Tag Archives: I Samuel 6

Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (6:13-21) Irreverence and Judgment!

The ark of God had been captured by the dreaded Philistines, but God has brought disaster upon them. For seven months they have endured God’s wrath of tumors and great panic (5:9). So they decide to send it back to Israel.

The people of Beth Shemesh, seeing the ark, rejoice! The cows are sacrificed as a burnt offering to the Lord and the Levites take down the ark (as well as the chest of gold objects). The five Philistine rulers watch this event.

However, not all is rejoicing. Seventy citizens of Beth Shemesh are struck dead because they looked into the ark (v. 19). This “heavy blow” that the Lord had “dealt” them caused them to ask, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?” (v. 20). They then invite the people of Kiriath Jearim to come take the ark to their town!

If I had been a citizen of Kiriath Jearim, I would have rejoiced that we get to go and bring the ark of the covenant back to our town! I wonder if the people of Beth Shemesh told the people of Kiriath Jearim about the Seventy?

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Posted by on November 14, 2018 in I Samuel 6


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (6:1-12) History and Sovereignty!

The Philistines make plans to send the ark back to the Israelites. The priests and the diviners advise sending it back with a guilt offering of five gold tumors and five gold rats! These were to be modeled after the tumors and the rats “that [were] destroying the country.” They add — “and give glory to Israel’s god” (v. 5).

Hoping that God would lift his hand from them, they challenge them not to “harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did” (v. 6). And they know their history — “When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go their way?” (v. 6)

They give instructions for a new cart with two cows that have never been yoked. “Watch the cart! If it goes up to its own territory, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance” (v. 9).

They followed their religious leaders’ instructions — and the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, not turning to the right or to the left.

What can be learned from this event?  Certainly, that the God of Israel is sovereign.  He is also a God of history.  His actions on behalf of His chosen people were well-known by the Philistines.  He is also in control of the animal world.  The cows did not hesitate in their “mission” to return the ark to Israel, despite their natural inclinations.  And sometimes the Lord condescends to our “tests” to prove that He is the Lord (v. 9).   Our story continues tomorrow.

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Posted by on November 13, 2018 in I Samuel 6


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