1 Samuel 4:4
So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts…
This subject forms an impressive chapter in the history of Israel. Eli was now the theocratic judge of the Hebrew commonwealth, and its administration centered round Shiloh, where he dwelt and the ark was kept, and its statutes observed. Let us glance at the steps which led to disaster.
1. Family discipline neglected. It is often the case, as true today as then, that men are so busy with money. making or important trusts, as to be almost strangers to their own households and ignorant of the habits of their children.
2. Disobedient children. They were careless of religion, but careful of tithes. They helped themselves to as much of the sacrifices as they wanted, whether the offerer would or no; and as a result men abhorred the offerings of the Lord. Family discipline is too great when children are full grown and their habits strong.
3. Religion slighted. A nation suffers more from the sins of its rulers and priests than from the sins of an equal number of private men who are simply hewers of wood and carriers of water. The sins of the former are fashionable; those of the latter are vulgar and contemptible.
4. Vain confidence. And "all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again." But courage is not of the sword and spear and shibboleth, of bow and banner and boasting, neither of the giant frame and muscle; it is of the heart and spirit. It is the unconquerable will, and the heart conscious of right, prodigal of life for its defence, that makes one man able to chase a thousand, and two to put ten thousand to flight.
5. National calamity. It is not religiosity that saves, but spirituality.
6. Providence. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. God will take care of His ark as well as of His people.
Parallel VersesKJV: So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
WEB: So the people sent to Shiloh; and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of Armies, who sits [above] the cherubim: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.