I Samuel – Chapter 4

Raiders of the Lost... ah, you know!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Israel went to war against the Philistines. The Jews lost the battle, so they brought the Ark out to the battlefield. The Philistine forces became scared that G-d Himself had joined the fray, but their leaers encouraged them to be brave.

The Philistines won this battle, too. Eli’s sons, Chofni and Pinchas, were both killed (on the same day, as per the prophecy), and the Ark was captured.

A Benjaminite (possibly Saul) carried word to Eli of the battle’s outcome. He tried to break it to him slowly, but the news of his sons’ death and the Ark’s capture was too much for him; he fell off his chair, broke his neck and died.

Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Pinchas, was pregnant. When she heard all these things, she went into labor. She had a son and called him “Ichabod,” meaning “there is no more honor” because of all the calamities that had occurred. She died as a result of her difficult labor.

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