Study Guide

1 Samuel Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall

  • The Israelites lose a battle against the Philistine army. The Philistines are a sea people and a superior fighting force. The Israelites rarely stand a chance against them (1-2).
  • The Israelites decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp with them so they might win the battle the next day. Everyone gets so excited when the Ark makes its way into camp, the echoes of joy reach all the way to the Philistine camp and they become afraid.
  • The next day, the Philistines fight even harder and they steal the Ark for themselves. So much for that plan, Israelites. Oh, and Hophni and Phinehas die just as prophesied (3-11).
  • A messenger comes to deliver the news of Israel's defeat. Eli, sitting in his place of power on the outer wall, receives the news of the defeat, the loss of the Ark, and the death of his sons.
  • He promptly falls backwards from his seat, breaks his neck, and dies. Little known fact: Humpty Dumpty is based on Eli. Little known fact: that was a lie (14-18).
  • Phinehas' pregnant wife, upon hearing of his demise, goes into labor and gives birth to a son. She is so sad, she names the child Ichabod, which means the glory has departed from Israel. Sorry kid, you're stuck with it (19-22).