Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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1 Samuel 4:12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and dust on his head.

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Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871)


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Questions Related to this Verse

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Eli's care For The Ark of the Covenant?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Eli Lived At Shiloh?

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1 Samuel 4 Images and Notes

Brief Summary: The predictions in the foregoing chapters concerning the ruin of Eli's house here begin to be fulfilled; how long after does not appear, but certainly not long. Such sinners God often makes quick work with. Here is, I. The disgrace and loss Israel sustained in an encounter with the Philistines (v. 1, v. 2). II. Their foolish project to fortify themselves by bringing the ark of God into their camp upon the shoulders of Hophni and Phinehas (v. 3, v. 4), which made them secure (v. 5) and struck a fear into the Philistines, but such a fear as roused them (v. 6-9). III. The fatal consequences of it: Israel was beaten, and the ark taken prisoner (v. 10, v. 11). IV. The tidings of this brought to Shiloh, and the sad reception of those tidings. 1. The city was put into confusion (v. 12, v. 13). Eli fainted away, fell, and broke his neck (v. 14-18). Upon hearing what had occurred his daughter-in-law fell in labour, bore a son, but died immediately (v. 19-22). These were the things which would make the ears of those that heard them to tingle.

The Israelites overcome by the Philistines. (1-9)
The ark taken. (10,11)
The death of Eli. (12-18)
The birth of Ichabod. (19-22)

The Jordan
Painting of the Jordan by Chernetsov

1 Samuel 4:3 - And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.


Ark Relief at Capernaum Synagogue

Close up of the Sculptured Block of the Ark at Capernaum

The ancient Ark of the covenant of Israel is one the most famous items in all of antiquity. There is no trace of the Ark of the covenant, yet it is memorialized by this Scripture block at the synagogue of Capernaum, created in Greco-Roman style. In the Bible the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, and later returned because of sudden plagues that happened upon their lands. Through the valley of sorek it was taken back to Israel to Beth-shemesh.



Ancient Philistine

Carved Head of a Philistine

This relief from the Temple of Rameses III reveals the head of an ancient Philistine. During the time of the Judges of Israel the Philistines are mentioned often. According to history the Philistines were very strong in the Maritime Plain along the coast south of Joppa around 1100 BC. The name Palestine was given to the land of Israel by the Roman Emperor Hadrian after he removed them from the whole area, and he used the name Palestina because of the ancient Philistines. The Hebrew tradition teaches that the Philistines were immigrants from the island of Caphtor (Crete) and many scholars believe they immigrated from Asia Minor.


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