1 Samuel 6:4

4 And they said, "What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?" They answered, "Five gold tumors and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords.

1 Samuel 6:4 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 6:4

Then said they, what shall be the trespass offering which we
shall return to him?
&c.] They paid a great deference to their priests and diviners, and were willing to be directed in all things by them; being ignorant of what was most proper in this case, and might be acceptable to the God of Israel:

they answered, five golden emerods, and five golden mice;
images of these made of gold, as appears from the next verse; the reason of the former is easy, from the above account of the disease they were afflicted with; but of the latter no hint is given before: indeed in the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions of ( 1 Samuel 5:6 ) is inserted a clause, that

``mice sprung up in the midst of their country;''

which is not in the Hebrew text, nor in the Chaldee paraphrase; yet appears to be a fact from the following verse, that at the same time their bodies were smitten with emerods, their fields were overrun with mice, which destroyed the increase of them; wherefore five golden mice were also ordered as a part of the trespass offering, and five of each were pitched upon:

according to the number of the lords of the Philistines;
who were five, and so the principalities under them; see ( Joshua 13:3 )

for one plague was on you all, and on your lords;
the lords and common people were equally smitten with the emerods, and the several principalities were alike distressed and destroyed with the mice; and therefore the trespass offering, which was a vicarious one for them, was to be according to the number of their princes and their principalities; five emerods for the five princes and their people smitten with emerods, and five mice on account of the five cities and fields adjacent being marred by mice.

1 Samuel 6:4 In-Context

2 Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, "What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us what we should send with it to its place."
3 They said, "If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed; will not his hand then turn from you?"
4 And they said, "What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?" They answered, "Five gold tumors and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords.
5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land.
6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?