Samuel’s word went out to all Israel. His words came from God.
When Israel went to fight against the enemies, the Philistines, 4,000 of Israel’s men were struck down.
The leaders of the people asked, Why has the Lord struck us down like this? Let’s go get the ark of the covenant so that it
can save us from our enemies.
So the people sent to God’s temple/tent at Shiloh and brought the ark of the covenant with them to the battle.
Eli’s two sons, Hopni and Phinehas, carried the ark down to the battlefield.
When Israel’s army saw it coming, they shouted with a great shout that rang across the land.
When the Philistines heard the sound of the shout they asked, What is this? When they knew that the ark of the covenant had
come to Israel’s camp they were really scared.
They said, God has come into their camp. We are in big trouble. Who can win against these mighty gods? These are the ones
that struck down the Egyptians.
Be strong and fight like mighty men, Philistines. Or we will end up being slaves to the children of Israel.
In the fight, the Philistines won. They struck down 30,000 warriors in Israel and the rest of Israel’s soldiers ran back to
Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the Philistines took the ark of the covenant with them back to their city.
Eli was 98 years old when this happened. His eyes couldn’t see. He was sitting by the gate when a man ran in to tell news of
the battle. His heart was shaking because of the ark of God.
Eli asked the man, what does this great sound mean? What happened, my son?The messenger said, Israel has ran away from the Philistines.
Many of Israel have died and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are dead. And the ark of God is taken.
When Eli heard this he fell backwards off the chair and died. He had been Israel’s leader and judge for 40
His daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was expecting a baby and she had the baby and died also, saying the glory has left
Israel because the ark of God is taken.
The Philistines took the ark of God and put it in the house of one of the bad ones that they bowed down
When they got up early the next morning, the statue of the bad one they worshipped had fallen down bowing on its face before
the ark of God.
The Philistines set the statue of their bad one back up. But again the next morning, it had fallen on its face before the
ark of God. It’s head and hands had fallen off before the ark of God.
The Lord’s hand was heavy on the Philistines in and around that city where they put the ark of God. They got real upset in
their hearts and got lumps on their bodies.
When they saw that it was because they took the ark of God they sent the ark of God to another city in their
God’s hand was heavy on that city the same way. So they sent God's ark to another city. The people there said, They are
trying to kill us and our people.
So all the rulers of the Philistines gathered together to talk about what to do. They said, Send the ark of God back to its
own place because God’s hand was very heavy there and people were dying.
The cry of their city went up to heaven.
The leaders of the five Philistine cities met and made a plan to sent the Ark of God back to its home in
They said, Don’t make your hearts hard like the Egyptians did when they saw God’s wonders. Send the cart back home to Israel
with a gift to God and we will be healed.
They got it ready and set the ark on a cart pulled by two cows.
They sent back a gift of five golden mice and five golden tumors with it. They said, Then God’s hand won’t be against us
This will be the sign if all this was done by God, If the cows go straight on the road home, then it was God who did it but
if they wander off and we have to lead them home, then it just happened by chance and wasn’t God doing it.
The cows went straight on the road home to Israel so the Philistines knew it was God who had struck them for
The children of Israel were gathering their wheat in from the field in Bethshemesh when they saw the ark coming along the
road they shouted for happiness and made many offerings to God.