1 Samuel 6:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance."

New Living Translation
If they cross the border of our land and go to Beth-shemesh, we will know it was the LORD who brought this great disaster upon us. If they don't, we will know it was not his hand that caused the plague. It came simply by chance."

English Standard Version
and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

New American Standard Bible
"Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance."

King James Bible
And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then watch: If it goes up the road to its homeland toward Beth-shemesh, it is the LORD who has made this terrible trouble for us. However, if it doesn't, we will know that it was not His hand that punished us--it was just something that happened to us by chance."

International Standard Version
Keep watching it. If it goes up along the road to its own territory to Beth-shemesh, it's the LORD who has done this great evil to us. But if it does not, then we will know that he wasn't pressuring us. It happened to us as a natural event."

NET Bible
But keep an eye on it. If it should go up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has brought this great calamity on us. But if that is not the case, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us; rather, it just happened to us by accident."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
but then watch where it goes. If it goes up the road to its own country toward Beth Shemesh, then this disaster is the LORD's doing. But if not, we'll know it wasn't his hand that struck us, but what happened to us was an accident."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And see if it goes up by the way of his own border to Bethshemesh, then he has done us this great evil, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was an accident that happened to us.

King James 2000 Bible
And see, if it goes up by the way of its own land to Bethshemesh, then he has done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us: it was by chance that it happened to us.

American King James Version
And see, if it goes up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he has done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us.

American Standard Version
And see; if it goeth up by the way of its own border to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And you shall look: and if it go up by the way of his own coasts towards Bethsames, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, we shall know that it is not his hand hath touched us, but it hath happened by chance.

Darby Bible Translation
And see, if it go up by the way of its own border to Beth-shemesh, it is he who has done us this great evil; if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that touched us; it was a chance [that] happened to us.

English Revised Version
And see, if it goeth up by the way of its own border to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

Webster's Bible Translation
And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know, that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

World English Bible
Behold; if it goes up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it was a chance that happened to us."

Young's Literal Translation
and ye have seen, if the way of its own border it goeth up to Beth-Shemesh -- He hath done to us this great evil; and if not, then we have known that His hand hath not come against us; an accident it hath been to us.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

6:1-9 Seven months the Philistines were punished with the presence of the ark; so long it was a plague to them, because they would not send it home sooner. Sinners lengthen out their own miseries by refusing to part with their sins. The Israelites made no effort to recover the ark. Alas! where shall we find concern for religion prevail above all other matters? In times of public calamity we fear for ourselves, for our families, and for our country; but who cares for the ark of God? We are favoured with the gospel, but it is treated with neglect or contempt. We need not wonder if it should be taken from us; to many persons this, though the heavies of calamities, would occasion no grief. There are multitudes whom any profession would please as well as that of Christianity. But there are those who value the house, the word, and the ministry of God above their richest possessions, who dread the loss of these blessings more than death. How willing bad men are to shift off their convictions, and when they are in trouble, to believe it is a chance that happens; and that the rod has no voice which they should hear or heed!

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - His own coast, or "border." The ark throughout this verse is spoken of as if it were itself a deity. Beth-shemesh - i.e. "the house of the sun," also called Irshemesh, "city of the sun" (Joshua 19:41) - had evidently been in the time of the Canaanites the seat of this popular idolatry. It was now a city of the priests, situated in the tribe of Judah, on its northeastern border, next the tribe of Dan, and was the nearest Israelite town to Ekron. If, then, the kine, albeit unused to the yoke, left their calves behind, and drew the cart by the most direct route unto the land of Judah, they would give the required proof that the Philistines were smitten by the hand of Jehovah, and that it was no chance that had happened unto them.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And see if it goeth up by the way of its own coast to Bethshemesh,.... The nearest city to the land of the Philistines, which lay on their borders, and the borders of the tribe of Judah; see Gill on Joshua 15:10. Now the lords of the Philistines are directed by their priests to observe, whether these kine, that drew the cart on which the ark was, took the direct road to the borders of the land of Israel, and to Bethshemesh, the nearest city that lay on that coast: if so, they might conclude then,

he hath done us this great evil; that is, the God of Israel, whose ark this was; he had inflicted the disease of the emerods on them, and sent such numbers of mice into their fields, that had destroyed the increase of them:

but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that hath smote us; but that there is some other cause of it:

it was a chance that happened to us; and so might have been the case if the ark had never been taken or detained, and to be imputed to fate, or to the stars, or some secret causes they know not of.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9-12. Beth-shemesh—that is, "house of the sun," now Ain Shems [Robinson], a city of priests in Judah, in the southeast border of Dan, lying in a beautiful and extensive valley. Josephus says they were set a-going near a place where the road divided into two—the one leading back to Ekron, where were their calves, and the other to Beth-shemesh. Their frequent lowings attested their ardent longing for their young, and at the same time the supernatural influence that controlled their movements in a contrary direction.

1 Samuel 6:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Ark Returned to Israel
8"Take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. 9"Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance." 10Then the men did so, and took two milch cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home.…
Cross References
Joshua 15:10
Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah.

Joshua 21:16
Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands--nine towns from these two tribes.

1 Samuel 6:3
They answered, "If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift; by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you."

1 Samuel 6:10
So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves.

1 Samuel 6:12
Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.

Ecclesiastes 9:11
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
Treasury of Scripture

And see, if it goes up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he has done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us.

Beth-shemesh

Joshua 15:10 And the border compassed from Baalah westward to mount Seir, and …

Joshua 21:16 And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh …

he. or, it

Amos 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? …

we shall

1 Samuel 6:3 And they said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, send …

not his hand

Isaiah 26:11 LORD, when your hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall …

a chance

2 Samuel 1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance on …

2 Samuel 1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance on …

Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, …

Luke 10:31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when …

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