Poole on 1 Samuel 6:8: God or Chance? (Part 2)

Verse 8:[1] And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put (1 Sam. 6:4, 5) the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.



[And ye shall take up the Ark of the Lord, יְהוָה] Here, the Gentiles make use of the proper name of God (Drusius). They were compelled by their calamity to acknowledge the true God (Mendoza out of Cajetan).


[And ye shall lay it] They do not say, and bind it fast, for the greater evidence of the miracle. Dagon, bound fast on his own altar, toppled: but the Ark, unbound on a cart, stood immovable. Question: But why are not the Philistines punished, as Uzzah was, because he placed the Ark on a car, 2 Samuel 6:3, 6? Response: The Levites were bound to bear it upon their shoulders. Not so the Philistines (Mendoza). [See on verse 7.]


[In the cart[2]] Or, upon the cart. אֶל/to in the place of ב/in or עַל/upon (Drusius).


Lay it upon the cart; which God winked at in them, both because they were ignorant of God’s law to the contrary, and because they had no Levites to carry it upon their shoulders.



[And the vessels of gold[3]] [Thus nearly all interpreters.] For vessel has an extremely broad signification among the Hebrews (Menochius). It signifies any instrument. Thus the vessels of the Psalm, Psalm 71:22,[4] that is, the organs. Vessels of death, Psalm 7:13,[5] that is, darts. See also Genesis 27:3;[6] 1 Samuel 31:4[7] (Mendoza). Those instruments of gold (Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda), that is, the anuses and mice of gold (Vatablus, Menochius).


[And ye shall place them in a coffer, בָאַרְגַּז] This word is rare, which they interpret as תֵּיבָה/ark/chest, Jonathan among others. They render it variously. Aquila: ἐν ὕφει κουρᾶς, in cloth of hair (Drusius). In a woven work of wool and hair. Evidently Aquila took אֶרְגַּז as a composite of אֶרֶג/fabric and גֵּז/wool. For the Septuagint thus renders גֵּז/fleece by κουρὰ/wool, in Deuteronomy 18:4; Job 31:20 (Buxtorf’s Vindication[8] 2:9:699). In a basket (Syriac). In a satchel (Arabic); in a chest, or little casket (Pagnine, Montanus, Drusius, Castalio, Dutch, English, Junius and Tremellius, Munster). In a box (Symmachus in Menodoza); in a little ark (Vatablus in Mendoza); in a compartment or pouch (Josephus in Mendoza); into a Little Ark (Tigurinus). Some derive it from אָרַג, to weave, as if a woven thing, namely, a box, a wicker basket; a vessel woven from shoots, or reeds, or other material (Malvenda). Others derive it from the Ethiopic רגז, to bore, Matthew 27:60, from the digging and hollowing out, which is in coffers (Dieu).


[At its side[9] (thus Pagnine, Syriac, Tigurinus, Munster, Osiander)] From (or in [Jonathan]) its side (Montanus). At the saide of the cart (Arabic). At the side of the Ark (Osiander). Not upon the Ark, since the Ark was the seat of God: Not within the Ark, both because they Philistines were not daring to open it on account of reverence; and because they desired that their own gifts might appear conspicuously to the Hebrews: but, if they had been within the Ark, they would have lain hidden perpetually: since the Hebrews were never opening it. At what price the Israelites valued this coffer, is evident from these words of Galatinus,[10] Concerning Arcane Things[11] 4:9, It is tradition that, since the Ark was taken away, taken away with it was the pot…and the rod of Aaron…and the coffer that the Philistines had sent, etc. (Mendoza).


In a coffer by the side thereof; for they durst not presume to open the ark, to put them within it.



[And release it that it might go[12]] Without a guide, without a driver, wherever instinct might carry it. Josephus, Theodoret, and Philo of Byblos add that the cows were set at an intersection of three roads, so that, from the ambiguity of the way, they might be rendered less certain how to proceed. Which is not obscurely gathered, as Tostatus notes out of the following verse, by the way of the borders, etc., as if at an intersection of other roads (Mendoza).

[1] Hebrew: וּלְקַחְתֶּ֞ם אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֗ה וּנְתַתֶּ֤ם אֹתוֹ֙ אֶל־הָ֣עֲגָלָ֔ה וְאֵ֣ת׀ כְּלֵ֣י הַזָּהָ֗ב אֲשֶׁ֙ר הֲשֵׁבֹתֶ֥ם לוֹ֙ אָשָׁ֔ם תָּשִׂ֥ימוּ בָאַרְגַּ֖ז מִצִּדּ֑וֹ וְשִׁלַּחְתֶּ֥ם אֹת֖וֹ וְהָלָֽךְ׃ [2] Hebrew: אֶל־הָעֲגָלָה. [3] Hebrew: וְאֵ֣ת׀ כְּלֵ֣י הַזָּהָ֗ב. [4] Psalm 71:22: “I will also praise thee with the psaltery (בִכְלִי־נֶבֶל, the vessels of the Psalm), even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.” [5] Psalm 7:13: “He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death (כְּלֵי־מָוֶת); he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” [6] Genesis 27:3: “Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons (כֵלֶיךָ, thy vessels/ instruments), thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison…” [7] 1 Samuel 31:4: “Then said Saul unto his armour-bearer (לְנֹשֵׂ֙א כֵלָ֜יו), Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour-bearer (נֹשֵׂ֣א כֵלָ֔יו) would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” [8]Anticritica: seu Vindiciæ Veritatis Hebraicæ Adversus Ludovici Cappelli Criticam quam Vocat Sacram. [9] Hebrew: מִצִּדּוֹ. [10] Petrus Galatinus, or Pietro Colonna Galatino (1460-1540), was an Italian Franciscan, theologian, and Orientalist. With Reuchlin, he was an advocate for the authority and authenticity of the Hebrew original. [11]De Arcanis Catholicæ Veritatis. [12] Hebrew: וְשִׁלַּחְתֶּ֥ם אֹת֖וֹ וְהָלָֽךְ׃.