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and if the Lord should call him again, to an. swer, “ Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth."
From first to last Samuel seerns to have had no will of his own, but simply to have sought the way of obedience, and thus he lay down in his place once more; and when, as Eli expected, the Awful Voice again rang in his ears, i calling, Samuel, Samuel !" the child answered, “ Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth."
Then the LORD gave into his charge a very solemn message of woe to Eli, whose sons Hophni and Phinehas were leading wicked lives, and causing many others to sin with them. “Be.
' hold, I will do a thing in Israel,” He said, “at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house ; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."
When Samuel had heard the awful words, he lay still until the morning, and then he did his usual duties, and opened the doors of the Lord's house. But he was afraid to tell Eli of
the vision God had sent him. Then Eli called Samuel to him, and said, “ What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide anything from me of all the things that He said unto thee.” And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.
When Eli heard the solemn judgment of GOD, he bowed himself in humble submission before it, only saying, “ It is the LORD, let Him do what seemeth Him good.”
God's Judgment came, even as He had said. Israel was at war with the Philistines, and Israel was smitten, and about four thousand men were slain. Then 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.'
So the people sent to Shiloh, and took the ark of the covenant of the LORD of Hosts from between the cherubims; and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, went with it. Then when the ark of God came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth
rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said,
" What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp
of the Hebrews ?” And they were told that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.
Then the Philistines were very much afraid, and they said, “God is come into the camp; woe unto us, for there hath not been such a thing heretofore! woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hands of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness ! Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, Oye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.”
The battle began; the Philistines fought very bravely, and Israel had not the upholding Hand of the Lord, because they had displeased Him. So Israel was smitten, and fled before their enemies, and the slaughter was very great : thirty thousand men were slain,—the ark of God was taken by the Philistines, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were with it, were killed. The aged Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside, watching for tidings. He was a
very old man, having seen ninety and eight summers ; his eyes were dim so that he could not see, and his heart trembled for the ark of God. Then a man who had escaped from the defeated army came to Shiloh, with rent garments, and dust upon his head, and as soon as he reached the city, he told his sorrowful tidings, and all the people cried out for grief. When Eli heard the tumult, he asked what it meant ? and the man came hastily in, and told him, saying, "I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to-day out of the army.”
” Then Eli asked, trembling, “What is there
“ done, my son ?” And the messenger told him all, he spared nothing, but said, “ Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God is taken.”
And it came to pass, that when he made mention of the ark of God, Eli fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died. He could bear to hear of the loss of his sons and his friends, but not that God's Glory was touched. So Eli died.
Phinehas's wife also died in giving birth to
a son, when she heard all the sad tidings of her father-in-law, and husband, and that the ark of God was taken. And as she departed, she named her child Ichabod, which means, “Where is the glory?” saying, “ The glory is departed from Israel, the ark of God is taken."
THE ARK OF THE LORD.
Meanwhile the Philistines were very glad to have the ark of God; they took it to Ashdod, and put it into the temple of their idol Dagon. But the next morning, on going into the temple, they found that the image of Dagon had fallen upon its face to the earth before the Ark of the Lord. They took the image, and set it again in its place, but the next morning, again Dagon was found on his face before the ark of the LORD ; and this time his head and both his hands were cut off. Moreover, the LORD visited the people of Ashdod heavily, sending them a deadly plague of boils.
Then the men of Ashdod said, “The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us, for His Hand is sore upon us and upon Dagon our god.” So they called all the lords of the Philis