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1 Sam 4:18-21 BSB: As soon as the ark of God was mentioned, Eli fell backward from his chair by the city gate, and being old and heavy, he broke his neck and died. And Eli had judged Israel forty years.

19 Now Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and about to give birth. When she heard the news of the capture of God’s ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, she collapsed and gave birth, for her labor pains overtook her.

20 As she was dying, the women attending to her said, “Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son!”

But she did not respond or pay any heed. 21 And she named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God had been captured and her father-in-law and her husband had been killed.

Why does the Berean Study Bible translation of 1 Samuel 4:21 say Eli was "killed" instead of that he died (in an accident)? Does the Hebrew support this translation?

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1 Samuel 4:12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.

14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?”

The man hurried over to Eli, 15who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see. 16He told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.”

Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”

17The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”

18When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led b Israel forty years.

Eli wasn't killed by someone.

Literal Standard Version 1 Samuel 4:21

and she calls the youth Ichabod, saying, “Glory has removed from Israel,” because of the taking of the Ark of God, and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

The original Hebrew does not contain the word "killed" or even "dead".

her father-in-law
חָמִ֖יהָ (ḥā·mî·hā)
Noun - masculine singular construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2524: Husband's father

and her husband וְאִישָֽׁהּ׃ (wə·’î·šāh)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 376: A man as an individual, a male person

Was Eli killed?

No. The OP's version over-translated the Hebrew original in this verse. As pointed out by GratefulDisciple's comment, the Berean Study Bible is the only one out of 43 English translations to translate the verse that way.

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The "problem" here is the translation of the last part of 1 Sam 4:21. The immediate context present two pertinent facts:

  • Hophni & Phinehas were killed in battle
  • Eli died by misadventure when he fell from his seat and broke his neck

The last part of 1 Sam 4:21 literally says (my translation):

... because the Ark of God had been capture and because of her father in law and her husband

Many versions translate the verse as above such as: ESV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, ASV, ERV, JPS, LSV, etc.

However, many versions include the explanation as per above to include what happened to the father in law and her husband:

  • NIV: because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.
  • NLT: because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead.
  • BSB: because the ark of God had been captured and her father-in-law and her husband had been killed.
  • Amplified Bible: because the ark of God had been taken and because of [the deaths of] her father-in-law and her husband.
  • CSB: the capture of the ark of God and to the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.
  • HCSB: the capture of the ark of God and to the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.
  • God's Word: because the ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and her husband [died].
  • ISV: because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead.
  • NET: to the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.

... and so forth. Note that the highlighted text has been added by the translators in each case.

The BSB is not entirely wrong - Phenehas had been killed in battle but the phrasing is unfortunate because of the use of (in English) the "and" is could suggest that Eli had been killed as well; however, the other "and further back" technically breaks that grammatical connection.

Despite all this, it might be better, in this case" to have translated literally and left any reference to dying out of the translation of V21.

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