- Why do Bnei Yisrael lose this battle to the Plishtim? Abravanel raises five possibilities which we can divide into two categories. Perhaps they lost the battle due to previously sinful behavior. The people were involved in idol worship and the sons of Eli had violated basic moral and religious norms (see the second perek). Alternatively, their problem was in treating the aron as a magic talisman that would automatically guarantee victory. Can you cite support for one position based on the details mentioned in pasuk 4?
רד”ק שמואל א פרק ד פסוק ד ומפני זה אמר ושם שני בני עלי חפני ופינחס כי הם גרמו המכשלה
- When Eli hears about the death of his sons and the loss of the aron, which piece of news causes a dramatic reaction (pasuk 18)? Amnon Bazak explains that Eli cared more about the mishkan and bein adam la’makom than about the interpersonal. (http://vbm-torah.org/archive/shmuel/04shmuel.htm) Can you find confirmation of his position from something Eli tells his sons in the second chapter?