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I Samuel 6:1-12

Victor M. Eskew



1.      Outline:


i.                    THE DURATION OF ARK’S STAY (I Sam. 6:1)

ii.                  THE DESCRIPTION OF THE TRESPASS OFFERING (I Sam. 6:2-6)


iv.                THE DEPARTURE OF THE ARK (I Sam. 6:10-12)


2.      How long was the ark of God in the land of the Philistines? (I Sam. 6:1)


And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.


A.    Seven (7) months.


B.      Question:  Can seven months be long period of time?

1.      Yes.

2.      It is an extremely long time when affliction and death are happening every day.

3.      It is extremely long when solutions to problems do not bring relief.


3.      From whom did the Philistines seek counsel about returning the ark? (I Sam. 6:2)


And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord:  tell us wherewith we shall sent it to his place.


A.    They called the priests of Dagon and the diviners.


4.      Define:  diviners (I Sam. 6:2)


A.    Strong (7080):  to distribute, that is, to determine by lot or magic scroll                      :- soothsayer


B.      BDB:  to practice divination, the diviners of the nations


C.     An interesting statement is made about the diviners of Babylon in Ezekiel 21:21.


For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination:  he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.


D.    NOTE:  The lords turned to their “wise” men.  They turned to those who were supposed to be able to consult and hear from their “deities.” 


5.      What kind of offering did the diviners advise to be placed into the ark when it was sent away? (I Sam. 6:3)


And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, sent it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering…


A.    The counselled them to send back a trespass offering.


B.      Trespass offering

1.      Strong (817):  guilt, a fault

2.      BDB:  guilt, offence, compensation (for offence)


C.     The whole process that brought about the “gift” is in consideration.

1.      The Philistines had learned that they had offended God.  They had robbed God of the ark which was rightfully His.

2.      Their offence brought guilt to them.  It was guilt because they had been afflicted.  It was not the guilt of true repentance.

3.      Thus, they sought to recompense the offended one by giving Him a gift, a trespass offering.


6.      T – F    If the people where healed they would know why God’s hand was upon them (I Sam.



…then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.


A.    True


B.      Note:  The priests and diviners were not completely sure. 

1.      “If” they were healed, then they would know.  What would have happened to the priests and diviners if the ark was returned, but the plague continued upon the


2.      It shows the weakness of the priests.  They did not really communicate with the gods who had divine wisdom.  They used their own reasoning and hoped they were right.


7.      “What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him?” (I Sam. 6:4)


Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him?  They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice…


A.    Five golden emerods  (Question:  wouldn’t you like to have seen these images?)


B.      Five golden mice


8.      Why was the number five chosen? (I Sam. 6:4)


…according to the number of the Philistines:  for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.


A.    Everywhere the ark had gone in Philistia, the same plague came upon the people.


B.      The retribution of God was upon the nation.  Thus, the five lords represented the nation.  Five golden emerods and five golden mice would indicate that the entirety of the nation was involved in the return of the ark.  Surely, none of the five would want to be left out.


9.      What is the significance of the mice? (I Sam. 6:4)


A.    This is the first time that we have any information given to us about mice being involved in the plague.


B.      It appears that mice were sent upon the cities.  These mice could carry all kinds of diseases that would infect the Philistines.  On the website, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they list 11 different diseases directly transmitted by such rodents.  They also list 15 other diseases that are indirectly transmitted by mice and other rodents. 


C.     The land of the Philistines was full of sickness, pain, affliction, sorrow and death.


10.  To whom did the lords advise to give glory at this time? (I Sam. 6:5)


Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods and images of your mice that mar the land:  and shall give glory unto the God of Israel…


A.    They advised them to give glory to the God of Israel.


B.      They did not deny that He existed.  They only thought that their gods were more powerful since they had captured the ark in battle.


C.     Their glory was only an acknowledgement that God was powerful and they had suffered at His hand for a wrong they committed against Him.


11.  From what three things did they hope to lighten the hand of God? (I Sam. 6:5)


…peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.


A.    …from off you


B.      …from off your gods


C.     …from off your land


12.  T – F    They were warned not to harden their hearts. (I Sam. 6:6)


Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts…


A.    True


B.      Men have trouble with submission.  For some reason, they will hold on to their pride and be afflicted rather than submit to God and find relief.


13.  Who had hardened their hearts in the past? (I Sam. 6:6)


…as the Egyptians and Phahaoh hardened their hearts?  When he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed.


A.    The Egyptians and Pharaoh


B.      Three times the Bible says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exo. 8:15, 32; 9:34).

Five times the text tells us that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

Seven times in the account of the plagues, God is said to have hardened Pharaoh’s heart.


