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THE ARK COMES TO BETH-SHEMESH
I Samuel 6:13-21
Victor M. Eskew
i. REJOICING AND SACRIFICE: THE ARK IS BACK (I Sam. 6:13-16)
ii. GOLDEN EMRODS AND GOLDEN MICE: THE OFFERING ACCEPTED (I Sam. 6:17-18)
iii. PUNISHMENT AND MESSENGERS: THE MEN DISOBEY (I Sam. 6:19-21)
2. To which town did the ark first return? (I Sam. 6:13)
And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping in their wheat harvest in the valley…
3. What were the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh doing when the ark returned? (I Sam. 6:13)
A. They were reaping in their wheat harvest in the valley.
B. It had been seven months since the ark was taken. The people throughout Israel had returned to their normal activities.
C. We never expect the unexpected.
We never anticipate the extraordinary during the ordinary.
We never look for the thing we should desire the most.
4. How did the people of Beth-shemesh act when they saw the ark? (I Sam. 6:13)
…and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
A. They rejoiced.
1. Strong (8055): to brighten up, to be gleesome
2. BDB: to rejoice, be glad, exult
5. Into whose field did the ark enter? (I Sam. 6:14)
And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone…
A. Joshua, a Beth-shemite
B. This is the only mention that we have of this Joshua in Scripture. One event in the history of Israel wrote his name on the pages of eternity.
6. What did the people of Beth-shemesh use to make a burnt offering unto the Lord? (I Sam. 6:14)
…and they cleaved the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the Lord.
A. They used the cart and the two milch kine sent by the lords of the Philistines.
B. Clarke: “Both the cart and the cattle having been thus employed, could no longer be devoted to any secular services…”
C. The trespass offering was now turned into a thank-offering unto God.
1. “In the burnt-offerings they consecrated themselves afresh, with all their members, to the service of the Lord; and in the slain-offerings, which culminated in the sacrificial meals, they sealed anew their living fellowship with the Lord” (K&D, e-sword).
2. “The offering of these sacrifices at Bethshemesh was no offence against the commandment, to sacrifice to the Lord at the place of His sanctuary alone. The ark of the covenant was the throne of the gracious presence of God, before which the sacrifices were really offered at the tabernacle” (K&D, e-sword).
7. What did the Levites remove from the cart? (I Sam. 6:15)
And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were…
A. They took down the ark
B. They took down the coffer with the jewels given by the lords of the Philistines.
8. Where did the Levites put these two items? (I Sam. 6:15)
…and put them on the great stone…
A. They put the ark and the jewels on the great stone.
B. We know nothing about this stone other than its name (See I Sam. 6:18, the great stone of Abel).
1. How it got into the field, we do not know.
2. What purpose it served, we do not know.
3. Exactly how large it was, we do not know.
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)
And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
A. They returned to Ekron.
B. These men left that scene with great relief. Now the hand of God was removed from them. What had brought them joy, the ark, when it came into their possession now brought them joy as they saw it leave from their possession.
10. The five golden emrods represented what five cities? (I Sam. 6:17)
And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the Lord; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one.
11. T – F Other cities of Philistia also sent images of golden mice to the Israelites. (I Sam. 6:18)
And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages…
B. The priest and diviners had suggested just five mice. The lord of the Philistines, however, thought it good to send an image of all the towns that had been impacted by the invading mice, fenced cities and country villages included.
C. This verse does not contradict I Samuel 6:4. It only presents additional information. Remember, we did not read of the mice in chapter 5. It was not until chapter six that they are revealed. The more we read, the more we learn about the destruction that came upon Philistia.
12. What is the name of the great stone in the field of Joshua? (I Sam. 6:18)
…even unto the great stone of Abel…
A. The great stone of Abel
B. We do not know which Abel this was, nor do we know why it was named after him.
13. What do the words: “which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemite,” help us do?
A. To some extent they help us date the book.
B. The writer indicates that some time had passed between the event he is reporting and the time of the writing of the book itself.
14. Why did God smite the men of Beth-shemesh? (I Sam. 6:19)
And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord…
A. “Because they had looked into the ark of the Lord…”
B. It is not surprising that some of the men might have been curious about the contents of the ark. Had the Philistines touched anything within? Had they removed the tables of stone? Was anything therein broken? Thus, they opened the ark.
C. The ark was not to be touched with human hands (Num. 4:15)
And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.
