And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh,
&c.] Though they had none to drive, lead, or guide them, yet they steered their course to the road that led to Bethshemesh, though there were other ways they might have taken; which shows they were under the direction of God himself:
and went along the highway;
or, "in one highway", or "post" F20; though they had never been used to a yoke, they drew together in one path; and did not draw one way, and another another, as oxen unaccustomed to a yoke do:
as they went; on account of their calves, which showed their sense of them, and their natural affection for them; and yet went on, did not attempt to go back to them; by which it was plain they were under a supernatural influence:
and turned not aside to the right or to the left;
when other ways presented, on the right hand or on the left; they kept going straight on in the road that led to the place they were destined for; all which can be reckoned nothing less than a miracle:
and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of
not before them to guide them, or on the side of the ark to take care of it, but behind: and not at all out of respect and reverence to it, but to see what would be the issue of things, whether it would turn out an imposture or not; and that they might be able to make a true judgment of what had befallen them, as their priests and diviners had directed them to; they followed it until it was out of their territories, and in the hands of the Israelites. This place Bethshemesh is thought by some, as R. Isaiah observes, to be the same with Timnathheres, where Joshua was buried, in ( Judges 2:9 ) , which signifies the figure of the sun, as this does the house of the sun; and where, perhaps, when inhabited by the Canaanites, was a temple of the sun; and it was, according to Bunting F21, twelve miles from Ekron, from whence the ark came; and so far it was followed by the Philistines. This was a city given to the Levites, and so a proper place for the ark to come to be taken care of; hence mention is made of Levites that took it down from the cart, ( 1 Samuel 6:15 ) , (See Gill on Joshua 21:16).
F20 (txa hlomb) "in via elata una", Montanus; "eadem semita", Tigurine version; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F21 Travels of the Patriarchs p. 123.