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Poole on 1 Samuel 6:10, 11: God or Chance? (Part 4)

Verse 10:[1] And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home…

[They shut them up at home, כָּל֥וּ בַבָּֽיִת׃] They confined them in the house (Montanus, Vatablus), that is, in their usual stable: so that the cows, being mindful of their calves, might return to their place (Vatablus). One might be able to suspect that the כָּלוּ is the same thing as כָּלְאוּ, they confined;[2] just as elsewhere מָלוּ[3] is put in the place of מָלְאוּ, they are full;[4] and נָשׂוּ[5] in the place of נָשְׂאוּ, they lifted up[6] (Drusius). The Septuagint in the Sixtine edition has, their calves they dragged off to the house. As if they tore them away, having been attached to the teats of their mothers, with great violence, and led them off to the stall, so that the mothers might be touched with a greater sense of sorrow, and might be more strongly pressed to return (Mendoza).

Verse 11:[7] And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.

[And the similitudes of the anuses, וְאֵ֖ת צַלְמֵ֥י טְחֹרֵיהֶֽם׃] With the likenesses, or images, of their anuses (Syriac, Munster, similarly Castalio, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). [The אֶת[8] they translate as with, as it often is done elsewhere.] A Metonymy of subject, or a metonymical synecdoche of member, wherein an adjunct is understood together with the subject (Piscator). [See what things are on verse 5.[9]] The Scholiast of Aristophanes[10] on The Acharnians relates that something similar was done by the Athenians, Μηνίσαντος γὰρ τοῦ Θεοῦ, etc., God had sent a disease upon the privy parts of men, which was not able to be healed, until at the command of God they prepared for themselves, both privately and publicly, phalluses, etc. (Grotius). Therefore, it is not to be thought that this suggestion was not from God, because this image appears shameful; for He granted this as a perpetual monument of what happened, for the glory of God, and the everlasting disgrace of the Philistines (Estius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲשׂ֤וּ הָאֲנָשִׁים֙ כֵּ֔ן וַיִּקְח֗וּ שְׁתֵּ֤י פָרוֹת֙ עָל֔וֹת וַיַּאַסְר֖וּם בָּעֲגָלָ֑ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵיהֶ֖ם כָּל֥וּ בַבָּֽיִת׃ [2] The expected form. For example, Haggai 1:10: “Therefore the heavens over you are stayed (כָּלְאוּ) from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.” [3] For example, Ezekiel 28:16a: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled (מָלוּ) the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned…” [4] For example, Genesis 29:21: “And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled (מָלְאוּ), that I may go in unto her.” [5] For example, Ezekiel 39:26: “After that they have borne (וְנָשׂוּ) their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me…” [6] For example, 2 Samuel 18:28b: “…Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up (נָשְׂאוּ) their hand against my lord the king.” [7] Hebrew: וַיָּשִׂ֛מוּ אֶת־אֲר֥וֹן יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־הָעֲגָלָ֑ה וְאֵ֣ת הָאַרְגַּ֗ז וְאֵת֙ עַכְבְּרֵ֣י הַזָּהָ֔ב וְאֵ֖ת צַלְמֵ֥י טְחֹרֵיהֶֽם׃ [8]אֶת normally serves as the direct object marker. [9] 1 Samuel 6:5: “Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice (צַלְמֵ֙י עָפְלֵיכֶ֜ם [טְחֹרֵיכֶ֜ם (Qere)] וְצַלְמֵ֣י עַכְבְּרֵיכֶ֗ם) that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.” [10] Aristophanes (c. 448-c. 385 BC) was an Athenian comic playwright.

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