15. How many people died in the slaughter? (I Sam. 6:19)
…even he smote of the people fifty thousand and three score and ten men…
B. Most believe that this number reflects a corruption that entered into the text.
1. Beth-shemesh was a small town, approximately 7,000 people.
2. Over 50,000 people were not working in the field.
3. It is thought that the 50,000 is an addition.
a. “As it is very improbable that the village of Beth-shemesh should contain, or be
capable of employing, 50,070 men in the fields at wheat harvest, much less that they
could all peep into the ark, and from the uncommon manner in which it is expressed
in the original, it is generally allowed that there is some corruption in the text, or that
some explanatory word is omitted.” (e-sword).
b. Most likely 70 men approached the ark with the intent of looking into the ark.
16. How did the people react to this slaughter? (I Sam. 6:19)
…and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten men of the people with a great slaughter.
A. The people lamented
1. Strong (56): to bewail :- mourn
2. BDB: mourn, lament
C. LESSON: If men would obey the Lord, they would have less suffering and less sorrow.
D. LESSON: We have seen that God is a God of severe punishment.
1. Israel was twice defeated in battle.
2. The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed.
3. The ark of God was captured and taken into Philistine territory.
4. The cities of Ashdod, Gath and Ekron were tormented.
5. A plague of mice was sent throughout the land of Philistia.
6. God slew several men of Israel for looking into the ark of God.
17. What two questions did the men of Beth-shemesh ask because of this slaughter? (I Sam. 6:20)
And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? And to whom shall he go up from us?
A. Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?
B. To whom shall he go up from us?
18. What does the first question mean? (I Sam. 6:20)
A. Once the men of Beth-shemesh had been slain, the people recognized their error. They had violated one of the holy things of God.
B. The punishment reminded them that no man can stand and defy this holy God of Israel.
19. What does the second question mean? (I Sam. 6:20)
A. The second question shows that they were not planning on keeping the ark of God. They were already questioning where they wanted to send the ark.
B. To whom (the next group of people) shall he (God as represented by the ark) go up from us.
20. Which city was contacted to come and get the ark? (I Sam. 6:21)
And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the Lord; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.
THE ARK, THE IDOLS, THE PHILISTINES, THE JUDGE
From Kirjath-jearim to Ramah and In Between
I Samuel 7:1-17
Victor M. Eskew
i. I Samuel 7:1-2
ii. I Samuel 7:3-6
iii. I Samuel 7:7-14
iv. I Samuel 7:15-17
2. To whose house did the men of Kirjath-jearim take the ark of the Lord? (I Sam. 7:1)
3. Who kept the ark of the Lord? (I Sam. 7:1)
4. How long did the ark stay in Kirjah-jearim? (I Sam. 7:2)
5. Why did the children of Israel lament during that time? (I Sam. 7:2)
6. What was Samuel’s first instruction to the house of Israel as he led the nation in repentance? (I Sam. 7:3)
7. What two things did he exhort them to put away from among them? (I Sam. 7:3)
8. “…and _____________________ your hearts unto the Lord, and ___________________ him only” (I Sam. 7:3)
9. T – F The children of Israel did as Samuel instructed them to do. (I Sam. 7:4).
10. Define: Baalim
11. Where did Samuel tell the children of Israel to gather so he could pray for them? (I Sam. 7:5)
12. What is the significance of drawing water and pouring it out? (I Sam. 7:6)
13. T – F The children of Israel refused to fast on that day. (I Sam. 7:6)
14. What admission did Israel make to the Lord? (I Sam. 7:6)
15. What did the Philistines do when they heard Israel was at Mizpeh? (I Sam. 7:8)
16. What was the emotional reaction that Israel had when they heard about the Philistines? (I Sam. 7:8).
17. What request did Israel make of Samuel when the Philistines came against them? (I Sam. 7:8)
18. What did Samuel offer as a burnt offering unto the Lord? (I Sam. 7:9).
19. T – F The Lord did not hear the cry of Samuel on that occasion. (I Sam. 7:9)
20. How did God thwart the Philistine army? (I Sam. 7:10)
21. Define: discomfited (I Sam. 7:10)
22. How far did the Israelites pursue after the Philistines? (I Sam. 7:11)
23. Where did Samuel place the memorial stone after Israel’s victory (I Sam. 7:12)
24. What did he call the name of the place? (I Sam. 7:12)
25. What does that name mean? (I Sam. 7:12)
26. T – F After this battle, the Philistines came no more into the coast of Israel. (I Sam. 7:13).
27. How long did their absence from Israel last? (I Sam. 7:13)
28. What cities that had been under Philistine control were returned to Israel? (I Sam. 7:14).
29. “And there was _______________________ between Israel and the Amorites” (I Sam. 7:14).
30. T – F Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. (I Sam. 7:15).
31. What three cities made up the circuit of Samuel’s travel? (I Sam. 7:16)
A. B. C.
32. Where did Samuel live (I Sam. 7:17)
33. Where was the altar of the Lord built? (I Sam. 7:17)