1 Samuel 4

Talks for Growing Christians

The Ark of the Covenant is Captured

1 Samuel 4

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Lesson Number 5

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Lord’s people are defeated when they turn away from God.
  2. The Lord’s people are defeated when they play games with God.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s not give the name “Ichabod” to any of our churches or children!


  1. Who were the Philistines?
  2. Summarize the battles in 1 Samuel 4.
  3. How did Eli the high priest die?
  4. What should the Israelites have done before going into the battle with the Philistines?
  5. What does the name “Ichabod” mean?


  1. The Philistines were Israel’s perennial enemy all during the days of Samuel, Saul, and David. They were people who had migrated to the land of Canaan from Crete and other islands and settled along the Mediterranean Coast – the Gaza Strip today.
  2. Israel was defeated by the Philistines, and lost about 4,000 men in battle. Israel then regrouped and called for the Ark of the Covenant to be brought into the camp for the second battle. The Philistines defeated the Israelites in a second battle, in which 30,000 more died and the Ark was taken by the Philistines.
  3. When he heard the news that the Ark had been taken and his sons were dead, he fell backwards and died of a broken neck.
  4. They should have prayed to the Lord and sought his guidance about going to battle with the Philistines. Israel recognized Samuel as a prophet, but we don’t read of Israel consulting him for council before this battle.
  5. Ichabod means “no glory.”


  1. Discuss: The Lord’s people are defeated when they turn away from God. Are you suffering defeat in your life right now? Is it possible that you have turned away from the Lord?
  2. The Israelites tried to use the Ark of the Covenant as a good luck charm for their battle. God allowed His people to be defeated. Have you ever seen people play games with God, or done it yourself? What is the correct approach?


  1. Don’t let the glory and blessing of the Lord depart from your fellowship and family. Make sure you and your children have a growing heart for the Lord.

Key Verses

  • “Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” 1 Samuel 4:3
  • “The ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.” 1 Samuel 4:11
  • “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” 1 Samuel 4:22

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