1 Samuel 6

The Ark Returned to Israel

1The ark of the  Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2And the Philistines called for the priests and athe diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the  Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” 3They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him ba guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why chis hand does not turn away from you.” 4And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden dtumors and five golden mice, eaccording to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5So you must make images of your ftumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, gand give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps hhe will lighten his hand from off you iand your gods and your land. 6Why should you harden your hearts as jthe Egyptians and kPharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, ldid they not send the people away, and they departed? 7Now then, take and prepare ma new cart and two milk cows non which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8And take the ark of the  Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side othe figures of gold, which you are returning to him as pa guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way 9and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to qBeth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not rhis hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

10The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11And they put the ark of the  Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12And the cows went straight in the direction of sBeth-shemesh along tone highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of uBeth-shemesh. 13Now the people of vBeth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. wA great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the  Lord. 15And the Levites took down the ark of the  Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon xthe great stone. And the men of yBeth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the  Lord. 16And when zthe five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a aaguilt offering to the  Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, abboth fortified cities and unwalled villages. acThe great stone beside which they set down the ark of the  Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

19 adAnd he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the  Lord. He struck seventy men of them
Most Hebrew manuscripts  struck of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men
and the people mourned because the  Lord had struck the people with a great blow.
20Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, afWho is able to stand before the  Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of agKiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the  Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

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