1 Samuel 4: The Ark of God is Stolen


The Philistines and  Israel were going into battle.  Israel was beaten and lost 4,000 men. So they went to Shiloh and asked for the Ark to join them in battle. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, took the Ark. The Hebrews shouted for joy and the Philistines were worried that God had come to join their enemies in battle.  But the Philistines fought anyway and won and killed 30,000 Hebrews. Eli’s sons were slain and the ark was taken. When Eli was told, he fell off his chair, broke his neck and died. Phineas’ wife was with child and went into labor when she heard the Ark had been taken. Her son was born and she did not regard it. She named the child Ichabod, lamented the loss of the Ark and died.

In other words:

Israel carries the almighty Ark into battle, loses badly and the Ark is taken from them.

Favorite bit:

I’m a bit snarky on this one – but my favorite part was the fact the Ark didn't help them at all.  I’m a Humanist. Putting your faith into a “magical” object is silly. And clearly it didn't work.  I realize that believers will say, this is because the men carrying it were evil, but whatever. It didn't work as it was supposed to.

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 4:8 – Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.   Not only are the Philistine’s scared of the Ark, they also consider plural gods and not the singular God.  Don’t know why I like this – but I do.

Most unpleasant bits:

3 unpleasant things happen.  1st- the slaughter of 30,000 Israelis at the hands of the Philistines.  2nd – the accidental neck breaking of Eli as he falls off his chair. 3rd – the death of Phineas’ wife in childbirth.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Don’t put your faith in magic (1 Samuel 4)