The Story of Redemption


Returned to Israel

Some were not in favor of this. It was too humiliating to carry back the ark, and they urged that no one of the Philistines would dare venture his life to carry the ark of the God of Israel, which had brought such death upon them. Their counselors entreated the people not to harden their hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh had done, and cause still greater afflictions and plagues to come upon them. And as they were all afraid to take the ark of God, they advised them, saying, “Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: and take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put 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 see, if it goeth up by the way of His own coast to Beth-shemesh, then He hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us. And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home.... And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” SR 189.1

The Philistines knew that the cows would not be induced to leave their young calves at home unless they should be urged by some unseen power. The cows went direct to Beth-shemesh, lowing for their calves, yet going directly away from them. The lords of the Philistines followed after the ark unto the border of Beth-shemesh. They dared not trust that sacred chest wholly to the cows. They feared that if any evil happened to it, greater calamities would come upon them. They knew not that angels of God accompanied the ark and guided the cows in their course to the place where it belonged. SR 190.1