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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 6

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-21

1 Samuel 6:1 to 1 Samuel 7:1 . Ark Brought back to Beth-shemesh; Plague Breaks out there; Ark Housed at Kiriath-jearim.

1 Samuel 6:1 may not belong to the main story; 2 would be a better continuation of 1 Samuel 5:12. At the end of the verse LXX adds “ And their land swarmed with mice.” This would prepare for the “ mice” in 1 Samuel 6:4 f., 1 Samuel 6:11, 1 Samuel 6:18. Possibly these references to mice are survivals from a fuller form of the story, in which the mice figured more largely, or mice may have symbolised plague. One doubts whether it was known then that vermin carried the infection.

1 Samuel 6:2 . diviners: qosem (see Deuteronomy 18:10).

1 Samuel 6:3. guilt-offering: asham, here not a sacrifice, but a compensation for injury; so also 2 Kings 12:16; later on in the Priestly Code, a form of sacrifice ( Leviticus 5:6).

1 Samuel 6:4 . tumours: homoeopathic treatment; magic often seeks to control a person or thing by an image thereof. [This is especially the case with disease or loss. The sufferer takes to the sanctuary “ a figure of the diseased part of his body, fashioned of clay, bronze, or wax, and the peasant who has suffered a loss of cattle brings a representation of the animal.” In the animistic stage of thought the image is thought to have a soul. “ Through its immanent psychical power it is to exercise magical coercion over the soul of the god.” See Wundt, Elements of Folk Psychology, pp. 438– 440.— A. S. P.]

1 Samuel 6:6 . wrought wonderfully among them: better “ made a mock of them’ ( mg.) .

1 Samuel 6:8 f. If the kine made straight for the nearest point of Israelite territory, it would show that they were under the control of the God of Israel and that it was His will that the Ark should be returned to its own country.

1 Samuel 6:8 . coffer: The word so translated occurs only in this narrative and its meaning is not certain.

1 Samuel 6:9 . Beth-shemesh: Joshua 15:10, p. 31.

1 Samuel 6:14 . There is no question of limiting sacrifice to the Tabernacle. The great stone may have been a sacred stone, or may have been used as an altar ( 1 Samuel 14:33-35).

1 Samuel 6:15 . Editorial addition; later custom required that Levites should be present, both in connexion with the sacrifice, and as guardians of the Ark. The offering of further sacrifices seems out of place.

1 Samuel 6:16 continues 1 Samuel 6:14.

1 Samuel 6:17 . Gaza: p. 28, Judges 16:1 *.— Ashkelon: see p. 28.

1 Samuel 6:19 . Read ( mg.) with LXX, “ And the sons of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the men of Beth-shemesh when they saw the ark of the Lord, and he smote of them seventy men, and the people mourned, etc.”

1 Samuel 6:20 . Identifies the Ark with Yahweh. “ Holy” here denotes terrible majesty, which brings disaster on those who do not show due reverence.

1 Samuel 6:21 . Kiriath-jearim: see Joshua 9:17.

1 Samuel 7:1 . sanctified: performed certain rites, ablutions, etc., which would be thought necessary to qualify Eleazar to become the custodian or priest of the Ark, and to protect him from its baleful holiness.— The Ark now disappears from the history till 2 Samuel 6:2, which see for its fortunes in the interval. Its presence in 1 Samuel 14:18 is due to a mistake of a scribe. Probably the sanctuary at Shiloh was destroyed at this time, and our documents contained a statement to that effect, which for some reason has been omitted ( cf. Jeremiah 7:12 *).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 6". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-samuel-6.html. 1919.
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