1The ark of Yahweh was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
2The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What should we do with the ark of Yahweh? Show us with which we can send it to its place.”
3They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a trespass offering; then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.”
They said, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, for the number of the lords of the Philistines; for one plague was on you all and on your lords.
5Therefore you are to make images of your tumors and images of your mice that mar the land, and you are to give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and from off your gods and from off your land.
6Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had worked wonderfully among them, didn’t they let the people go, and they departed?
7Now therefore take and prepare yourselves a new cart and two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke; and tie the cows to the cart and bring their calves home from them,
8and take the ark of Yahweh and lay it on the cart; and put the jewels of gold that you return him for a trespass offering in a chest by its side, and send it away, that it may go.
9Behold, if it goes up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has done us this great evil; but if not, then we will know that it is not his hand that struck us; it was a chance that happened to us.”
10The men did so, and took two milk cows and tied them to the cart and shut up their calves at home;
11and they put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the chest with the mice of gold and the images of their tumors.
12The cows took the straight way by the way to Beth Shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh.
13They of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
14The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stood there where there was a great stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered up the cows for a burnt offering to Yahweh.
15The Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the chest that was with it in which the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone, and the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day to Yahweh.
16When the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to Yahweh: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
18and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages, even to the great stone on which they set down the ark of Yahweh. That stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
19He struck of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh, he struck 70 men of the people; and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter.
20The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? To whom should he go up from us?”