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Poole on 1 Samuel 6:7: God or Chance? (Part 1)

Verse 7:[1] Now therefore make (2 Sam. 6:3) a new cart, and take two milch kine, (Num. 19:2) on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them…

[Take and make,[2] etc.] By the language of taking they commend swiftness in execution, etc. (Menochius). Hebrew: take and make one new cart and two cows (Piscator); ἐμπλοκὴ, a braiding, of words (Junius). A Trajection (Piscator). Make a cart…and take cows (Junius and Tremellius).

[A new cart] For they were judging it unbecoming to place the Ark on a cart that had served rustic uses. Thus David made use of a new cart, 2 Samuel 6:3 (Estius, Sanchez). Thus Christ was buried in a new tomb, Luke 23:53, and chose the colt of an ass, upon which no one had previously sat, Mark 11:2 (Sanchez). Although they were especially anxious over the speed of the restitution, they judged that time was to be taken in the making of a new cart: because diligent care for divine worship is indeed to be hastened, but not to be rushed. Moreover, they were making a cart: 1. Because they knew that the Hebrews made use of carts in carrying the burdens of the Sanctuary, Numbers 7:3. 2. They did not have Levites, upon whose shoulders they might impose it, neither were they bound by that law; perhaps they did not even know it. 3. From the course of the cows they wanted conduct an experiment (Mendoza).

Make a new cart; as David did for the same use, 2 Samuel 6:3, in reverence to the ark.

[And two cows fœtas, pregnant or recently having given birth] The ancient Italians called them fordæ,[3] as Varro testifies[4] (Grotius).

[עָלוֹת[5]] Fœtas (Vatablus). They are called fœtæ by the Latins, both those that are pregnant, and those that recently gave birth (Piscator, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:30:298). Rather, lactating (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, Drusius, Piscator, Hebrew in Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals). Having first given birth (Septuagint). This was making for a miracle, because, although they were having calves at home that were suckling, they did not return home (Drusius).

[On which no yoke was imposed[6]] Ἀδμῆτας/unbroken, not joined (Grotius). This is the other condition, the reason for which is twofold: 1. For the honor of the Ark, as was mentioned concerning the new cart. 2. For evidence of the miracle. For untamed cows shake off the yoke, leap from roads, and roam freely: while cows accustomed to the yoke are familiar with roads, and proceed by them more directly and calmly (Mendoza).

On which there hath come no yoke; partly in respect to the ark, and partly for the better discovery, because such untamed heifers are wanton, and apt to wander, and keep no certain and constant paths, as oxen accustomed to the yoke do, and therefore were most unlikely to keep the direct road to Israel’s land.

[And draw their calves home, וַהֲשֵׁיבֹתֶ֧ם בְּנֵיהֶ֛ם מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶ֖ם הַבָּֽיְתָה׃] And ye shall lead back (return ye [Syriac, Arabic]). The sons (calves [Munster, Tigurinus, Arabic, Piscator, Drusius), young [Arabic]) of them from after them (which are after them [Pagnine], from the back of them, that is, following them [Tigurinus Notes]) toward home (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, similarly Munster, Tigurinus). Their young ye shall lead back home, so that they might not follow them (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: from after them; that is, from that place which is behind them (Piscator). After they have been joined to the cart, then drive back the calves from them toward home (Osiander). Draw them into the stable (Vatablus); so that, being shut up at home, they might recall their mothers by their lowing. The Royal and the Sixtine (Bibles) have, and their sons lead from behind, or from after, them home. As if they wanted them to be violently removed from the presence of their mothers, whence the mothers would be agitated with greater feeling (Mendoza).

Bring their calves home from them; which would stir up natural affection in their dams, and cause them rather to return home, than to go to a strange country.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה קְח֙וּ וַעֲשׂ֜וּ עֲגָלָ֤ה חֲדָשָׁה֙ אֶחָ֔ת וּשְׁתֵּ֤י פָרוֹת֙ עָל֔וֹת אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־עָלָ֥ה עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם עֹ֑ל וַאֲסַרְתֶּ֤ם אֶת־הַפָּרוֹת֙ בָּעֲגָלָ֔ה וַהֲשֵׁיבֹתֶ֧ם בְּנֵיהֶ֛ם מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶ֖ם הַבָּֽיְתָה׃ [2] 1 Samuel 6:7a: “Now therefore take and make (קְח֙וּ וַעֲשׂ֜וּ) a new cart, and two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke…” [3] The Fordicidia was an ancient Roman festival, celebrated on April 15, in honor of Tellus, the Earth Mother, as a part of the fertility ceremonies of the spring. Its principal rite was the sacrifice of the fordæ, pregnant cows. [4] On Agriculture 2. [5]עוּל signifies to give suck. [6] Hebrew: אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־עָלָ֥ה עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם עֹ֑ל.

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