Daily Tanach, Monday: Shmuel 1 Chapter 6-The return of the Ark to Beit Shemesh

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.      The Ark is returned:

  • The Ark is prepared to be sent as they were instructed: The Philistine people did as they were instructed, and they took two nursing cows and tied them to the wagon and they then confined their calves in a home. They placed the Ark of G-d in the wagon together with the box that contained the gold mouse sculptures and the sculptures of the hemorrhoids.
  • The wagon travels to Beit Shemesh while its cows sing: The cows sung songs[1] on the road to Beit Shemesh [where the Jewish people lived[2]], and mooed during their travel on the road [in longing for their calf[3]]. They traveled on a single road, and did not swerve to the right or to the left. The leaders of the Philistines traveled behind the wagon until they reached the border of the city of Beit Shemesh.
  • The people of Beit Shemesh greet the Ark of G-d: The residents of Beit Shemesh were busy gathering the wheat crops in the valley when they raised their eyes and behold, they saw the Ark approaching [by itself, without escort]. They became overjoyed to see it [although did not show it its proper honor and respect upon staring at it[4]]. The wagon arrived at the field of Yehoshua, who was a resident of Beit Shemesh, and remained there. There was a large stone in that field.
  • Sacrifices are offered: The people chopped the wood of the wagon into firewood and slaughtered the nursing cows and offered them as an Olah offering to G-d. The Levite’s took down the Ark of G-d, as well as the box that contained within it the gold vessels, and placed it on the large stone. The residents of Beit Shemesh brought offerings and slaughtered animals on that day for G-d.


2.      The Philistines return home-A sum up of their gifts:

  • The five leaders of the Philistines saw that the Ark had returned, and they therefore returned to the city of Akron on that day.
  • The [five] gold sculptures of the hemorrhoids that the Philistines returned as compensation to the Ark of G-d, corresponded to the cities of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gat, and Akron. One sculpture per city. However, the gold sculptures of the mice corresponded to all the cities of the Philistines which the five Philistine leaders ruled over, from the city of Mivtzar to Kofer Haperizi and until the city of Avel Hagedola, which was a city that contained the large rock that the ark of G-d was placed on until this day in the field of Yehoshua from Beit Shemesh.  


3.      The residents of Beit Shemesh are punished:

  • G-d punished the people of Beit Shemesh, as they had stared at the Ark of G-d in a disrespectful manner. He smote 70 men and 50,000 men. The nation mourned the deaths as G-d had hit the nation with a great tragedy. The residents of Beit Shemesh exclaimed: Who can stand before this Holy G-d, and who will rise from us to greet G-d [as all of our great men have died]. The residents of Beit Shemesh sent messengers to the residence of Kiryat Yearim, informing them that the Philistines had sent them the Ark of G-d and that they should come down to Beis Shemesh and bring the Ark up to their city.

[1] 1st interpretation in Rashi 6:12; see there for the two interpretations of the word Yisharnu

[2] Rashi 6:12

[3] Radak 6:12

[4] Rashi 6:13

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