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CHAPTER 6 Jun. 26 
The Philistines Return the Ark to Israel
The ark of Yahweh was in the country of the Philistines for seven months. 2The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, asking, What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Show us how we should send it back to its place. 3They said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it empty; by all means return Him a trespass offering, then you will be healed and you will know why His hand has not been removed from you. 4Then they said, What should the trespass offering be, which we should send to Him? They said, Five golden tumours and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague struck you all and your lords. 5Therefore you must make images of your tumours and your mice that are destroying the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lift His hand from you, your gods and your land. 6Why do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had done wonders among them, didn’t they send the people away and they departed? 7Now therefore prepare a new cart, and get two milk cows which have never been yoked; tie the cows to the cart and bring their calves home from them. 8Put the ark of Yahweh on the cart and put the jewels of gold, which you are sending Him for a trespass offering, in a chest beside it- and send it away. 9If it goes up to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil; but if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that struck us; it was a chance that happened to us. 10The men did so, and took two milk cows, tied them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11They put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the chest with the mice of gold and the images of their tumours.

The Ark Arrives at Beth-Shemesh
12The cows went straight towards Beth Shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh. 13The people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stood there beside a great stone. The people split the wood of the cart and offered up the cows for a burnt offering to Yahweh. 15The Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the chest with the jewels of gold and put them on the great stone, and the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices to Yahweh that day. 16When the five lords of the Philistines had seen this. they returned to Ekron the same day. 17These are the golden tumours which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath and one for Ekron. 18The number of golden mice was according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, fortified cities and country villages. The great stone on which they put the ark of Yahweh remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh. 19But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh. He killed seventy of the men, and the people mourned, because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20The men of Beth Shemesh said, Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? To whom shall He go from us? 21They sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath Jearim saying, The Philistines have brought back the ark of Yahweh; come down and take it up to your place. 


6:9 He has done us this great evil- God is repeatedly described as the source of both good and “evil” in the sense of disaster; God is all powerful, and it isn’t the case that all good comes from Him and all “evil” from some supposed ‘Satan’ figure. God creates both good and “evil” (Is. 45:5-7).
6:19 The men of Beth-Shemesh were smitten because they looked into the ark, probably because they wanted to find more jewels which the Philistines might have placed there (:15). In the face and presence of the things of the supreme glory of Yahweh of Israel, they scavenged around in a spirit of petty materialism- just as men gambled for the clothes of Jesus at the foot of His cross; they trampled upon the supreme holiness of God in their crazed fascination with wealth. And people are doing this all around us.