God’s Renewing Word of Promise
1 Samuel 4:12-22: Eli dies when he receives word that the Covenant Box was captured by the Philistines. The wife of Phinehas goes into labor when she hears that both her husband and her father-in-law (Eli) are dead and that the Covenant Box had been captured. She dies in childbirth after giving birth to a son.
The Death of Eli
12A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran all the way from the battlefield to Shiloh and arrived there the same day. To show his grief, he had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head. 13Eli, who was very worried about the Covenant Box, was sitting in his seat beside the road, staring. The man spread the news throughout the town, and everyone cried out in fear. 14Eli heard the noise and asked, “What is all this noise about?” The man hurried to Eli to tell him the news. ( 15Eli was now ninety-eight years old and almost completely blind.) 16The man said, “I have escaped from the battle and have run all the way here today.”
Eli asked him, “What happened, my son?”
17The messenger answered, “Israel ran away from the Philistines; it was a terrible defeat for us! Besides that, your sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and God’s Covenant Box was captured!”
18When the man mentioned the Covenant Box, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He was so old and fat that the fall broke his neck, and he died. He had been a leader in Israel for forty years.
The Death of the Widow of Phinehas
19Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, and it was almost time for her baby to be born. When she heard that God’s Covenant Box had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she suddenly went into labor and gave birth. 20As she was dying, the women helping her said to her, “Be brave! You have a son!” But she paid no attention and did not answer. 21She named the boy Ichabod, explaining, “God’s glory has left Israel”—referring to the capture of the Covenant Box and the death of her father-in-law and her husband. 22“God’s glory has left Israel,” she said, “because God’s Covenant Box has been captured.”
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Samuel 4:22
“God’s glory has left Israel,” [Eli’s daughter-in-law] said, “because God’s Covenant Box has been captured.”
What news did the messenger bring to Eli? Why did Eli’s daughter-in-law name her son Ichabod, and why did she feel that God’s glory had left Israel?
Gracious God, draw me close to you. Whenever I am downhearted, may I sense your presence and your sheltering love. May my words and actions this day give glory to you. In your holy name I pray. Amen.
1 Samuel 5:1-12: The Philistines are punished for possessing the Covenant Box.