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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 6

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-21

  1. THE RETURN OF THE ARK! (6:1-21)
    1. PRIESTS & DIVINERS! (1-6)
    2. Priests & diviners - There were 3 primary modes of divination practiced throughout the ancient Near East.
      1. Divination by arrows - arrow shot into air, & an omen was taken from the direction it fell.
      2. Divination by teraphim - these images were supposed to speak & give oracular responses to those who consulted them. [of course depending on the devotees rt standing w/the god or goddess]
      3. Divination by sacrifice - the entrails(guts) & liver of a sacrificial animal were examined to help the priest determine the will of the gods.
    3. After 7 months of trouble, the desperate Philistines are advised by their own priests to send the ark back to Israel w/a guilt offering.
    4. GOD OR COINCIDENCE? (7-12)
    5. Mad-cow Test 101: 2 cows, that have just given birth to calves, & that have never been yoked before, are tied to a cart holding the ark.
      1. If the cows would leave their calves & head straight with no leading by its owner.
        1. Oh, & the cows protest their separation from their calves(lowing as they went), nevertheless pull the driverless cart all the way from Ekron to Beth-Shemesh.
      2. If the ark heads straight to Israel...they’ll know it’s God.
      3. If the ark doesn’t cross the border...they’ll know it’s chance.
    7. Beth Shemesh - house of the sun. [a sacerdotal city (i.e. Relating to priests)] A Levitical city
      1. Wheat harvest - late May early June.
    8. They stopped close to a large stone-The rock became an altar; the cart became firewood; the cows became the burnt offering; & the Levites lead the people in an act of consecration & worship.
    9. Then, Levites missed one thing...Numb.4:5,19,20 When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. 19 but do this in regard to them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task. 20 But they shall not go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, lest they die.
    10. TRAGEDY! (19-21)
    11. The “house of the sun” just went dark.
    12. (19) Hebrew wording? - he struck 70 men of the people & 50 oxen of a man.
    13. God chastened the Philistines because they kept the ark, but He killed some of His own people because they looked into the ark.
      1. Why ? The Israelites knew the law & therefore were more responsible than the Philistines.
        1. Besides, no earthly king would have permitted unauthorized persons to casually touch his throne - ho much more so God! This was a thoughtless disrespect for God. [Q: Are we doing anything to disrespect God in our lives?]
      2. As the Lord vindicated His honor among the Philistines, He was now compelled to vindicate His holiness in the midst of His own people.
    14. (20) Their reaction? - Instead of repenting of their sin, they blame God for their misfortune & sought for a means whereby they could quickly be rid of Him. :(
      1. Sounds like the story of what happened to Jesus when he cast the demons out of the 2 demoniacs Mt.8:34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
    15. (7:1) Abinadab’s house became a tabernacle of the Lord.
      1. He & his house didn’t fear the plague, or the judgment of God, but welcomed the ark into his house.
        1. Then consecrates his son to the service of the ark. (prob his oldest; i.e. His heir, thus the 1 most important to him)
        2. By this he shows his deep & abiding respect for the Lord, & a willingness to give Him top priority!
          1. He demonstrated the condition of his heart, by honoring God over material or familial concerns.
      2. Q: Shouldn’t every home be a holy dwelling-place for Him?
      3. Q: Has God been brought into your home to reside? [into your hearts home 1st?]
    16. “Safe?” “Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you!”
    17. Family Camp Promo: Show Promo & Read.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 6". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-samuel-6.html. 2017.
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