וַיְהִי אֲרוֹן־יְהוָה בִּשְׂדֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים שִׁבְעָה חֳדָשִׁים׃ 6:1
1Sam. 6:1 And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
וַיִּקְרְאוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים לַכֹּהֲנִים וְלַקֹּסְמִים לֵאמֹר מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲרוֹן יְהוָה הוֹדִעֻנוּ בַּמֶּה נְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ לִמְקוֹמוֹ׃ 6:2
1Sam. 6:2 And the Philistines called for the priests and for the diviners saying, “What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? Instruct us in how we may send it to its place.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִם־מְשַׁלְּחִים אֶת־אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אַל־תְּשַׁלְּחוּ אֹתוֹ רֵיקָם כִּי־הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיבוּ לוֹ אָשָׁם 6:3
אָז תֵּרָפְאוּ וְנוֹדַע לָכֶם לָמָּה לֹא־תָסוּר יָדוֹ מִכֶּם׃
1Sam. 6:3 And they said, “If you are to send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it away empty, for certainly you must return a guilt offering to Him. Then you shall be healed, and it shall be made known to you why His hand is not removed from you.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ מָה הָאָשָׁם אֲשֶׁר נָשִׁיב לוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ מִסְפַּר סַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים חֲמִשָּׁה עָפְלֵי זָהָב וַחֲמִשָּׁה 6:4
עַכְבְּרֵי זָהָב כִּי־מַגֵּפָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּם וּלְסַרְנֵיכֶם׃
1Sam. 6:4 So they said, “What shall the guilt offering be that we shall return to Him?” And they said, “It shall be of the number of lords of the Philistines, five emerods of gold and five mice of gold, for one plague was for all of you and for your lords.”
The wording of this verse may imply that mice were somehow implicated or involved in the plague that befell the Philistines, but I don’t think that likely. I suspect it may be that the mice were considered sacred to the Philistines. Anthropologists and archeologists seem to believe that mice or rats were sacred to the Egyptians at least. In accord with the next verse, another possibility is that there was an invasion of mice around the time that the plague started. So the Philistines may have assumed there were two consequences of their taking the ark.
וַעֲשִׂיתֶם צַלְמֵי עָפְלֵיכֶם וְצַלְמֵי עַכְבְּרֵיכֶם הַמַּשְׁחִיתִם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וּנְתַתֶּם לֵאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּבוֹד אוּלַי 6:5
יָקֵל אֶת־יָדוֹ מֵעֲלֵיכֶם וּמֵעַל אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּמֵעַל אַרְצְכֶם׃
1Sam. 6:5 “So you shall make images of your emerods and images of your mice that are marring the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from off of you and from off your gods and from off your land.”
How does one make an image of a hemorrhoid, in gold no less? Wouldn’t it have to include the anus? How else could it be distinguished as an emerod?
וְלָמָּה תְכַבְּדוּ אֶת־לְבַבְכֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּבְּדוּ מִצְרַיִם וּפַרְעֹה אֶת־לִבָּם הֲלוֹא כַּאֲשֶׁר הִתְעַלֵּל בָּהֶם 6:6
1Sam. 6:6 “Yet why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharoah hardened their hearts? Was it not as He wrought on them that they sent them away and they went?”
וְעַתָּה קְחוּ וַעֲשׂוּ עֲגָלָה חֲדָשָׁה אֶחָת וּשְׁתֵּי פָרוֹת עָלוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָלָה עֲלֵיהֶם עֹל וַאֲסַרְתֶּם אֶת־ 6:7
הַפָּרוֹת בָּעֲגָלָה וַהֲשֵׁיבֹתֶם בְּנֵיהֶם מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם הַבָּיְתָה׃
1Sam. 6:7 “So now take and prepare one new wagon and two suckling cows on which a yoke has not been raised, and hitch the cows to the wagon, and you shall bring their calves home away from them.” [Return to 1Sam. 7:9]
וּלְקַחְתֶּם אֶת־אֲרוֹן יְהוָה וּנְתַתֶּם אֹתוֹ אֶל־הָעֲגָלָה וְאֵת כְּלֵי הַזָּהָב אֲשֶׁר הֲשֵׁבֹתֶם לוֹ אָשָׁם תָּשִׂימוּ 6:8
בָאַרְגַּז מִצִּדּוֹ וְשִׁלַּחְתֶּם אֹתוֹ וְהָלָךְ׃
1Sam. 6:8 “And you will take the ark of the Lord and bring it to the wagon, and you will put in a coffer by its side the jewels of gold which you will have returned to Him as a guilt offering, and send it away that it may leave.”
וּרְאִיתֶם אִם־דֶּרֶךְ גְּבוּלוֹ יַעֲלֶה בֵּית שֶׁמֶשׁ הוּא עָשָׂה לָנוּ אֶת־הָרָעָה הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת וְאִם־לֹא 6:9
וְיָדַעְנוּ כִּי לֹא יָדוֹ נָגְעָה בָּנוּ מִקְרֶה הוּא הָיָה לָנוּ׃
1Sam. 6:9 “And you will see, if the limit of its way goes up to Beth-shemesh, He did to us this great evil. And if not, then we will know that His hand did not strike against us; it was a chance event for us.”
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כֵּן וַיִּקְחוּ שְׁתֵּי פָרוֹת עָלוֹת וַיַּאַסְרוּם בָּעֲגָלָה וְאֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם כָּלוּ בַבָּיִת׃ 6:10
1Sam. 6:10 Then the men did so, and they took two suckling cows and hitched them on the wagon, and they shut up their calves in the house.
וַיָּשִׂמוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן יְהוָה אֶל־הָעֲגָלָה וְאֵת הָאַרְגַּז וְאֵת עַכְבְּרֵי הַזָּהָב וְאֵת צַלְמֵי טְחֹרֵיהֶם׃ 6:11
1Sam. 6:11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the wagon and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.
וַיִשַּׁרְנָה הַפָּרוֹת בַּדֶּרֶךְ עַל־דֶּרֶךְ בֵּית שֶׁמֶשׁ בִּמְסִלָּה אַחַת הָלְכוּ הָלֹךְ וְגָעוֹ וְלֹא־סָרוּ יָמִין 6:12
וּשְׂמֹאול וְסַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים הֹלְכִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם עַד־גְּבוּל בֵּית שָׁמֶשׁ׃
1Sam. 6:12 And the cows made straight along on the road of Beth-shemesh; they went on a single course, walking and lowing and not turning right or left, with the lords of the Philistines going after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
וּבֵית שֶׁמֶשׁ קֹצְרִים קְצִיר־חִטִּים בָּעֵמֶק וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ אֶת־הָאָרוֹן וַיִּשְׂמְחוּ לִרְאוֹת׃ 6:13
1Sam. 6:13 And the Beth-shemeshites were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark, and they rejoiced to see.
וְהָעֲגָלָה בָּאָה אֶל־שְׂדֵה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֵּית־הַשִּׁמְשִׁי וַתַּעֲמֹד שָׁם וְשָׁם אֶבֶן גְּדוֹלָה וַיְבַקְּעוּ אֶת־עֲצֵי 6:14
הָעֲגָלָה וְאֶת־הַפָּרוֹת הֶעֱלוּ עֹלָה לַיהוָה׃
1Sam. 6:14 And the wagon came in to the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemeshite, and stood there, and there was a great stone. And they broke up the wood of the wagon, and they offered the cows for a burnt offering to the Lord.
וְהַלְוִיִּם הוֹרִידוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן יְהוָה וְאֶת־הָאַרְגַּז אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ כְלֵי־זָהָב וַיָּשִׂמוּ אֶל־הָאֶבֶן 6:15
הַגְּדוֹלָה וְאַנְשֵׁי בֵית־שֶׁמֶשׁ הֶעֱלוּ עֹלוֹת וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לַיהוָה׃
1Sam. 6:15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the coffer that was with it, in which the jewels of gold were, and put on the great stone, and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord.
וַחֲמִשָּׁה סַרְנֵי־פְלִשְׁתִּים רָאוּ וַיָּשֻׁבוּ עֶקְרוֹן בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא׃ 6:16
1Sam. 6:16 And the five lords of the Philistines saw and they returned to Ekron on that day.
וְאֵלֶּה טְחֹרֵי הַזָּהָב אֲשֶׁר הֵשִׁיבוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אָשָׁם לַיהוָה לְאַשְׁדּוֹד אֶחָד לְעַזָּה אֶחָד לְאַשְׁקְלוֹן 6:17
אֶחָד לְגַת אֶחָד לְעֶקְרוֹן אֶחָד׃
1Sam. 6:17 Now these were the emerods of gold that the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to the Lord: One for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron.
וְעַכְבְּרֵי הַזָּהָב מִסְפַּר כָּל־עָרֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים לַחֲמֵשֶׁת הַסְּרָנִים מֵעִיר מִבְצָר וְעַד כֹּפֶר הַפְּרָזִי וְעַד אָבֵל 6:18
הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר הִנִּיחוּ עָלֶיהָ אֵת אֲרוֹן יְהוָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה בִּשְׂדֵה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֵּית־הַשִּׁמְשִׁי׃
1Sam. 6:18 And the mice of gold were of the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, from the fortified cities and to the rural villages and to Abel near the great stone on which they set down the ark of the Lord; it is in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemeshite, until this day.
וַיַּךְ בְּאַנְשֵׁי בֵית־שֶׁמֶשׁ כִּי רָאוּ בַּאֲרוֹן יְהוָה וַיַּךְ בָּעָם שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ חֲמִשִּׁים אֶלֶף אִישׁ וַיִּתְאַבְּלוּ 6:19
הָעָם כִּי־הִכָּה יְהוָה בָּעָם מַכָּה גְדוֹלָה׃
1Sam. 6:19 And He smote some of the men of Beth-shemesh, for they had looked into the ark of the Lord, and slew seventy men among the people of fifty thousand individuals. And the people mourned, for the Lord had cast forth a sore plague on the people.
They looked into the ark? What did they see? Were the holy things still in the ark after seven months with the Philistines? But, why were they punished because they looked? What of their touching the ark? Wouldn’t they be subject to death because of that? They had to touch it before they could lift its cover and look into it.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי בֵית־שֶׁמֶשׁ מִי יוּכַל לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי יְהוָה הָאֱלֹהִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ הַזֶּה וְאֶל־מִי יַעֲלֶה מֵעָלֵינוּ׃ 6:20
1Sam. 6:20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God, and who shall fetch it up from us?”
וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ מַלְאָכִים אֶל־יוֹשְׁבֵי קִרְיַת־יְעָרִים לֵאמֹר הֵשִׁבוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־אֲרוֹן יְהוָה רְדוּ הַעֲלוּ אֹתוֹ 6:21
1Sam. 6:21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down, fetch it up to you.”
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