1 Samuel 6

1 Samuel 6 has the Philistines trying to figure out how to get rid of the ark of the covenant.  “The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months”.  That was seven months too long for the Philistines.  They go to the priests and diviners and awk what shall we do with the ark?  They want it out of their land but don’t know how to get rid of it.  They are directed to “make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land”.

It starts with creating some gold gifts they can send with the ark.  Then they are told to “take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them”.  They plan to load the ark on a cart and put it behind a couple of cows who will be yoked together looking for their calves which they were to take away so they would go looking.  They want those cows to keep on moving out of their land.

So they “take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way and watch”.  They had to send along the offering so they could appease God for what they had done.  They followed along and kept an eye on the cows to be sure they were leaving town.  “The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left”.  Their plan worked.  The ark was out of their land and someone elses problem.

“The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there”.  The problem was out of Philistine land and had stopped among the Israelites.  They were ecstatic to get it back and “they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord”.  It didn’t take long for the Levites to show up and collect the ark.  God still has rules about how the ark is handled and viewed, and 70 men were struck because they looked upon the ark directly.  But the ark is back and now it will be moved to its rightful place.

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