1 Samuel 6 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of 1 Samuel 6)
6:1 And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines a seven months.

(a) They thought by continuance of time the plague would have ceased, and so would have kept the ark still.

6:3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him b a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.

(b) The idolaters confess there is a true God, who punishes sin justly.

6:5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your c gods, and from off your land.

(c) This is God's judgment on the idolaters, that knowing the true God, they do not worship him correctly.

6:8 And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the d jewels of gold, which ye return him [for] a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.

(d) Meaning, the golden emerods and the golden mice.

6:9 And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, [then] e he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that [it is] not his hand [that] smote us: it [was] a f chance [that] happened to us.

(e) The God of Israel.
(f) The wicked attribute almost all things to fortune and chance, whereas indeed there is nothing done without God's providence and decree.

6:12 And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, [and] went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside [to] the right hand or [to] the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after g them unto the border of Bethshemesh.

(g) For the trial of the matter.

6:14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where [there was] a great stone: and h they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.

(h) That is, the men of Bethshemesh, who were Israelites.

6:17 And these [are] the golden emerods which the Philistines returned [for] a trespass offering unto the LORD; for i Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;

(i) These were the five principal cities of the Philistines, which were not all conquered to the time of David.

6:19 And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they k had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter.

(k) For it was not lawful for anyone either to touch or to see it, only to Aaron and his sons (
Numbers 4:15,20).