1 Samuel 6:17
And these are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
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(17) The golden emerods.—The offering of the golden emerods (or tumours), including one for each of the five principal cities. In the preceding chapter only Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron are mentioned as abiding places of the Ark, but there is no doubt that during the “seven months” the sacred chest was for a long or short period located in each of the five towns, in the Dagon temple which each of the cities possessed.

6:10-18 These two kine knew their owner, their great Owner, whom Hophin and Phinehas knew not. God's providence takes notice even of brute creatures, and serves its own purposes by them. When the reapers saw the ark, they rejoiced; their joy for that was greater than the joy of harvest. The return of the ark, and the revival of holy ordinances, after days of restraint and trouble, are matters of great joy.The word "Levites" here probably means priests Exodus 4:14, sons of Levi, since Bethshemesh was one of the cities of the priests Joshua 21:13-16. The burnt offering of the kine was not in any sense the offering of the men of Bethshemesh, but rather of the Philistine lords to whom the cart and the kine belonged. But the Bethshemites themselves, in token of their gratitude for such a signal mercy, now offered both burnt offerings and sacrifices, probably peace offerings, and doubtless feasted together with great joy and gladness (see 1 Kings 8:62-66; Ezra 6:16-17). There is nothing whatever in the text to indicate that these sacrifices were offered otherwise than in the appointed way by the priests. 17, 18. And these are the golden emerods … and the mice—There were five representative images of the emerods, corresponding to the five principal cities of the Philistines. But the number of the golden mice must have been greater, for they were sent from the walled towns as well as the country villages. No text from Poole on this verse. And these are the golden emerods, which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the Lord,.... Along with the ark:

for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon, one, for Gath one, for Ekron one; which were the five principalities of the Philistines that belonged to the five lords before mentioned; and each of these were at the expense of a golden emerod, and sent it along with the ark to make atonement for the offence they had been guilty of in taking and detaining it.

And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for {i} Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;

(i) These were the five principal cities of the Philistines, which were not all conquered to the time of David.

17, 18. We have here a specific description of the propitiatory offering actually sent; (a) a golden “boil” for each chief city: (b) a golden mouse for each city and village throughout the whole country. The apparent discrepancy between the latter statement and 1 Samuel 6:4 vanishes if we regard 1 Samuel 6:4 as merely the proposal of the priests, and 1 Samuel 6:18 as a description of what was actually done. The reason for the offering of mice from the whole country probably was that the plague of mice had ravaged the whole country, while the pestilence was chiefly confined to the great cities.

fenced cities] Fortified or walled cities, contrasted with the “country villages” or unwalled towns. Cp. Deuteronomy 3:5.

even unto the great [stone of] Abel] If the present Heb. text is correct, Abel (= “lamentation”) must be regarded as a proper name given to the great stone in Joshua’s field from the lamentation for the disaster recorded in 1 Samuel 6:19. But there is no mention of such a name having been given to it: it is scarcely natural that this stone should be taken as the boundary of the land of the Philistines: and the sentence as it stands is ungrammatical. It seems best to follow the Targum and Sept. in reading “stone” instead of Abel, and to make a slight further alteration of the text, by which we obtain good sense and grammar: either (a) “And the great stone whereon they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness unto this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemeshite.” (Cp. Genesis 31:52): or (b) “The great stone … remaineth unto this day.”Verses 17, 18. - The golden emerods. We have here and in ver. 18 an enumeration of the gifts differing from, without being at variance with, that in ver. 4. They are still five golden emerods, for which the name here is not ophalim, but tehorim, the word always read in the synagogue (see 1 Samuel 5:6). From its use in the cognate languages it is pretty certain that it is rightly translated in our version. But besides these there were golden mice, according to the number of all the cities, etc. The priests had named only five mice, one for each of the lords of the Philistines; but the eagerness of the people outran their suggestion, and not only the fenced towns, but even the unwalled villages sent their offering, lest they should still be chastised. Country villages. Literally, "the village" or "hamlet of the Perazi." The Septuagint, a trustworthy authority in such matters, makes the Perazi the same as the Perizzite. Both words really signify "the inhabitant of the lowland," i.e. of the plain country of Phoenicia; but from Zechariah 2:4, where Perazoth is translated "towns without walls," and from Ezekiel 38:11, where it is rendered "unwalled villages," we may conclude that it had come popularly to mean an open village, though literally, in both these places, it means "the hamlets of the lowland." Even unto the great stone of Abel, etc. All this part of the verse is exceedingly corrupt, and requires large interpolations to obtain from it any meaning. Both the Vulgate and the Syriac retain the unmeaning word Abel; but the Septuagint gives us what is probably the true reading: "and the great stone whereon they set the ark of Jehovah, which is in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemeshite, is a witness unto this day" (comp. Genesis 31:52; Isaiah 30:8). The God of Israel actually did what the idolatrous priests hardly considered possible. When the Philistines, in accordance with the advice given them by their priests, had placed the ark of the covenant and the expiatory gifts upon the cart to which the two cows were harnessed, "the cows went straight forward on the way to Bethshemesh; they went along a road going and lowing (i.e., lowing the whole time), and turned not to the right or to the left; and the princes of the Philistines went behind them to the territory of Bethshemesh." בּדּרך ישּׁרנה, lit., "they were straight in the way," i.e., they went straight along the road. The form ישּׁרנה for יישׁרנה is the imperf. Kal, third pers. plur. fem., with the preformative י instead of ת, as in Genesis 30:38 (see Ges. 47, Anm. 3; Ewald, 191, b.). Bethshemesh, the present Ain-shems, was a priests' city on the border of Judah and Dan (see at Joshua 15:10).
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