1Samuel 4

 

וַיְהִי דְבַר־שְׁמוּאֵל לְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּצֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל לִקְרַאת פְּלִשְׁתִּים לַמִּלְחָמָה וַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־הָאֶבֶן הָעֵזֶר   4:1

וּפְלִשְׁתִּים חָנוּ בַאֲפֵק׃

1Sam. 4:1   And the word of Samuel was for all Israel.  And Israel went out to meet the Philistines to do battle, and they camped by Eben-ezer, and the Philistines camped on Aphek.

וַיַּעַרְכוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל וַתִּטֹּשׁ הַמִּלְחָמָה וַיִּנָּגֶף יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיַּכּוּ בַמַּעֲרָכָה   4:2

בַּשָּׂדֶה כְּאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ׃

1Sam. 4:2   And the Philistines set themselves in array against Israel.  When the battle spread, then Israel was smitten before the Philistines, and about four thousand men were slain in the fight in the field.

וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיֹּאמְרוּ זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָמָּה נְגָפָנוּ יְהוָה הַיּוֹם לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים נִקְחָה אֵלֵינוּ   4:3

מִשִּׁלֹה אֶת־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית יְהוָה וְיָבֹא בְקִרְבֵּנוּ וְיֹשִׁעֵנוּ מִכַּף אֹיְבֵינוּ׃

1Sam. 4:3   When the people came to the camp, then the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?  Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord to ourselves from Shiloh that He may come in our midst and save us from the hand of our enemies.”

We are finally informed in this verse that the Tabernacle indeed must have been erected in Shiloh.

וַיִּשְׁלַח הָעָם שִׁלֹה וַיִּשְׂאוּ מִשָּׁם אֵת אֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת יֹשֵׁב הַכְּרֻבִים וְשָׁם שְׁנֵי בְנֵי־עֵלִי   4:4

עִם־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית הָאֱלֹהִים חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס׃

1Sam. 4:4   So the people sent to Shiloh and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, habitation of the cherubim.  And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

וַיְהִי כְּבוֹא אֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָה אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיָּרִעוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל תְּרוּעָה גְדוֹלָה וַתֵּהֹם הָאָרֶץ׃   4:5

1Sam. 4:5   And it was, when the ark of the covenant of the Lord was brought in to the camp, that all Israel shouted a great shout that shook the earth.

וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־קוֹל הַתְּרוּעָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ מֶה קוֹל הַתְּרוּעָה הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת בְּמַחֲנֵה הָעִבְרִים   4:6

וַיֵּדְעוּ כִּי אֲרוֹן יְהוָה בָּא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה׃

1Sam. 4:6   When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout, then they said, “What is the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?”  And they knew that the ark of the Lord had come in to the camp.

וַיִּרְאוּ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּים כִּי אָמְרוּ בָּא אֱלֹהִים אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אוֹי לָנוּ כִּי לֹא הָיְתָה כָּזֹאת אֶתְמוֹל   4:7

שִׁלְשֹׁם׃

1Sam. 4:7   Then the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come in to the camp.”  And they said, “Woe to us!  For it was not like this the last three days.”

אוֹי לָנוּ מִי יַצִּילֵנוּ מִיַּד הָאֱלֹהִים הָאַדִּירִים הָאֵלֶּה אֵלֶּה הֵם הָאֱלֹהִים הַמַּכִּים אֶת־מִצְרַיִם בְּכָל־   4:8

מַכָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

1Sam. 4:8   “Woe to us!  Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods?  These are those of the gods who smote Egypt with every plague in the wilderness.”

הִתְחַזְּקוּ וִהְיוּ לַאֲנָשִׁים פְּלִשְׁתִּים פֶּן תַּעַבְדוּ לָעִבְרִים כַּאֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ לָכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים   4:9

וְנִלְחַמְתֶּם׃

1Sam. 4:9   “Be strong and be as men, Philistines, lest you will be servants to the Hebrews as they were servants to you.  So you will be as men and you will fight.”

וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּנָּגֶף יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיָּנֻסוּ אִישׁ לְאֹהָלָיו וַתְּהִי הַמַּכָּה גְּדוֹלָה מְאֹד וַיִּפֹּל מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל   4:10

שְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף רַגְלִי׃

1Sam. 4:10   So the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled, every man to his tent, and it was a very great slaughter, and thirty thousand footmen fell from Israel.

וַאֲרוֹן אֱלֹהִים נִלְקָח וּשְׁנֵי בְנֵי־עֵלִי מֵתוּ חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס׃   4:11

1Sam. 4:11   And the ark of God was taken and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

יָּרָץ אִישׁ־בִּנְיָמִן מֵהַמַּעֲרָכָה וַיָּבֹא שִׁלֹה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וּמַדָּיו קְרֻעִים וַאֲדָמָה עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ׃   4:12

1Sam. 4:12   And a man of Benjamin ran from the army and came to Shiloh in that day with his clothes rent and earth on his head.

