And Samuel's word came to all Israel. Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer,1 and the Philistines at Aphek.22
The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield.
When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, "Why3 did the LORD bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark4 of the LORD's covenant from Shiloh,5 so that ita may go with us6 and save us from the hand of our enemies."
So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim.7 And Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
When the ark of the LORD's covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout8 that the ground shook.
Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, "What's all this shouting in the Hebrew9 camp?" When they learned that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were afraid.10 "A god has come into the camp," they said. "We're in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before.
Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck11 the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues12 in the desert.
Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they13 have been to you. Be men, and fight!"
So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated14 and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.15
That same day a Benjamite16 ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh, his clothes torn and dust17 on his head.
When he arrived, there was Eli18 sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.
Eli heard the outcry and asked, "What is the meaning of this uproar?" The man hurried over to Eli,
who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes19 were set so that he could not see.
He told Eli, "I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day." Eli asked, "What happened, my son?"
The man who brought the news replied, "Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead,20 and the ark of God has been captured."2118
When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had ledb22 Israel forty years.23