Ep. 076: The Ark Captured

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Ep. 076: The Ark Captured

God was not pleased with Eli. The high priest knew his two sons were sinning in the sanctuary of the Lord. They didn’t even try to hide it. Still Eli hadn’t stopped them. God told him that his family would be judged. The Lord said, “I will do something that will cause people to shudder when they hear about it.”
When Eli was 98 years old, the Philistines made war with Israel. The army went out to defend their nation, but they lost the battle and 4,000 men were killed.
The elders of Israel were confused. “Why did the Lord allow this to happen?” Suddenly one of them had an idea. “Let’s go get the Ark of the Lord! We’ll take it with us into battle, and it will give us victory.” So they sent for the Ark of God, and the sons of Eli brought it to the camp. When the Israelites saw it, they shouted for joy. The shout was so loud that it seemed like the ground shook.
The Philistines heard the shout and thought it was a war cry. They sent spies to see what was going on and found that the Ark of God had been brought into the camp. The Philistines panicked. They said, “Their gods are now in their camp. We’re doomed! These are magnificent gods. They’re the ones that slaughtered the Egyptians with plagues.”
The Philistine leaders stood before the troops. “Be strong and act like men! You are mighty Philistines, not weak Hebrews. Now is the time to fight like you’ve never fought before. If you don’t, you’ll be their slaves.”
So the Philistines fought as if they had everything to lose. Israel was crushed – their soldiers slaughtered. 30,000 men were killed, including Eli’s two sons. The Philistines then captured the Ark of God and took it to their own camp.
Back in Israel, Eli was sitting on a chair beside the road waiting for a report from the battle. He was concerned about the Ark of God. A man ran from the battle to tell everyone what happened. The entire city started crying out in pain. Eli was blind and had difficulty hearing. He heard the noise, but couldn’t hear what was said. “What’s going on?”
The man got close to the old priest and said, “Our men were slaughtered today. Your two sons were killed, and the Ark of God was captured.” When Eli heard about the Ark of God, he fell backwards off the chair. He was a heavy man, so the fall broke his neck and he died.
Eli’s daughter-in-law was due to give birth to a child. She heard about the Ark of God and her husband’s death. She then heard that her father-in-law was also dead. Suddenly she went into labor and gave birth to a son. Those helping her said, “You now have something to be happy about. You’ve given birth to a son!”
At first she didn’t respond, and then she finally said, “The glory has departed from Israel because the Ark of God has been captured.” Just before she died, she named the boy Ichabod, which means, “The glory has departed.”


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