Poole on 1 Samuel 6:4: Golden Hemorrhoids and Mice



Verse 4:[1] Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, (see 1 Sam. 6:17, 18; Josh. 13:3; Judg. 3:3) according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all (Heb. them all[2]), and on your lords.


[What is it? etc.] What the Priests had declared in a confusing manner, the Philistines desired to be explained more clearly; as if they desired to do nothing except at the direction of the Priests (Mendoza).


What shall be the trespass-offering? they desire particular information, because they were ignorant of the nature and manner of the worship of Israel’s God, and they might easily understand that there were some kinds of offerings which God would not accept.



[According to the number of the provinces, etc., מִסְפַּר֙ סַרְנֵ֣י וגו׳] The number of the satraps (Montanus). According to the number, etc. (Septuagint, Munster, Pagnine). According to (or, of [Junius and Tremellius]) the number (Syriac, Arabic). This region was πεντάπολις, a pentapolis, and had five Princes. Who, by a term proper to the Philistines, are called סַרְנִים/sarnim in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Chronicles. Which in Hebrew would be שָׂרִים/ sarim/rulers, as it is explained in 1 Samuel 29:9[3] (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:36:368). In the place of satraps the Vulgate has provinces. I suspect that this is an error. For there was only one province (Drusius).



[Ye shall make five golden anuses, עָפְלֵ֣י זָהָ֔ב] Piles, or hemorrhoids (or anuses [Pagnine, Drusius, Munster], or fundaments [Syriac, Tigurinus], seats [Septuagint]) of gold (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Dutch, Osiander, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals). Question 1: Of what sort was this figure? Responses: 1. Antonius Sabellicus[4] says that they were likenesses of those five cities (Mendoza). 2. Others maintain that they were likenesses of men (thus Hugo Cardinalis and Dionysius Carthusianus in Mendoza, Josephus in Sanchez). Perhaps not incorrectly; for otherwise it does not appear how, from a figure separated and alone, it could be known what this appearance, unusual and removed by nature from the eyes of men, might mean. But in human form that swollen and diseased part could be expressed; and the structure itself would show the sort of disease. 3. Still others commonly, and, in my opinion, more rightly, separate that part from the whole body; and fashion that into a circular form; to which a swelling by hemorrhoids is added, and what things are not wont to be wanting from that disease, when the rawness grew very severe (Sanchez). Five hemorrhoids, that is, images of hemorrhoids. Metonymy of subject (Piscator). Seats, or fundaments, with hemorrhoids, or piles, as in verses 11, 17 (Malvenda out of Junius). Question 2: But why did they consecrate so abject and sordid an image (Martyr, Sanchez)? Response 1: Their deformity and disgrace, which they have from their sin, they thus set before the Ark; and their ignominy they acknowledge in a ceremonial form; so that they might obtain the pardon of their sins from God, and turn aside the severity of the punishment (Sanchez). In this manner, 1. They acknowledge their faults in those anuses, as in signs. 2. And they signifity that punishments sent by God are to be willingly received. They do not withdraw their bodies from the blows, but they expose and lay bare their backs to their stokes; they offer themselves as ready to suffer; and they rouse God to His mercy. 3. They wanted to signify the ignominious punishment of ignominious sin; and that the shame of both is going to be present with them always, to which they testify by these things as perpetual monuments. See Psalm 78:66. These gifts, deformed and certainly to be blushed at, were begetting great shame in the Philistines, and were preserving it perpetually (Mendoza). It is a filthy and shameful thing, to show one laboring under such a disease, to show that disgraceful part. And God sometimes threatens that He is going to uncover the secret parts of His people, because they glory in their strength, Isaiah 3:17, 18; Jeremiah 13:26; Ezekiel 16:37. But the Philistines not only showed the private parts of their bodies, but they also made relics of them; and they showed those parts openly, as it were, dripping gore; so that to every age they might be a spectacle and example of the judgments of God, and might lie open to the reproach of all. In which ways God subdues the obstinacy of the dispisers of His Majesty (Calvin). Response 2: They offer these things as an expiatory offering for the plague of their anuses, etc. Thus are wont to be offered to the holy ones the likenesses of the members, the health of which we receive from them, as if things anathematized (Lapide). The ancients, having done with some fear or danger, were wont to consecrate emblems and monuments of the past evils to those God by