The Death of Eli (1 Samuel 4:12 – 18)

After the battle with the Philistines, a Benjamite ran to Shiloh to tell of the defeat.  Eli, now ninety-eight years old, sat by the roadside.  When Eli heard the commotion, he asked what news the man brought, for he feared for the Ark.

1 Samuel 4:17 (NKJV)
17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

When Eli heard this news, he fell off the seat backward and his neck was broken, and he died.  He had judged Israel forty years.

While Eli winked at the sins of his sons, God offered warnings of the judgement to come.  Now, God brought judgement in the form of a warring army that defeated Israel’s army, captured the Ark of the Covenant, and killed the sinful sons of Eli.  Do not ignore the warnings of the Lord, but rather obey His word and be whole.  Sin will eventually bring judgement, so flee sin and embrace the word of the Lord!

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