They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the
Philistines unto them
The other four lords, for there were five with this; see ( Joshua 13:3 ) ,
and said, what shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?
they no doubt told them what they and their idol had suffered on account of it, and the resolution they were come to that it should be no longer with them; and therefore desire to know what must be done with it, whether they should return it to the people of Israel, or dispose of it somewhere else; it is probable some might be for the former, but the greater part were not, and were for keeping it in their possession somewhere or another:
and they answered, let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about
which was another of the five principalities of the Philistines, and not far from Ashdod; according to Jerom F24, it is included in the remnant of Ashdod, ( Jeremiah 25:20 ) and according to Bunting
F25 but four miles from it. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions make this to be the answer of the men of Gath, the one reading it,
``and they of Gath said, let the ark of God come to us;''and the other,
``they of Gath answered, let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about;''for they suspected, as Procopius Gazaeus observes, that the destruction did not come from God, but was a disease arising from some pestilential cause. They perhaps imagined it was in the air in and about Ashdod, or that though the situation of the ark was not liked, in another place it might be otherwise, and more agreeable:
and they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither;
they seem not to carry it directly to the place, but carried it in a round about way, as if they had a mind to give it an airing, before they fixed it any where.