The Return of the Ark
1When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory for seven months,
3They replied, “If you send the ark of Israel’s God away, do not send it without an offering.6:3 Dt 16:16 Send back a guilt offering to him,6:3 Lv 5:15–16 and you will be healed. Then the reason his hand hasn’t been removed from you will be revealed.”6:3 DSS, LXX read healed, and an atonement shall be made for you. Shouldn’t his hand be removed from you?”
4They asked, “What guilt offering should we send back to him?”
And they answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice6:4 1Sm 5:6,9,12; 6:17 corresponding to the number of Philistine rulers,6:4 Jos 13:3; Jdg 3:3; 1Sm 6:17–18 since there was one plague for both you6:4 Some Hb mss, LXX; other Hb mss read them and your rulers.
5Make images of your tumors and of your mice that are destroying the land. Give glory to Israel’s God,6:5 Jos 7:19; Is 42:2 and perhaps he will stop oppressing you,6:5 Lit will lighten the heaviness of his hand from you6:5 1Sm 5:6,11 your gods, and your land.6:5 1Sm 5:3–4,7
7“Now then, prepare one new cart and two milk cows that have never been yoked.6:7 Nm 19:2 Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.
8Take the ark of the Lord, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects that you’re sending him as a guilt offering in a box6:8 1Sm 6:4–5 beside the ark.6:8 1Sm 6:3 Send it off and let it go its way.
10The men did this: They took two milk cows, hitched them to the cart, and confined their calves in the pen.
11Then they put the ark of the Lord on the cart, along with the box containing the gold mice and the images of their tumors.
13The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they were overjoyed to see it.
14The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there near a large rock. The people of the city chopped up the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.6:14 1Kg 19:21
15The Levites6:15 Nm 4:1–33 removed the ark of the Lord, along with the box containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock. That day the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord.
17As a guilt offering to the Lord, the Philistines had sent back one gold tumor for each city:6:17 1Sm 6:4 Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron.
18The number of gold mice also corresponded to the number of Philistine cities of the five rulers, the fortified cities and the outlying villages.6:18 Dt 3:5 The large rock6:18 Some Hb mss, LXX, Tg; other Hb mss read meadow6:18 1Sm 6:14–15 on which the ark of the Lord was placed is still in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh today.
19God struck down the people of Beth-shemesh because they looked inside the ark of the Lord.6:19 LXX reads But the sons of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the men of Beth-shemesh when they saw the ark of the Lord.6:19 Nm 4:15–20; 2Sm 6:7 He struck down seventy persons.6:19 Some Hb mss, Josephus; other Hb mss read 70 men, 50,000 men The people mourned because the Lord struck them with a great slaughter.
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