Afterwards there was war between the Israelites and the Philistines, and both sides prepared for battle. They fought; the Israelites were defeated, and many of them slain. Then they sent to Shiloh and fetched the ark of the covenant out of the Tabernacle, carrying it to the camp, and thinking that if the ark were with them they would overcome their enemies. But the ark only signified God's presence in their midst; it was not God Himself, to give them victory. It was very sinful of them thus to use what God had made so holy; and God suffered them again to be defeated. The ark was taken by the Philistines, and many of the Israelites were slain.
Eli, who was then ninety-eight years old, and nearly blind, sat by the wayside, trembling for the safety of the ark, and waiting for messengers to bring news of the battle. Presently a messenger came who told him the Israelites had fled before the Philistines, that his two sons Hophni and Phinehas were slain, and that the ark of God had been taken. When he heard that the ark had been taken, he fell backward from off his seat and died. Thus God's judgment upon Eli and his sons came to pass. In our picture we see the messenger, who has just come from the field of battle, telling Eli the sad tidings that caused his death.
[Illustration: ELI RECEIVING THE EVIL TIDINGS.]