¶ AND the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
And the Philistines called for the priests and the lords, saying, What shall we do with the ark of the LORD?
Tell us by what means shall we send it to its place.
And they said, If you send away the ark of the LORD God of Israel, do not send it away empty;
but you must surely bring trespass offerings to it;
then you shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
And they said, What sort of offerings shall we bring to it?
They answered, Five golden boils and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines;
for one plague was upon you all and upon your lords.
Wherefore you shall make likenesses of your boils and images of the mice that are destroying the land;
and you shall give glory to the God of Israel;
perhaps he will remove his hand from you and from your god and from your land.
And you shall not harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts, and as they mocked the Israelites and did not send them nor let them go.
Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch cows upon which there has come no yoke, and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them;
And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart;
and put the vessels of gold which you have brought for it as offerings, in a box by its side;
and send it away, that it may go on its way.
And watch, for if it goes up by the way of the border which goes up to Beth-shemesh, then it is the LORD who has done us this great evil;
but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that afflicted us, but it has happened to us by chance.
¶ And the men did so;
and took two milch cows and tied them to the cart and shut up their calves at home;
And they laid the ark of God upon the cart, and the box with the mice of gold and the images of their boils.
And they sent out the cows by the way which is by the border of Beth-shemesh, and they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand nor to the left;
and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
And the men of the town of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley;
and they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced when they saw it.
And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemeshite, and stopped where there was a great stone;
and they split the wood of the cart, and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.
And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was with it in which were the vessels of gold, and put them on the great stone;
and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrifices on that day to the LORD.
And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
And these are the golden boils which the Philistines had brought as offerings to God: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines, belonging to the five lords, both of the five fortified cities and of the country villages of the Perrizites, and as far as the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD, which to this day is in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemeshite.
¶ And the LORD smote the men of Beth-shemesh because they worshipped the ark of the LORD, and the LORD smote five thousand and seventy men of the people;
and the people mourned because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?
And who shall carry up from us the ark?
So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Koriath-narin, saying, The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD;
come down and take it up to you.