1 Samuel, 4
1. and, for all Israel, the word of Samuel was as the word of Yahweh; since Eli was very old and his sons persisted in their wicked behaviour towards Yahweh. It happened at that time that the Philistines mustered to make war on Israel and Israel went out to meet them in war, pitching camp near Ebenezer while the Philistines pitched camp at Aphek.
2. The Philistines drew up their battle-line against Israel, the fighting was fierce, and Israel was beaten by the Philistines: about four thousand men in their ranks were killed on the field of battle.
3. When the troops returned to camp, the elders of Israel said, 'Why has Yahweh caused us to be beaten by the Philistines today? Let us fetch the ark of our God from Shiloh so that, when it goes with us, it may save us from the clutches of our enemies.'
4. So the troops sent to Shiloh and brought away the ark of Yahweh Sabaoth enthroned on the winged creatures; the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the ark.
5. When the ark of Yahweh arrived in the camp, all Israel raised a great war cry so that the earth resounded.
6. When the Philistines heard the noise of the war cry, they said, 'What can this great war cry in the Hebrew camp mean?' And they realised that the ark of Yahweh had come into the camp.
7. At this, the Philistines were afraid; for they said, 'God has come into the camp. Disaster!' they said. 'For nothing like this has ever happened before.
8. Disaster! Who will rescue us from the clutches of this mighty God? This was the God who struck down Egypt with every kind of misfortune in the desert.
9. But take courage and be men, Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been slaves to you. Be men and fight.'
10. So the Philistines gave battle and Israel was defeated, each man fleeing to his tent. The slaughter was very great: on the Israelite side, thirty thousand foot soldiers fell.
11. The ark of God was captured too, and Hophni and Phinehas the two sons of Eli died.
12. A Benjaminite ran from the battle-line and reached Shiloh the same day, his clothes torn and dust on his head.
13. When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat beside the gate watching the road, for his heart was trembling for the ark of God. The man came into the town and told the news, whereupon cries of anguish filled the town.
14. Eli heard the sound and asked, 'What does this uproar mean?' The man hurried on and told Eli.
15. Eli was ninety-eight years old; his gaze was fixed; he was blind.
16. The man said to Eli, 'I have come from the camp. I escaped from the battle-line today.' 'My son,' said Eli, 'what happened?'
17. The messenger replied, 'Israel has fled before the Philistines; the army has been utterly routed. What is worse, your two sons are dead and the ark of God has been captured.'
18. When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backwards off his seat by the gate and broke his neck and died, for he was old and heavy. He had been judge of Israel for forty years.
19. Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and near her time. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead she crouched down and gave birth, for her labour pains had come on.
20. When she was at the point of death, the women at her side said, 'Do not be afraid; you have given birth to a son.' But she did not answer and took no notice.
21. She named the child Ichabod, saying, 'The glory has gone from Israel,' alluding to the capture of the ark of God and to her father-in-law and husband.
22. She said, 'The glory has gone from Israel, because the ark of God has been captured.'