Note: this passage is particularly notable for the way in which priority is given to the loss of the ark of God. It was news of that rather than the death of Eli’s sons that caused Eli to fall and break his neck. Also, with regard to Phinehas’s wife, the news of the loss of the ark comes before the death of Eli and Phinehas, and when she names the child it is because of the ark rather than her bereavement – when the reason is repeated in v22 only the loss of the ark is mentioned.
A. 4:12 And 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.
B. 13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a 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. 14 And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
C. 15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
A’. 16 And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army.
B’. And he said, What is there done, my son? . 17 And the messenger 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.
C’. 18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the 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.
2A. 19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered:
i. and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken,
ii. and that her father in law and her husband were dead,
2B. she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son.
2B’. But she answered not, neither did she regard it.
2A’. a. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel:
i. because the ark of God was taken,
ii. and because of her father in law and her husband.
a’. 22 And she said, The glory is departed from Israel:
i’. for the ark of God is taken.