Synopsis:The Philistines ask their priests how to return the Ark to the Jews. They say – make golden emerods and golden mice – one for each of the Lords of the Philistines. Put these and your tresspass offering onto a cart with the Ark. Attach to milking cows to the cart and set them off toward Israel. If they take the coastal route to Bethshemesh – then we will know that the plague was brought by God. If it takes a different route, the plague is just a coincidence. So... they send it off, with the golden mice and golden emerods, one each for Ashod, Gaza, Askelon, Gath and Ekron. The cows do go to Bethshemesh and the people are very excited to see the Ark. There is a great stone of Abel where this happened. The problem is that the people of Bethshemesh opened the Ark and looked inside and so God smote 50,070 men. So the remaining people of Bethshemesh asked the people of Kirjathjearim to come down and get the Ark.
In other words:The Philistines return the Ark and another 50,000 more people are killed by whatever diseases this Ark is carrying.
Favorite bit:The Philistines have to make golden images of their emerods and 5 golden statues of mice. Apparently, they did connect the transmission of emerods to the mice. But when you read this – you have to think – what the heck does a golden emerod even look like? (1 Samuel 6:3)
Other favorite bit:That the priests of the Philistines had a plan to see whether this was the work of a God or just a coincidence (1 Samuel 6:9)
Least favorite bit:1 Samuel 6:19 – everyone is super excited to get the Ark back – but it’s so disease infested that everyone who looks inside it gets sick and dies.
Moral Lesson Learned:• Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you (1 Samuel 6:19)
• Blood can transmit disease, so clean up after you touch it (1 Samuel 6:19)
• Don’t assume supernatural causes. (1 Samuel 6:9)