Everyone knew Samuel is the prophet of God.
God often appears to Samuel in Shiloh and instructs him what to say to the people.
One day, the Philistines waged war against the Israelites.
The Israelite armies set up their camps at Ebenezer but the Philistine armies set up their camps at Aphek.
The Philistines and the Israelites fought but the Philistines defeated the Israelites.
The Israelites armies went back unhappy. Then the Israelite leaders said, “Why didn’t the Lord grant us victory over our enemy, the Philistines? Let us go and carry the sacred chest to the battlefield so that we can win.”
The Israelite armies sent for the soldiers to carry the sacred chest into their camp.
So Eli’s two sons, Hopni and Phinehas carried the sacred chest into the camp.
As Hopni and Phinehas entered the Israelites camp with the sacred chest, the armies cheered so loudly that the ground shook.
When the Philistines found out that the sacred chest had been brought into the camp, they said, “We are in big trouble! The Israelites had brought the sacred chest into their camp. They are the same gods that delivered them from Pharaoh a long time ago.
Philistines, be brave and fight hard so that the Hebrews will never be able to rule over us.”
The Philistines did fight. They defeated the Israelites.
They carried away the sacred chest and put it in the temple of their god, Dagon.
That very same day that the sacred chest was stolen, the two sons of Eli, Hopni and Phinehas died.
A front soldier ran back to the city to bring the news that they were defeated and the sacred chest was taken away by the Philistines.
Eli was sitting beside the wall of the city in his rocking chair when the front soldier ran in and announced the news to everyone.
When Eli heard that the sacred chest is stolen, he fell backward from his rocking chair.
The fall broke his neck and he died.