1. At that time Samuel was a prophet of Israel. The Israelites went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines encamped at Aphek.
2. The Philistines then drew up in battle formation. They attacked Israel and after a fierce struggle, Israel was defeated, leaving about four thousand men dead on the battlefield.
3. When the troops retreated to their camp, the elders of Israel asked, "Why has Yahweh allowed us to be defeated by the Philistines? Let us take the ark of God from Shiloh and bring it here so that Yahweh may be with us and save us from our enemies."
4. So the people sent messengers to Shiloh to take the ark of Yahweh who is seated on the cherubim. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, accompanied the ark.
5. As soon as the ark of Yahweh entered the camp, the Israelites began to cheer so loudly that the earth resounded.
6. The Philistines heard the shouting and asked, "What does this loud shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?" And they were told that the ark of Yahweh had been brought to the camp.
7. The Philistines were overcome with fear. They exclaimed, "A god has come into the camp.
8. Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can save us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all sorts of plagues - and in the desert.
9. Take courage and conduct yourselves like men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews the way they have been slaves to you. Be manly and fight."
10. So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated. Everyone fled to his home. It was a disastrous defeat; thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel were killed.
11. The ark of God was captured and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
12. A man from the tribe of Benjamin fled from the battle line and arrived that same day in Shiloh. His clothes were torn and his head was covered with dust.
13. When this man arrived, Eli was on his seat by the road, watching, for his heart trembled for what might happen to the ark of God. When the people heard the news the man brought, all the city cried out.
14. Eli heard their outcry and asked, "What is all this noise?" The man came to Eli at once and told him what happened.
15. Eli was by then ninety-eight years old and was already blind.
16. The man said to him, "I came from the battle, for I was able to flee from it." Then Eli asked him, "How did the battle go, my son?"
17. The newsbearer answered, "Israel fled before the Philistines. There has been a disaster for our men; your sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are among the dead and the ark of God has been taken."
18. As soon as the man mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate. He broke his neck and died for he was an old and heavy man. Eli judged Israel for forty years.
19. Eli's daughter-in-law, wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and was about to give birth. When she heard that the ark of God was taken and that both her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she gave birth prematurely.
20. As she lay dying, the women attending her said to her, "Do not be afraid for you have given birth to a son." But she neither answered nor listened.
21. She then named the child Ichabod, saying: "The glory has departed from Israel!"
22. And she said "the glory," meaning the ark of God that had been captured.