Poole on 1 Samuel 6:13: The Ark's Joyous Return

Verse 13:[1] And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.



[They were reaping wheat] Hebrew: the harvest of wheats[2] (Piscator), of wheat (Junius and Tremellius). The wheat harvest followed the barley harvest by the space of one month. It was lasting to the end of May, and Pentecost was closing it (Drusius). Therefore, since the Ark was in Philistia for seven months,[3] it was taken in the month of November (Menochius out of Sanchez).


[They saw the Ark] Which they were easily recognizing, 1. From its peculiar form. 2. Or from its covering, if it was covered, or from its splendor, if uncovered; since both within and without it was covered with golden plates (Sanchez).


[And they were glad when they had seen it (thus the Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine), לִרְאוֹת] To see (English); in seeing (Jonathan, Montanus, Piscator). Others: in inspecting it, uncovered contrary to the law, Numbers 4:5, whether it was uncovered by them, or by the Philistines (Junius). But in verse 19, mention is made of that curious inspection of the Ark, but by another expression, namely, to look in/on the Ark;[4] that is to inspect and carefully to consider the Ark (Piscator). Because of joy, because the Ark was restored to them so suddenly, and without price, and with such a miracle (Mendoza).

[1] Hebrew: וּבֵ֣ית שֶׁ֔מֶשׁ קֹצְרִ֥ים קְצִיר־חִטִּ֖ים בָּעֵ֑מֶק וַיִּשְׂא֣וּ אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶ֗ם וַיִּרְאוּ֙ אֶת־הָ֣אָר֔וֹן וַֽיִּשְׂמְח֖וּ לִרְאֽוֹת׃ [2] Hebrew: קְצִיר־חִטִּים. [3] 1 Samuel 6:1. [4] 1 Samuel 6:19a: “And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord (רָאוּ֙ בַּאֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֔ה), even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men…”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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