When the ark of the LORD had been in Philistine territory seven months,
the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners1 and said, "What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we should send it back to its place."
They answered, "If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it away empty,2 but by all means send a guilt offering3 to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand4 has not been lifted from you."
The Philistines asked, "What guilt offering should we send to him?" They replied, "Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number5 of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague6 has struck both you and your rulers.
Make models of the tumors7 and of the rats that are destroying the country, and pay honor8 to Israel's god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.
Why do you harden9 your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When hea treated them harshly,10 did they11 not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?
"Now then, get a new cart12 ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked.13 Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.
Take the ark of the LORD and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way,
but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh,14 then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance."