Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of I Samuel Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting I Samuel 4:1-11
Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and encamped beside Eben-ezer: and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. 4:2And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines; and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. 4:3And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath Jehovah smitten us to-day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of Shiloh unto us, that it may come among us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies. 4:4So the people sent to Shiloh; and they brought from thence the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of hosts, who sitteth above the cherubim: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
4:5And when the ark of the covenant of Jehovah came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. 4:6And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of Jehovah was come into the camp. 4:7And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. 4:8Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? these are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness. 4:9Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
4:10And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man to his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. 4:11And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
Metaphysically Interpreting I Samuel 4:12-22
4:12And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. 4:13And when he came, lo, Eli was sitting upon his seat by the wayside watching; for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. 4:14And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man hasted, and came and told Eli. 4:15Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were set, so that he could not see. 4:16And 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, How went the matter, my son? 4:17And he that brought the tidings answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. 4:18And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli feel from off his seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
4:19And his daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and brought forth; for her pains came upon her. 4:20And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast brought forth a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. 4:21And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel; because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 4:22And she said, The glory is departed from Israel; for the ark of God is taken.
May 9, 1920: I Samuel 4:5-18
In the soul consciousness, what is the ark of the covenant? The ark of the covenant is the depository of the Divine Law. It is that which holds the secret of secrets, the agreement of man's soul with the Law and the manner in which all seeming miracles are brought forth.
Who were the Philistines (meaning sensualism) so greatly concerned when they learned that the ark of the covenant was in the hands of the Israelites? The Israelites are our real spiritual thoughts. When the Word of God comes in contact with real spiritual ideas out of what is apparently deadness and inactivity come forth forms of life arid beauty. Sensualism cannot live, only to serve, in the presence of this higher order of unfoldment, the final outcome being that the lower is lifted up and merged with the higher, until God manifest and unmanifest is all there is. Hence, the one way by which the Philistines could prolong their identity, was to rescue the ark from the hands of the Israelites.
Why was it possible for the Philistines to accomplish their work at this time? Because Eli, the high priest, had not lived up to the Divine Standard, and through his sons (thoughts) had let error come into this high state of consciousness.
Give the meaning of the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas. The meaning of Hophni is “fighter,” and the meaning of Phinehas is “brazen mouth.” It is the meek and lowly spirit that thrives best in the field of spiritual unfoldment. One may become proud of his strength and sureness in handling the Divine Law, and may become more or less combative and bold in speech, and thus open the way for his own spiritual downfall.
What is the central idea in this Scripture? Man's opinion has no power. It is God's view of our acts that counts. Therefore, work not for the approval of man, but work for the approval of God.
August 28, 1938: I Samuel 4:12-18
Why was Eli, a man of experience in reading character and seeing effect in cause, blind to the consequences of his sons' disobedience? When the intellect (Eli) dominates man, it closes his mind to spiritual perception. “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”
What do Hophni and Phinehas represent? Hophni (strong) and Phinehas (oracle) represent the natural product of one's desire to grow spiritually, in other words, spiritual strength and power. Lacking discipline and intelligent direction, these powers may turn toward material expression, in which case the spiritual forces become disorganized, and disaster follows.
How does spiritual discernment begin in man? With the consciousness that one is in contact with God in the inner temple of the mind as well as in the outer court of the temple of the body.
August 13, 1944: I Samuel 4:12-18
What does the “ark of God” represent? The name means “a holy abode,” “a sanctuary,” and represents the original spark of divinity in our being. Since our immortality depends upon the developing of this spark, it is a sacred, holy thing. Nevertheless it is sometimes neglected and the life given over to error (“the ark of God is taken”).
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-31-2014