And the ark of God was taken
By the Philistines; which was suffered partly as a punishment to the Israelites, for fetching it from the tabernacle without the will of God, and for their vain confidence in it; and partly that the Philistines might have an experiment of the power and might of God, as Procopius Gazaeus observes, by what they would suffer through having it among them; some have thought that this was an emblem of Christ being delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, and of the Gospel being translated from the Jews to them: and the two sons of Eli,
Hophni and Phinehas,
were slain; which fulfilled the prophecy of the man of God, that they should both die in one day, ( 1 Samuel 2:34 ) . It is very probable they stood fast by the ark, and chose rather to die than to give it up freely; having received a charge from their father, that if the ark was taken, not to desire life, nor ever dare to come into his presence more, as Josephus F1 relates.
F1 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 11. sect. 2.