Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Phinehas’ Wife: Eli’s Daughter-in-Law
Women of The Bible
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Devotional Reading: I Samuel 4:10-22 AMP
10 And the Philistines fought; Israel was smitten and they fled every man to his own home. There was a very great slaughter; for 30,000 foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. [Foretold in I Sam. 2:34.] 12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh that day, with his clothes torn and earth on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. When the man told the news in the city, all the city [people] cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What is this uproar? And the man came hastily and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was 98 years old; his eyes were dim so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, I have come from the battle; I fled from the battle today. Eli said, How did it go, my son? 17 The messenger replied, Israel fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is captured. 18 And when he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. 19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, about to be delivered. And when she heard that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, Fear not, for you have borne a son. But she did not answer or notice. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel!—because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, The glory is gone from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken.
God revealed to Samuel that judgment was coming to the house of Eli, because of the wickedness of his sons Hophni and Phinehas – who were ordained Priests under the leadership of thier father. Eli’s sons, while commissioned, had improper relations with the women workers in the temple, and who were gluttonous as also their father had become. Their behavior angered God and caused the blessing on their house to be rescinded.
On the day that God fulfilled his word concerning the calamity that he prophesied against Eli’s sons, they were both slain in battle. A messenger related the events to Eli, who was elderly, blind, and fearful because the Ark of The Covenant of God had been stolen by the Philistines. When Eli heard that his sons were slain, he knew God had fulfilled His word. Falling off of his chair backward, his neck was broken and he also died.
When Phinehas’ wife heard that both her husband and her father-in-law were dead, she went into labor and birthed a son, but she did not survive the delivery. She did recognize that God had judged her family and taken his glory away. Before dying, Phinehas’ wife was able to name the son she bore, and she called his name “Ichabod” meaning that the glory of the LORD was departed from Israel.