Now the armies of Israel went out, and fought against the Philistines at a place called Ebenezer; and the men of Israel were beaten by the Philistines. Then they sent to Shiloh for the ark of God, and Hophni and Phinehas brought it down to the camp.

The Lord was greatly displeased to have his sacred ark, containing his holy commandments, treated in this way; so when the Israelites went out to battle, they were again beaten, and thirty thousand of them were slain. Hophni and Phinehas were also killed, and the ark of God was taken by the Philistines.

Now Eli was ninety-eight years old; and when he heard what had been done, and how the ark of God had been taken by the enemies of Israel, he fell backward from his seat, broke his neck, and died.

The Philistines took the ark of God to Ashdod, and put it into the house of Dagon their god. The next morning, when they looked in, they found that Dagon had fallen upon his face before the ark of the Lord. Then they raised up Dagon, and put him in his place; but on the morning after, they found him fallen again, and this time, his head and both his hands were broken off.

The Lord troubled the men of Ashdod with painful diseases, so that they cried out saying they could not have the ark of God there. So it was carried about from place to place, but everywhere it went the people were afflicted, and many of them died.

After keeping the ark seven months, the Philistines were glad to send it back to the children of Israel. So they put it on a cart drawn by two cows, and let the cows go where they would. Now the cows had young calves at home; but they went right off away from them, and took the ark to Beth-shemesh. The men of Beth-shemesh were astonished, and a multitude of people came from the country round about to see the ark. Finally they were so curious that they opened the ark, and looked into it; and for this, fifty thousand were smitten of God. 

After this, the ark was taken to Kirjath-jearim, and kept in the house of Abinadab twenty years.