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Now in chapter four we find the Philistines had come against the Israelites and they met them in battle and defeated them. Four thousand of the men of Israel were slain. So the Philistines were getting ready to attack again, and the people said, "Let us bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp in order that the Philistines cannot defeat us."
Now they were beginning to look at the Ark of the Covenant as sort of an amulet, a good luck piece in a kind of a thing. "Well if the Ark of the Covenant is here, it will bring us good luck over the Philistines." Making it almost a fetish kind of a thing, bringing it into the camp. It was wrong, but they did it anyhow.
When the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the ark of the covenant, all of the men began to shout and, [a big cheer went up, and a lot of shouting]. And the Philistines said, What's going on over there? And so when they found out that they had brought the ark of the covenant, the Philistines said, Oh that's not fair it never happened in battle that the people brought their gods into battle with them. These are the Gods that wiped out the Egyptians and the Amorites and all, what chance do we have ( 1 Samuel 4:4-8 ).
The Philistines, it had a reverse effect actually, they said, "Men fight with everything you got or else you're gonna be their slaves. Even as they have been our slaves." It so inspired the Philistines that they attacked. They defeated the men of Israel, and they took the Ark of the Covenant back to their own city. They captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it back to their Philistine cities.
So the two sons of Eli were slain in that battle. A young man came running to tell the news, and Eli was sitting in a chair by the road, and the young man came. And Eli said, What's the meaning of all this noise, the tumult? [Now Eli at this point was ninety-eight years old, his eyes were dim, he could barely see.] and this young fellow said, I came out of the camp of the army, and he said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and your two sons were killed, and the Ark of the Covenant was taken. When the old man heard that the Ark of the Covenant was taken, he fell over backwards, broke his neck [Because he was a very heavy man.] and he died: Now his daughter in law, the wife of Phinehas his son, at that time was expecting a child: when she heard that her husband had died, she went into labor pains. The women were standing around her to help her, and they said, Fear not for you have had a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. But she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God had been taken by their enemies ( 1 Samuel 4:11-22 ).
Ichabod means "no glory", or "the glory is departed." So this child of course is stuck with this name Ichabod. She died in the birth of the child. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany