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Eli's Despair


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And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines . . . . . and the ark of God is taken.” 1. Sam., 4, 17.

\HE Bible does not indicate that Samuel had any

active part in the disaster he had foretold, yet it may

well have been the knowledge of a prophet's presence among them that encouraged the Israelites to attack the Philistines. They did so and were repulsed. They determined, as it were, to force their God to aid them. Going to the sanctuary at Shiloh, they took out the ark and, bearing it in their midst, went forth a second time to battle. Their childish attempt to compel God to fight for them, brought down a terrible rebuke. Not only were they defeated with great slaughter, not only were the evil priests, the sons of Eli, slain; but the ark itself, containing the stone tablets of God, was captured by the Philistines and borne away in triumph.

A runner, whom Hebrew tradition identifies with Saul, the future king, brought news of the destruction back to Shiloh, where Eli awaited word. The high-priest in his prime had been a huge and powerful man; but now he was ninety-eight years old, feeble and blind. He heard the cry of lamentation run through the streets. He heard the panting messenger approach. Then came the shock of learning of the treble disaster to his sons, to his race and to his God. He toppled backwards from the priestly seat he had so inefficiently filled. The fall broke his neck, and he died.

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17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

18 ( Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?

19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to

And is this the manner of man, O Lord God? 20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.

21 For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.

22 Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?

24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

25 And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.

26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.

27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

. 28 And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.

Chapter 8

1 David subdueth the Philistines and the Moabites. 3 He smiteth Hadadezer, and the Syrians. 9 Toi sendeth Joram with presents to bless him. 11 The presents and the spoil David dedicateth to God. 14 He putteth garrisons in Edom. 16 David's officers.

ND after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines,

and subdued them: and David took Metheg-ammah out of

the hand of the Philistines. 2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting

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