That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head.
When he arrived, there was Eli 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 eyes had failed 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, and the ark of God has been captured.”
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 he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.