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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

1 Samuel 6

Verses 1-21

The Ark in the Harvest-field

1 Samuel 6:13

The ark had been a prisoner in the land of the Philistines since the fatal day when the army of Israel was completely overthrown. Its presence had brought mischief and misery, plague and death to the cities of Ashdod and Ekron, and after seven months' sojourn it was sent back to its own country with all respect and with all care.

I. The coming of the ark at that time to that particular occupation of the men of Beth-shemesh was to them a great reminder, a striking memorial. God brought Himself to the level of their intelligence by sending the ark into their harvest-field as a sacrament of sacred realities, to press home this truth to them that it was to God they owed the harvest they were reaping.

II. It is just as much our duty to recognize the same source of all our good, but possibly we need this reminder, God in the harvest-field, more forcibly even than they did. The world has grown much older since then; childlike faith is not so evident and worthy, simple trust is obscured or pushed out of the way by habits of doubting, of accepting things as of use and wont, and of explaining away the supernatural by natural reasons and processes. Romance, imagination, wonder are gone; and with these often goes the sense of blest dependence on the great Creator, and of gratitude to the great Giver of all food. But this decay of interest is, in its way, a sign of the superficiality of much of the age in which we live.

III. What we need above all to see is the ark of God standing in the harvest-field, the great source of all our supply. We need to rub our sleepy eyes and yet awake to the presence of the great Creator. The ark in the harvest-field teaches us also that the harvest-field is sacred ground; the field is holy. The ark in the harvest-field was a summons to the men of Beth-shemesh to present the firstfruits of their harvest to God. And as the harvesters saw it safely placed in their midst, it renewed to them the message of the Law, that to God were due the firstfruits of their reaping and in special measure for such special restoration of the Divine presence and smile.

W. A. Swanson, Homiletic Review, November, 1906, vol. LII. p. 388.

References. VII. 11. C. Perren, Outline Sermons, p. 272. VII. 12. F. Bourdillon, Plain Sermons for Family Reading (2nd Series), p. 105.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 6". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/1-samuel-6.html. 1910.