1 Shemuyah Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5: The Philistines and the Ark: Yah Made Dagon Bow Down

1 Then the Philistines took the ark of Yah and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 When the Philistines took the ark of Yah, they brought it into the house of Dagon (A Philistine god) and set it by Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of Yah. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. 4 And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of Yah. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso was left of it. 5 Therefore, neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

Yah Causes Trouble For the Philistines

6 But the hand of Yah was heavy on the people of Ashdod and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors (reads possibly Bubonic Plague) both Ashdod and its territory. 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, “The ark of Yah of Ysrayl must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god”. 8 Therefore, they sent and gathered to themselves all the princes of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of Yah of Ysrayl”? And they answered, “Let the ark of Yah of Ysrayl be carried away to Gath”. So they carried the ark of Yah of Ysrayl away. 9 So it was, after they had carried it away, that the hand of Yah was against the city with a very great destruction and He struck the men of the city both small and great and tumors broke out on them.

The Philistines Send the Ark of Yah From Ashdod to Ekron

10 Therefore, they sent the ark of Yah to Ekron. So it was, as the ark of Yah came to Ekron that the Ekronites cried out saying, “They have brought the ark of Yah of Ysrayl to us to kill us and our people”! 11 So they sent and gathered together all the princes of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of Yah of Ysrayl and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people”. For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city. The hand of Yah was very heavy there. 12 And the men who did not die were stricken with the tumors and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

Chapter 6: The Philistines are Instructed By Diviners on How to Return the Ark of Yah

1 Now the ark of Yah was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners saying, “What shall we do with the ark of Yah? Tell us how we should send it to its place”. 3 So they said, “If you send away the ark of Yah of Ysrayl, do not send it empty but by all means return it to Him with a trespass offering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you”. 4 Then they said, “What is the trespass offering which we shall return to Him”? They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden rats, according to the number of the princes of the Philistines. For the same plague was on all of you and on your princes. 5 Therefore, you shall make images of your tumors and images of your rats that ravage the land and you shall give esteem to Yah of Ysrayl. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from you, from your gods and from your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He did mighty things among them, did they not let the people go, that they might depart? 7 Now therefore, make a new cart, two milk cows which have never been yoked and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 Then take the ark of Yah and set it on the cart and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a trespass offering in a chest by its side. Then send it away and let it go. 9 And watch. If it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that struck us, it happened to us by chance”.

The Philistines Send the Ark of Yah to Beth Shemesh with a Trespass Offering

10 Then the men did so. They took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they set the ark of Yah on the cart and the chest with the gold rats and the images of their tumors. 12 Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh and went along the highway, lowing as they went and did not turn aside to the right or the left. And the princes of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh. 13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley and they lifted their eyes and saw the ark and rejoiced to see it. 14 Then the cart came into the field of Yahoshua of Beth Shemesh and stood there, a large stone was there. So they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to Yah.15 The Levites took down the ark of Yah and the chest that was with it, in which were the articles of gold and put them on the large stone. Then the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices the same day to Yah. 16 So when the five princes of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.

Yah Struck the Israylites of Beth Shemesh Because They Looked into the Ark

17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned as a trespass offering to Yah: One for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron–18 And the golden rats, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five princes, both fortified cities and country villages even as far as the large stone of Abyl on which they set the ark of Yah, which stone remains to this day in the field of Yahoshua of Beth Shemesh. 19 Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yah. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men (reads or He struck seventy men of the people and fifty oxen of a man) of the people and the people lamented because Yah had struck the people with a great slaughter. (Compare to Numbers 4:5, only Aharon’s sons and descendants are to touch the ark of Yah. Numbers chapter 4 Yah explains who of the Levite families are to carry what articles of the temple. Also see 2 Shemuyah 6:6-7, Belshazzar and his court drank from the gold and silver of Yah’s temple and Yah punished him, Daniyah chapter 5).

The Ark of Yah is Carried to the City of Kiryath Yearim

20 And the men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before this qodesh Yah Almighty? And to whom shall it go up from us”? 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiryath Yearim saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of Yah. Come down and take it up with you”.