1 Samuel 5-6
Chapter 5: The Ark in the House of Dagon
The Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in the House of Dagon, who was their god, next to the statue of Dagon.
The next morning they come in to find that Dagon has fallen off its stand and is lying on the floor face first. So they place Dagon back and the next morning they again find the statue of Dagon out of place, but this time the palms of his hands were cut off and his head were cut off. Only a stump of Dagon was left. So they take the Ark of the Covenant away from Ashdod to Gath and then finally to Ekron, everywhere it went there was destruction and plagues.
Chapter 6: Don’t Look into the Ark of God
The Philistines decide it is time to get rid of the Ark of the Covenant, because it has caused nothing but trouble amongst them. They decide that even though this belongs to a “god” (The Lord God) that they don’t believe in, they start to show a little respect for this “god” which is the Lord God, because of the great power God has. So they call all of their priests together and decide how to return the Ark properly.
The Priests decide that it should go back to the Israelites in the following way:
- It should not come back empty. It needs to have a Trespass Offering with it
- The Offering is to be sent with a set of golden tumours and rats, representing the plague that was sent among them.
- Because the plagues hit the normal people of Philistines and the Leaders they send one golden tumour and rat for each leader (5 in all)
- They load up all of this into a cart and yoke two cows to it. The two cows are to be set free; if the cows head to Israel then the Philistines will know that it was the Lord who did all of this, and if they don’t head towards Israel the Philistines will know that it was all by chance that the Ark caused some much devastation
The cows, once set free go straight for Israel without turning right of left. When the cows come in among Israel they rejoice and chop up the cart and sacrifice the cows as burnt offerings. The Ark gets put up on top of a rock. 70 people however of the Israelites look into the Ark (which is forbidden) and are killed for disobeying. So the Israelites get nervous and ask God where to send it, they end up sending the Ark for Kiriath Jearim where it is put into the house of someone named Abinadab and a man name Eleazer is set over it, to guard it.