Pastoral Commentary for 1 Samuel 5:1-7:1
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The Philistines believe they had won a great victory in capturing the ark. In an attempt to show the superiority of their god they brought the ark to Dagon's temple. The LORD is a jealous God, however, and will not permit His glory to be given to another, so the next day they found Dagon's idol on the ground. After setting it back up, the following day the idol was again on the ground with its head and arms broken off. The people of Ashdod, where the Ark had been brought, found themselves afflicted with tumors. As a result, the men of Ashdod had the Ark moved to Gath, and a similar experience for those people caused the Ark to be moved again. Illness and death accompanied the Ark until finally the Philistines decided to return the Ark to Israel. Along with the Ark they sent a "guilt offering" consisting of golden images of tumors and rats, representing the plagues that had come upon the Philistines. They placed the Ark on a cart pulled by two cows and set if off down the road. The cows hauled the Ark to Beth Shemesh where the Levites placed the Ark on a large rock and offered the cows as burnt offerings. 70 of the men of Beth Shemesh died as a result of looking into the Ark, and even the people of Israel did not want the Ark in their presence anymore. Finally, the Ark was taken to KiriathJearim where it remained in the house of Aminidab for 20 years, with Eleazar, Aminidab's son appointed as its guardian.