I mean, they should have just done all this chapter in the first place, right? I had a heyday with the orange pen this morning, as I quite liked this little quirky chapter. Gold tumors and rats. C’mon! And people say the Bible is boring.
Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that the Philistines had their own priests and diviners (v. 2) and that they were very knowledgeable amount the God of all gods: 1) they knew about guilt offerings (v. 3). 2) they knew about the miracles God performed in Egypt. 3) they knew to honor God with never-yoked cows and stuff made of gold, like funky tumors and rats and such. Don’t tell me this doesn’t make you LOL!
I also noticed that while the priests and diviners were in agreement about how the Ark needed to be sent back and the gifts that needed to accompany it, they also decided to give God a little test when they sent it on its way. Instead of going with the cows, they just let them go wherever they wanted (v. 8). “If they get back to the Israelites, then it’s meant to be” was their attitude. However, they did send men to follow the cows … just to see what happened. I guess that was a good plan because they had witnesses who could testify that sure enough the Ark went straight back home, right where it belonged. What a glorious day! Even the cattle were lowing all the way down the road (v. 12)! Sadly, though, even the Israelites in Beth-shemesh who were overjoyed (v. 13) with the Ark’s arrival to their farm did not escape the Ark’s wrath on those who abuse its presence. More than 70 men died after the homecoming because they looked inside God’s holy home and vessel. I’m sure having the Ark in their midst was like stumbling about a king’s crown: the temptation to try it on for size can be overwhelming, even though you know the inevitable punishment if caught is death. After these deaths, the citizens of Beth-shemesh probably didn’t feel as blessed or “chosen” as they did when the Ark first arrived. They were eager to get it back to its rightful location. “Where can we send the Ark from here?” they cried out in anguish. They were careful to not just send the Ark away like the Philistines had, though. They requested the leaders of Kiriath-jearim come get it personally, so as not to further disrespect the House of the Lord – and also to get it off their hands and out of their responsibility!
Writing prompt: tumors and rats
Oh, you know I can’t resist a good “tumors and rats” writing prompt. Since it’s a crazy prompt, go a little crazy with your writing today. Write whatever you want, whether it’s pertaining to the chapter or not, but the theme must be tumors and rats!