1. And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
2. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us how we shall send it to its place.
3. And they said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but by all means return him a trespass offering: then you shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
4. Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.
5. Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that mar the land; and you shall give glory unto the God of Israel: perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
6. Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had worked wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
7. Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke, and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:
8. And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which you return to him for a trespass offering, in a box by the side of it; and send it away, that it may go.
9. 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.
10. And the men did so; and took two milk cows, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home:
11. And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the box with the mice of gold and the images of their tumors.
12. And the cows took the straight way to the road to Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.
13. And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.
14. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they split the wood of the cart, and offered the cows a burnt offering unto the LORD.
15. And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the box that was with it, in which the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD.
16. And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17. And these are the golden tumors 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;
18. And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, on which they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remains unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.
19. And he struck the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he struck of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had struck many of the people with a great slaughter.
20. And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall it go up from us?
21. And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come down, and bring it up to you.