14.  How was God’s dealings with the Egyptians described by the priests and diviners of the Philistines? (I Sam. 6:6)


A.    The text tells us that “he had wrought wonderfully among them.”

B.      Wrought wonderfully

1.      “Strong (5953): to effect thoroughly; specifically to glean (also figuratively); by implication (in a bad sense) to overdo, that is, maltreat, be saucy to, pain, impose (also literally)”

2.       BDB:  “to act severely, deal with severely, make a fool of someone”


15.  On what was the ark to be taken back to Israel? (I Sam. 6:7)


Now therefore make a new cart…


A.    A new cart


16.  What are “milch kine”? (I Sam. 6:7)


…and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart…


A.    Strong (6510):  heifer


B.      BDB:  cow, heifer


C.     The word “milch” describes them as suckling cows, that is, cows that were feeding calves.



17.  T – F    The cows were to have never worn a yoke. (I Sam. 6:7)


A.    True


B.      This means that they had not been tamed to be used to wearing a yoke.  Getting a cow used to a yoke was a time-consuming process.  Too, the cows when first subjected to the yoke would rebel against it.


18.  What was to be done to the calves of these cows? (I Sam. 6:7)


…and bring their calves home from them.


A.    They were to remove the calves from the heifers.


B.      The cows were mothers and allowed their calves to feed when they were hungry.  If their calves lowed for them, the mothers would seek them out in order to feed them.


19.  Where were the jewels of the trespass offering to be placed? (I Sam. 6:8)


And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.


A.    They were to be put in a coffer.


B.      Then they were to be put beside the ark on the cart.


20.  What was their destination for the ark in the land of Israel? (I Sam. 6:9)


And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-she-mesh…

A.    Beth-she-mesh


B.      Description

1.      A town located about 19 miles west of Jerusalem.

2.      It was a Canaanite city before Israel invaded the land.

3.      The name means:  “house of the sun” or “temple of the sun.”

4.      It was located in the territory of Judah (Josh. 21:16).

5.      It was also one of the Levitical cities given to the tribe of Levi.



See the source image


21.  If the ark made it to Beth-she-mesh, what would the Philistines know? (I Sam. 6:9)


…then he hath done us this great evil…


A.    If it went to this particular city in the land of Israel, they would know that God’s as involved in their affliction.


B.      Remember the tests:

1.      Cows that had never worn a yoke

2.      Cows separate from their milking calves

3.      Take the ark to a particular city, Beth-she-mesh.


22.  If the cows did not take the ark to Beth-she-mesh, what would the Philistines know? (I Sam. 6:9).


…but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.


A.    If the cows took the ark anywhere but Beth-she-mesh, they would know that all that happened to them was by chance and God was not involved therein.


23.  T – F    The Philistines did as their counsellors advised. (I Sam. 6:10-11)


And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home:  and they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of gold.


A.    True


B.      Lesson:  Sometimes the heathen are more obedient to their spiritual leaders than the people of God.


C.     Lesson:  When individuals are desperate, they will do things as they are instructed to do them.


24.  T – F    The kine took the ark to another Philistine city. (I Sam. 6:12).


And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left…


A.    False


B.      Note the description of their travel.

1.      Took the straight way

2.      Lowing as they went (showing they were longing for their calves, but still moving in a forward direction toward Beth-shemesh.)

3.      Tuned not aside to the right hand or to the left


C.     It is interesting that God allowed the test of the Philistine lords and diviners to be carried out to the letter.  He insured that they knew His hand had been upon them.


25.  Who followed the ark to its destination? (I Sam. 6:12)


…and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh.


A.    The lords of the Philistines followed the ark themselves.


B.      They did not leave this to messengers.


C.     It shows how harsh the judgment had been upon Philistine and how much the lords were interested in resolving this situation.
















I Samuel 6:13-21

Victor M. Eskew




1.      Outline:


i.                    I Samuel 6:13-16

ii.                  I Samuel 6:17-18

iii.                I Samuel 6:19-21


2.      To which town did the ark first return? (I Sam. 6:13)



3.      What were the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh doing when the ark returned? (I Sam. 6:13)



4.      How did the people of Beth-shemesh act when they saw the ark? (I Sam. 6:13)



5.      Into whose field did the ark enter? (I Sam. 6:14).



6.      What did the people of Beth-shemesh use to make a burnt offering unto the Lord? (I Sam. 6:14)


7.      What did the Levites remove from the cart? (I Sam. 6:15)






8.      Where did the Levites put these two items? (I Sam. 6:15)



9.      Where did the five lords of the Philistines go when they saw the reception of the ark and the sacrifices that were made by the men of Beth-shemesh? (I Sam. 6:16)



10.  The five golden emrods represented what five cities? (I Sam. 6:17)












11.  T – F    Other cities of Philistia also sent images of golden mice the Israelites. (I Sam. 6:18)



12.  What is the name of the great stone in the field of Joshua? (I Sam. 6:18)



13.  What do the words:  “which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemite,” help us do?



14.  Why did God smite the men of Beth-shemesh? (I Sam. 6:19)



15.  How many people died in the slaughter? (I Sam. 6:19)



16.  How did the people react to this slaughter? (I Sam. 6:19)



17.  What two questions did the men of Beth-shemesh ask because of this slaughter? (I Sam. 6:20)






18.  What does the first question mean? (I Sam. 6:20)




19.  What does the second question mean? (I Sam. 6:20)




20.  Which city was contacted to come and get the ark? (I Sam. 6:21).