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1 Samuel 4:12

Death of Eli

12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head.

Read 1 Samuel 4:12 Using Other Translations

And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head.
A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief.

What does 1 Samuel 4:12 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Samuel 4:12

And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army
Out of the rank in which he was, before the whole army was quite broken up. This was a young man as Josephus F2 says, which is highly probable; though not at all to be depended on is what the Jews F3 say, that this was Saul, later king of Israel:

and came to Shiloh the same day;
which, according to Bunting F4, was forty two miles from Ebenezer, near to which the battle was fought; and that it was a long way is pretty plain by the remark made, that this messenger came the same day the battle was fought; though not at such a distance as some Jewish writers say, some sixty, some one hundred and twenty miles F5; which is not at all probable:

with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head;
which were both tokens of distress and mourning, and showed that he was a messenger of bad tidings from the army; (See Gill on Joshua 7:6).


FOOTNOTES:

F2 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 11. sect. 3.
F3 Shalshalet Hakabala. fol. 8. 1. Jarchi in loc.
F4 Travels of the Patriarchs p. 123.
F5 Midrash Schemuel apud Abarbinel in loc.
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