And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines
] Or "in the field" F3 of the Philistines; hence Procopius Gazaeus observes, that none of the cities daring to receive the ark, they left it without under the open air, so thinking they should be delivered from their calamity. But the word is often used for country, and is generally so understood here; the Targum is,
``in the cities of the Philistines;''in one or other of them, first for a while in Ashdod, and then for some time in Gath, and last in Ekron, and in all seven months from the time of its being taken; and it being in wheat harvest when it was returned, ( 1 Samuel 6:13 ) , these seven months will carry us back to the beginning of winter, or towards the end of autumn, when the battles between Israel and the Philistines were fought, and the ark was taken. Josephus F4 says it was with the Philistines four months only, contrary to the text.