1And the ark of Yahweh was in the territory of the Philistines seven months.
2And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What should we do with the ark of Yahweh? Let us know how we can send it to its place.”
3And they said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but return, yes, return to 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 gold tumors and five gold 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 are ruining 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? Was it not that when he dealt harshly with them, then they sent them away and they went away?
7So now take and prepare yourselves a new cart and two cows that are giving milk and on which there has never been a 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 objects of gold that you are returning to him for a trespass offering in a chest by its side, and send it away, that it may go away.
9Then watch! If it goes up to Beth-shemesh on the road of his territory, 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 happened to us by chance.”
10And the men did so. And they took two cows that were giving milk and tied them to the cart and closed in their calves at home;
11and they put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the chest with the gold mice and the images of their tumors.
12The cows went straight on the road, on the road to Beth-shemesh. They stayed on one path, lowing as they went, and did not turn to the right or to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth-shemesh.
13The people 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 stopped there. And a great stone was there, 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 were the objects of gold and put them on the great stone, and on that day the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices to Yahweh.
16When the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17These are the gold tumors that the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron;
18and the gold 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, as far as the great stone on which they set down the ark of Yahweh. To this day it is 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;a and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter.
20And the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom should he go up away from us?”