The Philistines Capture the Ark
41 Now at that time the Philistines came together to make war against Israel, and the men of Israel went out to war against the Philistines and took up their position at the side of Eben-ezer: and the Philistines put their forces in position in Aphek. 2 And the Philistines put their forces in order against Israel, and the fighting was hard, and Israel was overcome by the Philistines, who put to the sword about four thousand of their army in the field. 3 And when the people came back to their tents, the responsible men of Israel said, Why has the Lord let the Philistines overcome us today? Let us get the ark of the Lord's agreement here from Shiloh, so that it may be with us and give us salvation from the hands of those who are against us. 4 So the people sent to Shiloh and got the ark of the agreement of the Lord of armies whose resting-place is between the winged ones; and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were there with the ark of God's agreement. 5 And when the ark of the Lord's agreement came into the tent-circle, all Israel gave a great cry, so that the earth was sounding with it. 6 And the Philistines, hearing the noise of their cry, said, What is this great cry among the tents of the Hebrews? Then it became clear to them that the ark of the Lord had come to the tent-circle. 7 And the Philistines, full of fear, said, God has come into their tents. And they said, Trouble is ours! for never before has such a thing been seen. 8 Trouble is ours! Who will give us salvation from the hands of these great gods? These are the gods who sent all sorts of blows on the Egyptians in the waste land. 9 Be strong, O Philistines, be men! Do not be servants to the Hebrews as they have been to you: go forward to the fight without fear.
10 So the Philistines went to the fight, and Israel was overcome, and every man went in flight to his tent: and great was the destruction, for thirty thousand footmen of Israel were put to the sword. 11 And the ark of God was taken; and Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were put to the sword.
12 And a man of Benjamin went running from the fight and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothing out of order and earth on his head. 13 And when he came, Eli was seated by the wayside watching: and in his heart was fear for the ark of God. And when the man came into the town and gave the news, there was a great outcry. 14 And Eli, hearing the noise and the cries, said, What is the reason of this outcry? And the man came quickly and gave the news to Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were fixed so that he was not able to see. 16 And the man said to Eli, I have come from the army and have come in flight today from the fight. And he said, How did it go, my son? 17 And the man said, Israel went in flight from the Philistines, and there has been great destruction among the people, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken. 18 And at these words about the ark of God, Eli, falling back off his seat by the side of the doorway into the town, came down on the earth so that his neck was broken and death overtook him, for he was an old man and of great weight. He had been judging Israel for forty years.
19 And his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and near the time when she would give birth; and when she had the news that the ark of God had been taken and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, her pains came on her suddenly and she gave birth. 20 And when she was very near death the women who were with her said, Have no fear, for you have given birth to a son. But she made no answer and gave no attention to it. 21 And she gave the child the name of Ichabod, saying, The glory has gone from Israel: because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, The glory is gone from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken.
The Ark in the Land of the Philistines
51 Now the Philistines, having taken the ark of God, took it with them from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. 2 They took the ark of God into the house of Dagon and put it by the side of Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod got up early on the morning after, they saw that Dagon had come down to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon up and put him in his place again. 4 And when they got up early on the morning after, Dagon had come down to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord; and his head and his hands were broken off on the doorstep; only the base was in its place. 5 So to this day no priest of Dagon, or any who come into Dagon's house, will put his foot on the doorstep of the house of Dagon in Ashdod.
6 But the hand of the Lord was hard on the people of Ashdod and he sent disease on them through all the country of Ashdod. 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, Let not the ark of the God of Israel be with us, for his hand is hard on us and on Dagon our god. 8 So they sent for all the lords of the Philistines to come together there, and said, What are we to do with the ark of the God of Israel? And their answer was, Let the ark of the God of Israel be taken away to Gath. So they took the ark of the God of Israel away. 9 But after they had taken it away, the hand of the Lord was stretched out against the town for its destruction: and the signs of disease came out on all the men of the town, small and great. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of the town made an outcry, saying, They have sent the ark of the God of Israel to us for the destruction of us and of our people. 11 So they sent and got together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its place, so that it may not be the cause of death to us and to our people: for there was a great fear of death through all the town; the hand of God was very hard on them there. 12 And those men who were not overtaken by death were cruelly diseased: and the cry of the town went up to heaven.
The Philistines Return the Ark
61 Now the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines for seven months. 2 And the Philistines sent for the priests and those who were wise in secret arts, and said to them, What are we to do with the ark of the Lord? How are we to send it away to its place? 3 And they said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it without an offering, but send him a sin-offering with it: then you will have peace again, and it will be clear to you why the weight of his hand has not been lifted from you. 4 Then they said, What sin-offering are we to send to him? And they said, Five gold images of the growths caused by your disease and five gold mice, one for every lord of the Philistines: for the same disease came on you and on your lords. 5 So make images of the growths caused by your disease and of the mice which are damaging your land; and give glory to the God of Israel: it may be that the weight of his hand will be lifted from you and from your gods and from your land. 6 Why do you make your hearts hard, like the hearts of Pharaoh and the Egyptians? When he had made sport of them, did they not let the people go, and they went away? 7 So now, take and make ready a new cart, and two cows which have never come under the yoke, and have the cows yoked to the cart, and take their young ones away from them: 8 And put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the gold images which you are sending as a sin-offering in a chest by its side; and send it away so that it may go. 9 If it goes by the land of Israel to Beth-shemesh, then this great evil is his work; but if not, then we may be certain that the evil was not his doing, but was the working of chance.
10 And the men did so; they took two cows, yoking them to the cart and shutting up their young ones in their living-place: 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the chest with the gold images. 12 And the cows took the straight way, by the road to Beth-shemesh; they went by the highway, not turning to the right or to the left, and the sound of their voices was clear on the road; and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the edge of Beth-shemesh. 13 And the people of Beth-shemesh were cutting their grain in the valley, and lifting up their eyes they saw the ark and were full of joy when they saw it. 14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and came to a stop there by a great stone: and cutting up the wood of the cart they made a burned offering of the cows to the Lord. 15 Then the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the chest in which were the gold images, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth-shemesh made burned offerings and gave worship that day before the Lord. 16 And the five lords of the Philistines, having seen it, went back to Ekron the same day. 17 Now these are the gold images which the Philistines sent as a sin-offering to the Lord; one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 And the gold mice, one for every town of the Philistines, the property of the five lords, walled towns as well as country places: and the great stone where they put the ark of the Lord is still in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite to this day.
19 But the Lord sent destruction on seventy men of the people of Beth-shemesh for looking into the ark of the Lord; and great was the sorrow of the people for the destruction which the Lord had sent on them. 20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to keep his place before the Lord, this holy God? and to whom may he go from us? 21 And they sent men to the people living in Kiriath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have sent back the ark of the Lord; come and take it up to your country.