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Go to Bible: 1 Samuel 4
“And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.” This should have been the last sentence of chapter three.(top)
|1Sa 4:2||- (top)|
“so that he will come among us and save us.” The Israelites understood that God dwelt over the ark between the cherubim, and if they brought the ark, “He” would come too and then He could save them. There is a breakdown in logic here on the part of Israel. If Yahweh struck them down, why would they want Him to be with them? It would seem they would want to distance themselves from Him. This is where superstition is not logical.
This also shows that God is not at our beck and call. He is God and we are His subjects and servants. God moves first and we follow. This is a very similar problem with the Word of Faith movement, which says “If I just have faith, God will do what I am having faith for.” Trusting God works if God gives the revelation and guidance first, but just “having faith” does not make God act just as bringing the ark of God into the camp did not make God act.(top)
|1Sa 4:4||- (top)|
|1Sa 4:5||- (top)|
|1Sa 4:6||- (top)|
“For there has not been such a thing before.” Although the Ark of the Covenant had traveled with Israel, this is the first time the Philistines had to deal with it in battles with them.(top)
“with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness.” The Philistines seem to have their story mixed up. God did smite Egypt with plagues, but in Egypt, not in the wilderness. “All kinds of plagues” is literally in Hebrew, “every plague,” but “all kinds of plagues” get the sense and is better English.(top)
“you have to serve the Hebrews.” The word “serve” is a verb, it is not “servants.”(top)
|1Sa 4:10||- (top)|
“And the ark of God was taken.” The ark was “taken,” that is, it was taken away from the Israelites. Reality reveals the powerlessness of superstition. The ark not only did not protect the army and give them victory, it was captured by the Philistines. Sadly, the power of superstition is usually so great that even when the belief or ritual fails over and over, somehow excuses are made or blindness covers it over. For example, homes that are supposedly protected by statues of angels or saints, or have other protective symbols have just as many problems as those homes that have no such “protections,” but the belief in the protective power goes on in spite of that.
God and the power of God should be enough for people, even though God does not promise us health and happiness in this fallen world. But sadly He is usually not enough for most people and so they turn to fake advantages given by various superstitions and then ignore the fact that the superstitions do not really work.
“and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.” Thus fulfilling the prophecy of 1 Sam. 2:34.(top)
“and came to Shiloh the same day.” The run from the area of Aphek to Shiloh would basically be a marathon run, 26 miles, and mostly uphill. Thus the text adds, “the same day.”(top)
“And when the man came into the city.” The main entrance to the city of Shiloh was on the south. It seems that the messenger arrives at Shiloh and goes into the city, telling people as he went. Eventually the man would reach Eli. The Tabernacle was likely on the north side, and since many people would be going to Shiloh to worship, the Tabernacle would have a road going to it, and Eli was sitting by that road.(top)
“the noise of the shouting.” Eli heard the noise of the shouting, but did not as yet know whether the news was good or bad.
“tumult.” This is the noun from the same root as the verb “shook” in 1 Samuel 4:5.(top)
“98.” It is noteworthy that Eli was 98, and still the High Priest, and he did not die of natural causes.
“had failed.” The Hebrew uses an idiom to express that Eli was now blind (cp. BDB Hebrew English Lexicon). Sometime earlier, in 1 Samuel 3:2, Eli’s eyes were dim. Now he is totally blind.(top)
|1Sa 4:16||- (top)|
|1Sa 4:17||- (top)|
“by the side of the gate.” The gate to the Tabernacle.(top)
“came suddenly upon her.” The Hebrew text reads more literally, “were turned upon her.” Her labor was brought on prematurely, apparently brought on by shock.(top)
“And about the time of her death.” So her son was born an orphan into a priestly family. Both his father and mother, and his grandfather also, died that day.(top)
“Ichabod.” The Hebrew can mean, “Where is the glory,” or it can mean, “No glory” [the glory has departed].
“departed.” The word means “exiled.”(top)
|1Sa 4:22||- (top)|