New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:1 beside Eben-ezer. This account was evidently written later, after Israel’s victory over the Philistines. See I Samuel 7:12, with footnote.
4:8 all the plagues. Some four centuries after the event, the Philistines were still aware of the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. See also I Samuel 6:6.
4:18 judged Israel forty years. Eli is usually not included among the judges because he was primarily the chief priest at the time. However, he apparently served as judge as well, at least of that part of Israel.
4:21 glory is departed. The presence of the Lord, the shekinah glory, dwelled in the tabernacle, over the ark “between the cherubims” (I Samuel 4:4), and neither the ark nor the tabernacle were ever to be moved unless the glory cloud itself, representing the Lord’s presence, moved first. The presumptuous act of the elders, with Hophni and Phinehas, in taking the ark out of the tabernacle into the army camp resulted in the tragic loss of the “glory” itself, along with the divine presence.
4:22 departed from Israel. This possibly refers specifically to the shekinah glory cloud (Exodus 13:21), which had evidently been permanently residing in the “temple” at Shiloh until this time. It is also significant that Shiloh itself is never mentioned as the center of Israel’s worship after this. Archaeological and Biblical evidence indicates that the city was eventually destroyed. Note Jeremiah 7:14; 26:6,9.