וַיָּבוֹא וְהִנֵּה עֵלִי יֹשֵׁב עַל־הַכִּסֵּא (יך) [יַד] דֶּרֶךְ מְצַפֶּה כִּי־הָיָה לִבּוֹ חָרֵד עַל אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים    4:13

וְהָאִישׁ בָּא לְהַגִּיד בָּעִיר וַתִּזְעַק כָּל־הָעִיר׃

1Sam. 4:13   When he came, then lo, Eli was sitting on the seat beside the way watching, for his heart was trembling over the ark of God.  When the man came in to tell in the city, then the entire city cried out.

The seventh word in the top line, enclosed in parentheses, appears to contain an error.  The correction is in the brackets.

וַיִּשְׁמַע עֵלִי אֶת־קוֹל הַצְּעָקָה וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה קוֹל הֶהָמוֹן הַזֶּה וְהָאִישׁ מִהַר וַיָּבֹא וַיַּגֵּד לְעֵלִי׃   4:14

1Sam. 4:14   When Eli heard the noise of the cry, then he said, “What is the noise of this tumult?” And the man hurried and came and told to Eli.

וְעֵלִי בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה וְעֵינָיו קָמָה וְלֹא יָכוֹל לִרְאוֹת׃   4:15

1Sam. 4:15   Now Eli was ninety-eight years of age, and his eyes were set and he was not able to see.

וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ אֶל־עֵלִי אָנֹכִי הַבָּא מִן־הַמַּעֲרָכָה וַאֲנִי מִן־הַמַּעֲרָכָה נַסְתִּי הַיּוֹם וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה־הָיָה   4:16

הַדָּבָר בְּנִי׃

1Sam. 4:16   And the man said to Eli, “I am who came from the army and I have fled from the army today.”  And he said, “How went the matter, my son?”

וַיַּעַן הַמְבַשֵּׂר וַיֹּאמֶר נָס יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וְגַם מַגֵּפָה גְדוֹלָה הָיְתָה בָעָם וְגַם־שְׁנֵי בָנֶיךָ מֵתוּ   4:17

חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס וַאֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים נִלְקָחָה׃

1Sam. 4:17   And he who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and it was also a great slaughter with the people, and also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, have died, and the ark of God has been taken.”

וַיְהִי כְּהַזְכִּירוֹ אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּפֹּל מֵעַל־הַכִּסֵּא אֲחֹרַנִּית בְּעַד יַד הַשַּׁעַר וַתִּשָּׁבֵר מַפְרַקְתּוֹ   4:18

וַיָּמֹת כִּי־זָקֵן הָאִישׁ וְכָבֵד וְהוּא שָׁפַט אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה׃

1Sam. 4:18   And it happened, when he thought about the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backwards by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken, and he died, for the man was old and heavy.  And he had judged Israel forty years.

So a priest could also be a judge.  Does this mean that Eli was the only priest in Israel?  Impossible!  Where were the other priests and what did they do?  Was Eli the High Priest of the Tabernacle?  We will learn at least one of the answers to these questions in 1Kings.

וְכַלָּתוֹ אֵשֶׁת־פִּינְחָס הָרָה לָלַת וַתִּשְׁמַע אֶת־הַשְּׁמֻעָה אֶל־הִלָּקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וּמֵת חָמִיהָ   4:19

וְאִישָׁהּ וַתִּכְרַע וַתֵּלֶד כִּי־נֶהֶפְכוּ עָלֶיהָ צִרֶיהָ׃

1Sam. 4:19   And his daughter-in-law, wife of Phinehas, was pregnant to deliver; when she heard the news about the ark of God being taken and her father-in-law and her husband having died, then she stooped down and began labor, for her pains came suddenly upon her.

וּכְעֵת מוּתָהּ וַתְּדַבֵּרְנָה הַנִּצָּבוֹת עָלֶיהָ אַל־תִּירְאִי כִּי בֵן יָלָדְתְּ וְלֹא עָנְתָה וְלֹא־שָׁתָה לִבָּהּ׃   4:20

1Sam. 4:20   When it was almost the time, she died; then she who was standing by her said, “Do not fear, for you have delivered a son.”  But she did not answer, and she did not feel her heart.

וַתִּקְרָא לַנַּעַר אִי־כָבוֹד לֵאמֹר גָּלָה כָבוֹד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הִלָּקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶל־חָמִיהָ וְאִישָׁהּ׃   4:21

1Sam. 4:21   And she gave the name of Ichabod to the child saying, “Gone is the glory” from Israel, because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

The name can mean no glory.

וַתֹּאמֶר גָּלָה כָבוֹד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כִּי נִלְקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים׃   4:22

1Sam. 4:22   And she said, “The glory has gone from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken.”

It’s very odd that there appears to have been no deep mourning over the loss of the ark.  As far as Israel knew, the ark must have been lost forever.  More than likely, they would have concluded that God would never be with them again.  Did the scribe gloss over this detail because he knew the ark would be returned in seven months, as related to us in Chapter 7?  Or did the people have little regard left for the ark and their God because it and He had failed them?

 

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