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The Philistines Capture the Ark

This is a simplified version of the Bible story found in 1 Samuel 4-6, written for children to understand. For the original version, please refer to the Bible passage.

Once upon a time, the Israelites went to battle against the Philistines. Unfortunately, they lost and about 4,000 men died. The elders of Israel wondered why they lost and decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield so God could help them. They sent for the Ark of the Covenant, which was a special box that represented God’s presence, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, took it to the battlefield.

When the Ark of the Covenant arrived, the Israelites shouted so loudly that the Philistines were afraid. The Philistines fought harder and won, and the Ark of the Covenant was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas died. When Eli, the priest and father of Hophni and Phinehas, heard the news, he was so sad that he died too.

The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant, they brought it to Ashdod and placed it next to the idol of their god, Dagon. The following morning, they found that the idol had fallen face down in front of the Ark, so they put it back in its place. The next morning, they found that Dagon had fallen face down again, but this time, its head and hands had been cut off.

They were afraid and began to suffer from tumors, and so they decided to move the Ark to the city of Gath. But as soon as it arrived there, the people of Gath began to suffer from the same afflictions, so they sent it to the city of Ekron. However, the people of Ekron were also afflicted, and so the Philistines realized that they could not keep the Ark.

The Philistines called for their priests and diviners, who advised them to make images of golden tumors and mice as a guilt offering to the God of Israel. They also recommended that they place the Ark on a cart pulled by two milk cows, which had never been yoked before, and allow them to take the Ark where they will. If the cows went to Beth-shemesh, then it was a sign that the God of Israel had brought the afflictions upon them, but if they did not, it was just a coincidence.

The Philistines followed the cows to Beth-shemesh, and when the people of Beth-shemesh saw the Ark, they were overjoyed. But some of the men of Beth-shemesh made the mistake of looking inside the Ark, and the Lord struck seventy of them. The people of Beth-shemesh were terrified and asked, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” So, they sent the Ark of the Covenant to a man’s house in Kiriath-jearim, where it stayed for twenty years.

Samuel, a prophet of God, told the Israelites to get rid of their false gods and serve only the true God. Then, he gathered the people of Israel at Mizpah. The Philistines heard that the Israelites were gathered at Mizpah and came to attack them. The Israelites were scared, but Samuel prayed to God, and God helped them win the battle.

Samuel set up a stone to remember how God helped them and called it Ebenezer, saying, “Till now the Lord has helped us”. He judged Israel for the rest of his life.

Biblical Lessons

  • The power of God is greater than the power of any other god or army.
  • We should obey God’s commands and worship Him alone.
  • God helps those who put their trust in Him.
  • We should be thankful to God for His help and protection.
  • We should not worship false gods.
  • We should not take the presence of God lightly or disrespect it.
  • God punishes those who disobey His commands.

Related Stories

The Birth of Samuel

The Lord Calls Samuel

David and Goliath

Samson Defeats the Philistines

The Death of Samson

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