2 The Philistines went to attack the Israelites. As the battle continued, the Philistines won the fight and they killed about 4,000 Israelites.
3 The Israelite soldiers returned to their tents. The leaders of Israel said to each other, ‘Why did the Lord let the Philistines win against us today? We should bring the Lord's Covenant Box here from Shiloh. We will take it with us into the battle. Then it will save us from our enemies.’
4:3The Covenant Box was where the Lord met with his people. So they thought that the Lord would be with them in the battle. See Exodus 25:17-21.
4 So the people sent men to Shiloh and they brought back the Lord's Covenant Box. That is where the Lord Almighty sits between the cherubs. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, also came with God's Covenant Box. 5 The men brought the Lord's Covenant Box into the place where the soldiers' tents were. When the Israelites saw it, they shouted so loudly that the ground shook.
6 The Philistines heard the loud noise. They asked each other, ‘What is happening there among the Hebrew people's army?’ Then they realized that the Lord's Covenant Box had arrived there. 7 They were afraid and they said, ‘Their gods have come to help them fight! We are in bad trouble. Nothing like this has happened to us before. 8 This is terrible! Nobody can save us from those powerful gods. Those gods punished the Egyptians with many bad diseases in the desert. 9 Philistine soldiers, you must be brave! You must fight as strong men! If not, we will become slaves of these Hebrew people, as they were once our slaves. So be ready to fight bravely!’
4:6The Israelites were also called Hebrews.
10 So the Philistines did fight strongly and they won again. They killed 30,000 Israelite soldiers in the battle. The other Israelite soldiers all ran home. 11 The Philistines took God's Covenant Box for themselves. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, also died.