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The crisis of judgment foretold by Samuel to Eli now arrived. It was a Philistine attack on the people, in which large numbers were slain, among them the two sons of Eli. On hearing the news Eli himself died, as did also the wife of one of the sons in giving birth to a boy, whose name in dying she pronounced Ichabod.
It was a terrible and significant name, indicating that the glory of Jehovah had departed.
Perhaps the most significant teaching in this story is derived from a consideration of the action of the men of Israel in the presence of the Philistine attack. Realizing their peril, and hoping in some way to save themselves, they carried the Ark of God into the midst of the fray. It was an entirely superstitious use of the Ark, and was utterly unavailing. The Philistines were afraid, but, strengthening their hearts, went forward, gained a great victory, and captured the Ark itself.
How often men who have neglected God, and the rites and ceremonies of His worship, hope in some crisis to save themselves by superstitious use of some of the holy things of the faith.
It is always not only unavailing, but blasphemous. In any hour of peril a genuine return to God is of value; but an attempt to make use of sacred things to procure personal safety is the worst form of blasphemy.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 4". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany