1 Samuel 6:1-15 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Ark of God Is Sent Home
6 The Philistines kept the ·Ark of God [4:3] in their ·land [territory; country] seven months. 2 Then the Philistines [4:1] called for their priests and ·magicians [diviners] and said, “What should we do with the Ark of the Lord? Tell us how to send it back ·home [to its place]!”
3 They answered, “If you send back the Ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it back ·empty [without a gift]. ·You must give [Return it to him with] a ·penalty [guilt] offering. If you are then healed, you will know that it was ·because of the Ark that you had such trouble [L his hand that has been lifted from you].”
4 The Philistines asked, “What kind of ·penalty [guilt] offering should we send to ·Israel’s God [L him]?”
They answered, “Make five gold ·models [likenesses; images] of the ·growths on your skin [tumors] and five gold ·models [likenesses; images] of ·rats [or mice]. ·The number of ·models [likenesses; images] must match the number of Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords], because the same ·sickness [plague] has ·come on [struck; afflicted] you and your ·kings [rulers; lords]. 5 Make ·models [likenesses; images] of the ·growths [tumors] and the ·rats [or mice] that are ·ruining [destroying; ravaging] the ·country [land], and give ·honor [glory] to Israel’s God. Then maybe he will ·stop being so hard on [L lift his hand from] you, your gods, and your ·land [country]. 6 ·Don’t be stubborn [L Why do you harden your hearts…?] like the ·king [L Pharaoh] of Egypt and the Egyptians [Ex. 7:13; 8:15; 9:34]. After God ·punished them terribly [brought disaster on; or made fools of them], ·they let the Israelites leave Egypt [L did they not send the Israelites out, and they departed?].
7 “You must ·build [prepare] a new cart and get two cows that have just had calves. These must be cows that have never had yokes on their necks. Hitch the cows to the cart, and take the calves ·home, away from their mothers [away from them and put them in a pen]. 8 Put the Ark of the Lord [4:3] on the cart and the gold ·models [likenesses; objects] you are sending him for the ·penalty [guilt] offering in a ·box [chest] beside the Ark. Then send the cart ·straight on its way [to go its own way]. 9 Watch the cart. If it goes toward Beth Shemesh [C a town on the border with Philistia about 24 miles west of Jerusalem] in ·Israel’s own land [its own territory], [then] the Lord has ·given us this great sickness [brought this great disaster/harm on us]. But if it doesn’t, we will know that ·Israel’s God has not punished us [it was not God’s hand that struck us]. It just happened by chance.”
10 ·The Philistines did what the priests and magicians said [L The men did so]. They took two cows that had just had calves and hitched them to the cart, but they kept their calves ·at home [in a pen]. 11 They put the Ark of the Lord and the ·box [chest] with the gold rats and ·models [likenesses; images] of ·growths [tumors] on the cart. 12 Then the cows went straight toward Beth Shemesh. They stayed on the road, ·mooing [lowing] all the way, and did not turn right or left. The Philistine ·kings [rulers; lords] followed the cows as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were ·harvesting [reaping] their wheat in the valley. When they ·looked up [L raised their eyes] and saw the Ark of the Lord, they were ·very happy [joyful to see it]. 14 The cart came to the field belonging to Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped near a large rock. The people of Beth Shemesh chopped up the wood of the cart. Then they ·sacrificed [offered] the cows as burnt offerings to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the Ark of the Lord and the ·box [chest] that had the gold ·models [likenesses; images], and they put both on the large rock. That day the people of Beth Shemesh offered whole burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord.