|1 Samuel 6 |
1 The ark of the LORD had been in the country of the Philistines for seven months.
2 The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we should return it to his place."
3 And they said, "If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but for certain you must return him a trespass offering. Then you shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand has not been removed from you."
4 Then they asked, "What trespass offering shall return to him?" They answered, "Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines for one plague of tumors was on you all, and on your lords.
5 Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice1 that mar the land; and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
6 Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had created miracles among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
7 Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milk cows, on which there has never been a yoke, and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them.
8 And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold in a chest by its side, which you give to him for a trespass offering; and send it away, that it may be gone.
9 And see if it goes up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, for then the God of Israel has done this great evil to us; but if it goes a different way, then we will know that it was not their god's hand that struck us; it was only by chance that this has happened to us."
10 And the men did so; and took two milk cows, tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home.
11 And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the chest with the mice of gold and the images of their tumors.
12 And the cows took the straight way to Bethshemesh, going along the highway, lowing as they went, and not turning aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Bethshemesh.
13 The people of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes, saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone; and they chopped up the wood of the cart [to burn], and offered the cows as burnt offering to the LORD.
15 And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD with the chest of jewels of gold that was with it and put them on a great stone; and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day to the LORD.
16 When the five lords of the Philistines had seen it depart, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17 And these are the golden tumors, which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to the LORD: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Askelon, one for Gath, and one for Ekron.
18 The golden mice were according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both the walled cities, and the country villages; they returned the ark of the LORD to set it down on the great stone of Abel, which stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.
19 God killed the men of Bethshemesh because they had looked into the ark of the LORD; he killed fifty thousand and seventy men of the people; and the people lamented because the LORD had killed so many of the people with such a great slaughter.
20 The men of Bethshemesh said, "Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? And with whom shall he go up from us?"
21 They sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, "The Philistines have returned the ark of the LORD; come down, and take it back with you."
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1 tumors and mice indicate the bubonic plague, or black death, transmitted by fleas on rats and mice.
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