Hashem has been captured.”

יז  וַיַּעַן הַמְבַשֵּׂר וַיֹּאמֶר נָס יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וְגַם מַגֵּפָה גְדוֹלָה הָיְתָה בָעָם וְגַם־שְׁנֵי בָנֶיךָ מֵתוּ חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס וַאֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים נִלְקָחָה׃

18  When he mentioned the Aron of Hashem, [Eli] fell backward off the seat beside the gate, broke his neck and died; for he was an old man and heavy. He had been a chieftain of Yisrael for forty years.

יח  וַיְהִי כְּהַזְכִּירוֹ אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּפֹּל מֵעַל־הַכִּסֵּא אֲחֹרַנִּית בְּעַד יַד הַשַּׁעַר וַתִּשָּׁבֵר מַפְרַקְתּוֹ וַיָּמֹת כִּי־זָקֵן הָאִישׁ וְכָבֵד וְהוּא שָׁפַט אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה׃

19  His daughter-in-law, the wife of Pinchas, was with child, about to give birth. When she heard the report that the Aron of Hashem was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she was seized with labor pains, and she crouched down and gave birth.

יט  וְכַלָּתוֹ אֵשֶׁת־פִּינְחָס הָרָה לָלַת וַתִּשְׁמַע אֶת־הַשְּׁמֻעָה אֶל־הִלָּקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וּמֵת חָמִיהָ וְאִישָׁהּ וַתִּכְרַע וַתֵּלֶד כִּי־נֶהֶפְכוּ עָלֶיהָ צִרֶיהָ׃

20  As she lay dying, the women attending her said, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not respond or pay heed.

כ  וּכְעֵת מוּתָהּ וַתְּדַבֵּרְנָה הַנִּצָּבוֹת עָלֶיהָ אַל־תִּירְאִי כִּי בֵן יָלָדְתְּ וְלֹא עָנְתָה וְלֹא־שָׁתָה לִבָּהּ׃

21  She named the boy Ichabod, meaning, “The glory has departed from Yisrael”—referring to the capture of the Aron of Hashem and to [the death of] her father-in-law and her husband.

כא  וַתִּקְרָא לַנַּעַר אִי־כָבוֹד לֵאמֹר גָּלָה כָבוֹד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הִלָּקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶל־חָמִיהָ וְאִישָׁהּ׃

22  “The glory is gone from Yisrael,” she said, “for the Aron of Hashem has been captured.”

כב  וַתֹּאמֶר גָּלָה כָבוֹד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כִּי נִלְקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים׃

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Comment ( 1 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • On verse 3: HaShem did not charge Joshua saying, “HaShem is with you whherever you go when you take the Aron Brit HaShem with you.” No, never (see Joshua 1:5, 9). 2 Kings 18:4 well documents how the people of HaShem got into trouble over the bronze serpent that Moshe had fashioned at HaShem’s command. They hadn’t realized that their action of looking up to the serpent—their obedience—was what had delivered them from destruction, not the serpent itself. Thus, they gave it a name of sorts, Nehushtan, and worshiped it instead of HaShem—in violation of the first and second commandments.
    In this verse (I Samuel 4:3) the people’s trust turned to the Aron Brit HaShem instead of HaShem himself. Pinchas’ wife rightly judged when she said that the glory had left. And such is true today: we either serve the God who chose us, or we serve the god we choose. Isaiah 42:8 states firmly, “I am HaShem, that is My name; I will not yield My glory to another, nor My renown to idols.”

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I Samuel 4

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