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6 And the ark+ of Jehovah proved to be in the field of the Phi·lis′tines seven months.* 2 And the Phi·lis′tines proceeded to call the priests and the diviners,+ saying: “What shall we do with the ark of Jehovah? Let us know with what we should send it away to its place.” 3 To this they said: “If YOU are sending the ark of the God of Israel away, do not send it away without an offering, for YOU should by all means return to him a guilt offering.+ Then it is that YOU will be healed, and it must become known to YOU why his hand would not turn away from YOU.” 4 At this they said: “What is the guilt offering that we ought to return to him?” Then they said: “According to the number of the axis lords+ of the Phi·lis′tines, five golden piles and five golden jerboas,* for every one of YOU* and YOUR axis lords have the same scourge.* 5 And YOU must make images of YOUR piles and images of YOUR jerboas+ that are bringing the land to ruin, and YOU must give glory+ to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off YOU and YOUR god and YOUR land.+ 6 Also, why should YOU make YOUR heart unresponsive just the way Egypt and Phar′aoh made their heart unresponsive?+ Was it not as soon as He dealt severely with them+ that they proceeded to send them away, and they went their way?+ 7 And now take and make a new wagon,+ and two cows that are giving suck, upon which no yoke+ has come up, and YOU must hitch the cows to the wagon, and YOU must make their young ones* go back home from following them. 8 And YOU must take the ark of Jehovah and place it on the wagon, and the golden articles+ that YOU must return to him as a guilt+ offering YOU should put into a box at the side of it. And YOU must send it away, and it must go. 9 And YOU must look: if it is the road to its territory that it goes up, to Beth-she′mesh,+ it is he that has done to us this great evil; but if not, we must know that it was not his hand that touched us; an accident+ it was that happened to us.” 10 And the men proceeded to do accordingly. So they took two cows that were giving suck and hitched them to the wagon, and their young ones they shut up at home. 11 Then they put the ark of Jehovah upon the wagon,+ and also the box and the golden jerboas and the images of their piles.* 12 And the cows began to go straight ahead* on the road to Beth-she′mesh.+ On the one highway they went, lowing as they went,* and they did not turn aside to the right or to the left. All the while the axis lords+ of the Phi·lis′tines were walking after them as far as the boundary of Beth-she′mesh. 13 And people of Beth-she′mesh were reaping the wheat harvest+ in the low plain. When they raised their eyes and saw the Ark, they gave way to rejoicing at seeing it. 14 And the wagon itself came into the field of Joshua the Beth-she′mite and kept standing there, where there was a large stone. And they went splitting up the wood of the wagon, and the cows+ they offered up as a burnt offering to Jehovah.+ 15 And the Levites+ themselves took the ark of Jehovah down and the box that was with it, in which the golden articles were, and they proceeded to put it upon the large stone. And the men of Beth-she′mesh,+ for their part, offered up burnt offerings, and they continued rendering up sacrifices on that day to Jehovah. 16 And the five axis+ lords of the Phi·lis′tines themselves saw it and went their way back to Ek′ron on that day. 17 Now these are the golden piles that the Phi·lis′tines returned as a guilt offering to Jehovah:+ for Ash′dod+ one, for Ga′za+ one, for Ash′ke·lon+ one, for Gath+ one, for Ek′ron+ one. 18 And the golden jerboas were to the number of all the cities of the Phi·lis′tines belonging to the five axis lords, from the fortified city to the village of the open country. And the great stone* upon which they rested the ark of Jehovah is a witness* down to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-she′mite. 19 And he went striking down the men of Beth-she′mesh,*+ because they had looked upon the ark of Jehovah. So he struck down among the people seventy men—fifty thousand men*—and the people began mourning because Jehovah had struck down the people with a great slaughter.+ 20 Further, the men of Beth-she′mesh said: “Who will be able to stand before Jehovah this holy God,+ and to whom will he withdraw from off us?”+ 21 Finally they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kir′i·ath-je′a·rim,+ saying: “The Phi·lis′tines have returned the ark of Jehovah. Come down. Take it up to yourselves.”+
^ LXX adds: “and their land broke out with mice.”
^ “Jerboas.” Mouselike rodents with long hind legs for jumping.
^ “Every one of you,” T and eight Heb. mss; LXXSy, “you.”
^ Lit., “have one scourge.”
^ Lit., “their sons.”
^ “Piles,” 18 Heb. mss, to agree with vs 5; M, “tumors.”
^ Lit., “began to be straight.”
^ “Lowing as they went.” In Heb. these are two verbs in the infinitive absolute, indefinite as to time and impersonal.
^ “The great stone,” TLXX and three Heb. mss; SyVg, “Abel the Great,” to agree with M, which has ʼA·vel′, “Abel,” instead of ʼe′ven, “stone.”
^ “A witness,” or, “still (yet),” by different vowel pointings; M, “as far as.”
^ “And he went striking down the men of Beth-shemesh,” M(Sy)Vg; LXX, “And the sons of Jechoniah were not pleased with the men of Beth-shemesh,” or, “And among the men of Beth-shemesh the sons of Jechoniah did not receive [it] gladly.”
^ “Seventy men—fifty thousand men.” In M “fifty thousand men” is not connected with “seventy men” by the conjunction waw, “and,” as is the case with numbers elsewhere, as in Nu 1:21-46. This might suggest that “fifty thousand men” is an interpolation. Sy, “And Jehovah struck down among the people five thousand and seventy men”; the Arabic agrees. TJ, “And he struck down seventy men among the older men of the people, and fifty thousand among the congregation”; LXX, “And he struck down seventy men among them, and fifty thousand of the men”; Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, Book VI, chapter 1, ¶4) mentions only 70 men as killed and omits any reference to 50,000.