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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 4

Geneva Study BibleGeneva Study Bible

Verse 3

4:3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, {a} Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.

(a) For it seems that this war was undertaken by Samuel’s commandment.

Verse 4

4:4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which {b} dwelleth [between] the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, [were] there with the ark of the covenant of God.

(b) For he used to appear to the Israelites between the cherubim over the ark of the covenant, Exodus 25:17.

Verse 7

4:7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, {c} Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.

(c) Before we fought against men, and now God has come to fight against us.

Verse 8

4:8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these [are] the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the {d} wilderness.

(d) For in the Red Sea in the wilderness the Egyptians were destroyed, which was the last of all his plagues.

Verse 10

4:10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel {e} thirty thousand footmen.

(e) David alluding to this place in Psalms 78:63 says they were consumed with fire: meaning they were suddenly destroyed.

Verse 12

4:12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes {f} rent, and with earth upon his head.

(f) In token of sorrow and mourning.

Verse 13

4:13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart {g} trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told [it], all the city cried out.

(g) Lest it should be taken by the enemy.

Verse 17

4:17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, {b} are dead, and the ark of God is taken.

(b) According as God had said before.

Verse 19

4:19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, [near] to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she {i} bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.

(i) And positioned her body for her labour and delivery.

Verse 22

4:22 And she said, {k} The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

(k) She uttered her great sorrow by repeating her words.

Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsb/1-samuel-4.html. 1599-1645.
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