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1 Samuel 5:1

ESV When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
NIV After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
NASB Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
CSB After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod,
NLT After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod.
KJV And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.

What does 1 Samuel 5:1 mean?

The ark of the covenant, or the "ark of the LORD," was an ornate box built according to God's specifications (Exodus 25:10–16). This housed sacred objects and was mostly used for atonement rituals. The Philistines had captured the ark of the God of the Israelites after wiping out Israel's army on the battlefield (1 Samuel 4:10–11). They brought the ark from the Israelite camp at Ebenezer south to Ashdod, one of the five major Philistine cities. Ashdod was west of Jerusalem, almost to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

During this era, warfare between nations was thought to be a battle between the gods of those nations. It was common for the victors in battle to bring home the idols of those they conquered. A nation whose "gods" were held captive away from their people was thought to be thoroughly defeated. Eli's daughter-in-law showed that some in Israel believed this, as well. She said that the glory had departed from Israel because the ark was captured (1 Samuel 4:19–22). The elders of Israel seemed to hold a level of superstition, as well, in that they assumed bringing the ark into battle would guarantee them victory (1 Samuel 4:3). God's work in these events demonstrates that He is not confined to a physical object and He can neither be manipulated nor defeated.
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