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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 4

Verses 1-11

1 Samuel 4:1 b. Now Israel . . . 1 Samuel 4:1 (E).— From Ancient History of the Ark ( cf. above, p. 273).

1 Samuel 4:1 b – 1 Samuel 4:11 . The Israelites, Defeated by the Philistines, Fetch the Ark. They are again Defeated.

1 Samuel 4:1 . Philistines: pp. 56f., 66f.— Eben-ezer: “ Stone of Help” ( cf. 1 Samuel 7:12). Sites of Eben-ezer and Aphek ( 1 Kings 20:26 *) not known, probably NW. of Jerusalem, either near the city, or on the inland edge of the Maritime Plain.

1 Samuel 4:3 . ark of the covenant of the Lord: cf. 1 Samuel 3:3. Deuteronomic title of the Ark; “ covenant” is equivalent to the stone tables of the Ten Commandments which Deuteronomy 10:2; Deuteronomy 10:5 place in the Ark. In this History of the Ark the title was originally either “ A. of Yahweh” or “ A. of God . . . our, etc. God” ; the additional words in the titles having been added by editors. Here read “ A. of our God,” with LXX.— that it may become: perhaps read “ that He, etc.” The Ark is a talisman or Palladium, identified with Yahweh, or carrying His presence with it ( 2 Samuel 11:11 *).

1 Samuel 4:4 . which sitteth upon the cherubim: editorial addition (see above). The Ark is thought of as the throne of Yahweh.— cherubim: see Genesis 3:24.

1 Samuel 4:4 f . Lord . . . God . . . Lord: note variation of Divine Names; it has been suggested that this is an indication of compilation from two sources, but this view is not generally adopted. At present there is no satisfactory explanation of this use of the Divine Names; possibly it is due to partial revision: originally the same name was used throughout.

1 Samuel 4:6 . Hebrews: the name for Israelites used by foreigners.

1 Samuel 4:8 . in the wilderness: the plagues were in Egypt and not in the wilderness; apparently either the author or an annotator got confused; unless we read “ and with pestilence,” which would require only a very slight change in the Hebrew.

1 Samuel 4:10 . thirty thousand: probably an exaggeration, even if it was a contemporary guess.

Verses 12-22

1 Samuel 4:12-22 . Death of Eli, Birth of Ichabod.

1 Samuel 4:12 . clothes rent, etc.: signs of mourning.

1 Samuel 4:18 . forty; LXX twenty.— And he. . . years: formula used by Deuteronomic editor of Jg. ( Judges 10:2 f; Judges 12:7; Judges 12:9; Judges 12:11; Judges 12:14; Judges 15:20) to conclude account of a Judge. This story may once have stood in Jg.

1 Samuel 4:21 . Ichabod: no-glory ( mg.) .

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 4". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.