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1And the ark of יהוה was in the field of the Philistines for seven months.
2And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What do we do with the ark of יהוה? Let us know with what we should send it to its place.”
3And they said, “If you send away the ark of the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, do not send it empty, but you shall certainly return it to Him with a guilt offering. Then you are going to be healed, and it shall be known to you why His hand does not turn aside from you.”
4And they said, “What is the guilt offering which we return to Him?” And they answered, “The number of the princes of the Philistines: five golden tumours and five golden rats. For the same plague was on all of you and on your princes.
5“And you shall make images of your tumours and images of your rats that ruin the land, and you shall give esteem to the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl. It could be that He does lift His hand from you, from your mighty ones, and from your land.
6“And why do you harden your hearts as the Mitsrites and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not send them away, and they went?
7“And now, take and make a new wagon, and two milk cows which have never been yoked, and hitch the cows to the wagon. And take their calves home, away from them.
8“And take the ark of יהוה and put it on the wagon. And put the objects of gold which you are returning to Him as a guilt offering in a chest by its side, and send it away, and it shall go.
9“And you shall see, if it goes up the way to its own border, to Bĕyth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that His hand has not come against us – an accident it was to us.”
10And the men did so and took two milk cows and hitched them to the wagon, and shut up their calves at home.
11And they put the ark of יהוה on the wagon, and the chest with the gold rats and the images of their tumours.
12And the cows went straight for the way to Bĕyth Shemesh, and went along the highway, bellowing as they went, and did not turn aside, right or left. And the princes of the Philistines went after them to the border of Bĕyth Shemesh.
13And they of Bĕyth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And they lifted their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
14And the wagon came into the field of Yehoshua of Bĕyth Shemesh and stood there, and there was a great stone. So they split the wood of the wagon and offered the cows as a burnt offering to יהוה.
15And the Lĕwites took down the ark of יהוה and the chest that was with it, in which were the objects of gold, and put them on the great stone. And the men of Bĕyth Shemesh slaughtered burnt offerings and made offerings the same day to יהוה.
16And when the five princes of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Eqron the same day.
17And these are the gold tumours which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to יהוה: one for Ashdoḏ, one for Azzah, one for Ashqelon, one for Gath, one for Eqron,
18and the gold rats, by the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five princes, both walled cities and country villages, even as far as the great meadow on which they placed the ark of יהוה, remain to this day in the field of Yehoshua of Bĕyth Shemesh.
19And He smote among the men of Bĕyth Shemesh, for they had looked into the ark of יהוה. He smote among the people seventy men, and the people mourned because יהוה smote among the people, a great smiting.
20And the men of Bĕyth Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before this set-apart יהוה Elohim? And to whom shall He go from us?”
21And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Qiryath Ye‛arim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of יהוה. Come down, take it up to you.”
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