1 Samuel 6

1The Philistines kept the Holy Box in their land seven months. 2The Philistines called their priests and magicians. The Philistines said, “What must we do with the Lord’s Box? Tell us how to send the Box back home!” 3The priests and magicians answered, “If you send back the Holy Box of the God of Israel, don’t send it away empty. You must offer gifts so the God of Israel will take away your sins. Then you will be healed. You will be made pure. You should do these things so God will stop punishing you.” 4The Philistines asked, “What kind of gifts should we send for Israel’s God to forgive us?” The priests and magicians answered, “There are five Philistine leaders. ˻One leader for each city.˼ All of you people and your leaders had the same problems. So you must make five gold models to look like five tumors. And you must make five gold models to look like five mice. 5So, make models of the tumors and models of the mice that are ruining the country. Give these gold models to the God of Israel as payment. Then maybe the God of Israel will stop punishing you, your gods, and your land. 6Don’t be stubborn like Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God punished the Egyptians. That is why the Egyptians let the Israelites leave Egypt. 7“You must build a new wagon and get two cows that just had calves. These must be cows that have never worked in the fields. Tie the cows to the wagon so they can pull it. Then take the calves back home and put them in their pen. Don’t let them follow their mothers. 8Put the Lord’s Holy Box on the wagon. You must put the golden models in the bag beside the Box. The golden models are your gifts for God to forgive your sins. Send the wagon straight on its way. 9Watch the wagon. If the wagon goes toward Beth Shemesh in Israel’s own land, then the Lord has given us this great sickness. But if the cows do not go straight to Beth Shemesh, then we will know that Israel’s God has not punished us. We will know that our sickness just happened.” 10The Philistines did what the priests and magicians said. The Philistines found two cows that had just had calves. The Philistines tied the cows to the wagon and put the calves in their pens at home. 11Then the Philistines put the Lord’s Holy Box on the wagon. They also put the bag with the golden models of the tumors and mice on the wagon. 12The cows went straight to Beth Shemesh. The cows stayed on the road, mooing all the way. The cows did not turn right or left. The Philistine rulers followed the cows as far as the city limits of Beth Shemesh. 13The people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley. They looked up and saw the Holy Box. They were very happy to see the Box again. They ran to get it. 14- 15The wagon came to the field that belonged to Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped there near a large rock. Some Levites took down the Lord’s Holy Box and the bag that had the golden models. The Levites put the Lord’s Box and the bag that was with it on the large rock. The people of Beth Shemesh cut up the wagon and killed the cows. That day, they sacrificed the cows as burnt offerings to the Lord. 16The five Philistine rulers watched the people of Beth Shemesh do all these things. Then the five Philistine rulers went back to Ekron that same day. 17In this way, the Philistines sent golden models of tumors as gifts for their sins to the Lord. They sent one golden model of a tumor for each Philistine town. These Philistine towns were Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 18And the Philistines also sent golden models of mice. The number of these golden mice was the same number as the towns that belonged to the five Philistine rulers. These towns had walls around them. And each town had villages around it. The people of Beth Shemesh put the Lord’s Holy Box on a rock. That rock is still in the field of Joshua from Beth Shemesh. 19But there were no priests there, and the men of Beth Shemesh looked at the Holy Box of the Lord. So God killed 70 men from Beth Shemesh. The people of Beth Shemesh cried because the Lord punished them so severely. 20So the people of Beth Shemesh said, “Where is a priest that can care for this Holy Box? Where should the Box go from here?” 21˻There was a priest at Kiriath Jearim.˼ The people of Beth Shemesh sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim. The messengers said, “The Philistines have brought back the Lord’s Holy Box. Come down and take it to your city.”

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