1 Samuel 4:16

ESV And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?”
NIV He told Eli, 'I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.' Eli asked, 'What happened, my son?'
NASB The man said to Eli, 'I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.' And he said, 'How are things, my son?'
CSB The man said to Eli, "I'm the one who came from the battle. I fled from there today.""What happened, my son? " Eli asked.
NLT He said to Eli, 'I have just come from the battlefield — I was there this very day.' 'What happened, my son?' Eli demanded.
KJV And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?

What does 1 Samuel 4:16 mean?

Eli, the priest and judge of Israel, has been waiting for news of the battle with the Philistines. Perhaps against his better judgment, he allowed the ark of God to be taken to the battlefield. Israel assumed the ark's mere presence would bring victory. Eli, it seems, was not so superstitious (1 Samuel 4:13). He has heard a loud commotion in the streets and has demanded to know what is going on. He is quite old and blind (1 Samuel 4:13–15).

Now the runner from the battle comes to tell the terrible news to Eli himself. He begins by admitting that he ran away from the battle to bring this news to Eli. Eli must know this is not a good sign, but he asks the man how it went. Despite his earlier indifference (1 Samuel 3:18) when an earlier prophecy (1 Samuel 2:34) was repeated by Samuel, he will not react well to what he hears. The deaths of his sons likely hit him hard, but what's especially troubling to Eli, for whatever reason, is that the ark was captured during Israel's defeat (1 Samuel 4:11).
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