New Living Translation

1 Samuel 6

The Philistines Return the Ark

1The Ark of the Lord remained in Philistine territory seven months in all. Then the Philistines called in their priests and diviners and asked them, “What should we do about the Ark of the Lord? Tell us how to return it to its own country.”

“Send the Ark of the God of Israel back with a gift,” they were told. “Send a guilt offering so the plague will stop. Then, if you are healed, you will know it was his hand that caused the plague.”

“What sort of guilt offering should we send?” they asked.

And they were told, “Since the plague has struck both you and your five rulers, make five gold tumors and five gold rats, just like those that have ravaged your land. Make these things to show honor to the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will stop afflicting you, your gods, and your land. Don’t be stubborn and rebellious as Pharaoh and the Egyptians were. By the time God was finished with them, they were eager to let Israel go.

“Now build a new cart, and find two cows that have just given birth to calves. Make sure the cows have never been yoked to a cart. Hitch the cows to the cart, but shut their calves away from them in a pen. Put the Ark of the Lord on the cart, and beside it place a chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors you are sending as a guilt offering. Then let the cows go wherever they want. If they cross the border of our land and go to Beth-shemesh, we will know it was the Lord who brought this great disaster upon us. If they don’t, we will know it was not his hand that caused the plague. It came simply by chance.”

10 So these instructions were carried out. Two cows were hitched to the cart, and their newborn calves were shut up in a pen. 11 Then the Ark of the Lord and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors were placed on the cart. 12 And sure enough, without veering off in other directions, the cows went straight along the road toward Beth-shemesh, lowing as they went. The Philistine rulers followed them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.

13 The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley, and when they saw the Ark, they were overjoyed! 14 The cart came into the field of a man named Joshua and stopped beside a large rock. So the people broke up the wood of the cart for a fire and killed the cows and sacrificed them to the Lord as a burnt offering. 15 Several men of the tribe of Levi lifted the Ark of the Lord and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors from the cart and placed them on the large rock. Many sacrifices and burnt offerings were offered to the Lord that day by the people of Beth-shemesh. 16 The five Philistine rulers watched all this and then returned to Ekron that same day.

17 The five gold tumors sent by the Philistines as a guilt offering to the Lord were gifts from the rulers of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. 18 The five gold rats represented the five Philistine towns and their surrounding villages, which were controlled by the five rulers. The large rock[a] at Beth-shemesh, where they set the Ark of the Lord, still stands in the field of Joshua as a witness to what happened there.

The Ark Moved to Kiriath-Jearim

19 But the Lord killed seventy men[b] from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord. And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. 20 “Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God?” they cried out. “Where can we send the Ark from here?”

21 So they sent messengers to the people at Kiriath-jearim and told them, “The Philistines have returned the Ark of the Lord. Come here and get it!”


  1. 6:18 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version; most Hebrew manuscripts read great meadow or Abel-haggedolah.
  2. 6:19 As in a few Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts read 70 men, 50,000 men. Perhaps the text should be understood to read the Lord killed 70 men and 50 oxen.

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

撒母耳記上 6


1耶和華的約櫃在非利士人的地方停留了七個月。 非利士人叫來他們的祭司和占卜者,問道:「我們該怎樣處理耶和華的約櫃呢?請告訴我們怎樣把它送回原處?」 他們答道:「你們若把以色列上帝的約櫃送回去,不可空手送去,一定要向他獻上賠罪的禮物,這樣你們就可以得到醫治,也可以知道他為什麼懲罰你們。」 非利士人問:「我們該送什麼作賠罪的禮物呢?」他們答道:「你們要按非利士首領的數目,送五個金毒瘡和五隻金鼠,因為你們和你們的首領都遭受了同樣的災難。 所以,你們要製作金毒瘡和毀壞田地的老鼠的像,尊崇以色列的上帝,也許祂會放過你們、你們的神明及田地。 你們為什麼像法老和埃及人那樣心裡頑固呢?當上帝嚴厲地對待他們時,他們豈沒有讓以色列人離開埃及嗎? 現在,你們快去準備一輛新車,把兩頭還在哺養小牛、從未負過軛的母牛套在車上,然後把小牛帶回牛圈裡。 你們要把耶和華的約櫃放在車上,旁邊放箱子,裡面裝賠罪的金物,然後送這輛車上路。 你們要留意觀察,如果車朝以色列邊境的伯·示麥去,這大災難就是耶和華降給我們的。如果不朝那方向走,我們就知道不是祂懲罰我們,是偶然發生的。」

10 於是,非利士人一一照做,他們牽來兩頭還在哺養小牛的母牛,把牠們套在車上,把小牛關在圈裡, 11 然後把耶和華的約櫃和裝金鼠以及金毒瘡的箱子放在車上。 12 牛邊走邊叫,不偏不離,徑直朝伯·示麥走去。非利士的首領跟著牠們一直來到伯·示麥的邊界。

13 當時,伯·示麥人正在山谷裡收割麥子。他們抬頭看見約櫃,非常高興。 14 車子來到伯·示麥人約書亞的田間,在一塊巨石旁邊停下來。民眾劈開車子,把兩頭母牛獻給耶和華作燔祭。 15 利未人抬下耶和華的約櫃和裝著金物的箱子,把它們放在巨石上。那天,伯·示麥人向耶和華獻上了燔祭和其他祭物。 16 那五個非利士首領看見了這一切後,就在當天回以革倫去了。 17 非利士人獻給耶和華的金毒瘡是分別為亞實突、迦薩、亞實基倫、迦特和以革倫賠罪的。 18 那五隻金鼠是按著非利士五個首領的堅固城邑和村莊的數目獻上的。那塊安放耶和華約櫃的巨石到現在仍然屹立在伯·示麥約書亞的田間。 19 那一天,耶和華擊殺了七十個[a]伯·示麥人,因為他們擅自觀看約櫃裡面。民眾為此哀慟不已, 20 伯·示麥人說:「誰能站立在耶和華——這位聖潔的上帝面前呢?該把約櫃送到誰那裡呢?」 21 後來,他們就派使者到基列·耶琳的居民那裡,說:「非利士人已經把耶和華的約櫃送回來了,你們下來把它接到你們那裡吧。」


  1. 6·19 七十個」有古卷作「五萬零七十個」。