Once upon at time, Israel and Philistinia were engaged in a battle in their never-ending conflict over the control of the region. The Philistines were wining the skirmish, so the Hebrews decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefront to hearten everyone and have God there to fight with them. So they sent a message to Shiloh for Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas to bring it down.
When the Ark arrived, all Israel shouted and rejoiced. This freaked the Philistines out, and they became dismayed because now the Hebrews had this God of the legendary smiting there to fight for them. Nevertheless, the Philistines fought bravely, killed 30,000 Hebrews (including Hophni and Phinehas) and captured the Ark.
Eli happened to be sitting by the side of the road, anxiously waiting for the Ark to be returned when a Benjaminite, who escaped the carnage, ran up to report the defeat. He puffed out that the Ark was captured and Hophni and Phinehas were dead! And Eli keeled over from the shock and broke his neck and died.
Then when Phinehas’s wife heard the news that her husband, his brother and his father were all dead, the shock and stress threw her into premature labor. She named the child Ichabod and then she died.