6:1 And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines a seven months.
(a) They thought by continuance of time the plague would have ceased, and so would have kept the ark still. 6:3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him b a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
(b) The idolaters confess there is a true God, who punishes sin justly. 6:5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your c gods, and from off your land.
(c) This is Gods judgment on the idolaters, that knowing the true God, they do not worship him correctly. 6:8 And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the d jewels of gold, which ye return him [for] a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.
(d) Meaning, the golden emerods and the golden mice. 6:9 And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, [then] e he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that [it is] not his hand [that] smote us: it [was] a f chance [that] happened to us.
(e) The God of Israel. 6:12 And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, [and] went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside [to] the right hand or [to] the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after g them unto the border of Bethshemesh.
(f) The wicked attribute almost all things to fortune and chance, whereas indeed there is nothing done without Gods providence and decree.
(g) For the trial of the matter. 6:14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where [there was] a great stone: and h they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.
(h) That is, the men of Bethshemesh, who were Israelites. 6:17 And these [are] the golden emerods which the Philistines returned [for] a trespass offering unto the LORD; for i Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
(i) These were the five principal cities of the Philistines, which were not all conquered to the time of David. 6:19 And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they k had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter.
(k) For it was not lawful for anyone either to touch or to see it, only to Aaron and his sons ( Numbers 4:15 Numbers 4:20 ).