Now the ark of the LORD had been in the acountry of the Philistinessevenmonths.
And 1the Philistinescalled for the priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us bhow we shall send it to its place."
They said, "If you sendaway the ark of the God of Israel, 2do not send it empty; but you shall surely3return to Him a guiltoffering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you."
Then they said, "What shall be the guiltofferingwhich we shall return to Him?" And they said, "Fivegolden4tumors and fivegoldenmice5according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for oneplague was on all of cyou and on your lords.
"So you shall makelikenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and 6you shall giveglory to the God of Israel; perhaps7He will ease His hand from you, 8your gods, and your land.
6"Why then do you harden your hearts9as the Egyptians and Pharaohhardened their hearts? When He had severelydealt with them, 10did they not allow dthe people to go, and they departed?
7"Now therefore, take and 11prepare a newcart and twomilchcows on which there 12has neverbeen a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calveshome, away from them.
8"Take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart; and put13the articles of goldwhich you return to Him as 14a guiltoffering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go.
9"Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to 15Beth-shemesh, then He has done us thisgreatevil. But if not, then 16we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance."
Then the mendidso, and tooktwomilchcows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home.
They put the ark of the LORD on the cart, and the box with the goldenmice and the likenesses of their tumors.
And the cowstook the straightway in the edirection of 17Beth-shemesh; they went along 18the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turnaside to the right or to the left. And the lords of the Philistinesfollowed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.
Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheatharvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark and were glad to see it.
The cartcame into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stoodtherewherethere was a largestone; and they split the wood of the cart and 19offered the cows as a burntoffering to the LORD.
1520The Levitestookdown the ark of the LORD and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the largestone; and the men of Beth-shemeshofferedburntofferings and sacrificedsacrifices that day to the LORD.
When the 21fivelords of the Philistinessaw it, they returned to Ekron that day.
1722These are the goldentumorswhich the Philistinesreturned for a guiltoffering to the LORD: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron;
and the goldenmice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the fivelords, 23both of fortifiedcities and of countryvillages. 24The largefstone on which they set the ark of the LORD is a witness to thisday in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.
1925He struckdown some of the men of Beth-shemeshbecause they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struckdown of all the people, 50,070men, and the peoplemournedbecause the LORD had struck the people with a greatslaughter.
The men of Beth-shemeshsaid, "26Who is able to standbefore the LORD, thisholyGod? And to whom shall He go up from us?"
So they sentmessengers to the inhabitants of 27Kiriath-jearim, saying, "The Philistines have broughtback the ark of the LORD; comedown and take it up to you."