April 9, 2023
Today our reading takes us to 1 Samuel chapter four through eight. We read of the capture of the ark of the covenant by the Philistines and the resulting death of Eli as a consequence of the capturing of the ark. We will also see the ark is returned to Israel, and Israel asks for a king
Chapter 4 –
The judgement prophesied for Eli did not stop simply because Eli was a leader in Israel. If one aspect of the kingdom principle fails all aspects of it suffer. Israel is in sin and they go to battle with the Philistines who soundly defeat them. They believe that moving the ark of the covenant to battle area will save them so the proceed to Shiloh to bring it to them. Eli’s two sons bring the ark back thinking they will bring victory but all it brought them was their funerals.
The ark is captured by the Philistines and when Eli heard this news, he fell over backward and died.
Chapter 5 –
The Philistines may have thought that having the ark would insure victory for them also but it had adverse effects on them. Merely possessing the ark did not do the Philistines any good. In fact, the god of the Philistines toppled over twice the second time breaking of its hands. They take the ark to Gath but the people of Gath are the recipients of tumors. They send it to Ekron but the people there called the Philistine rulers and demanded they send the ark away and ultimately returned to Israel.
Chapter 6 –
All the punishment for having the ark occurred over a period of seven months. The summon their priests and diviners who say the ark should be returned to Israel. So they prepare to send it back to Israel with five gold tumors and five gold mice suggesting the tumors were a result of mice. The Philistines were wanting Israel to stop oppressing them.
It is unlikely that untrained milk cows could pull a cart together and if they did they would seek to return it to their calves. If the cows were to proceed toward Beth-Shemesh it would prove God was miraculously at work.
Chapter 7 –
The Israelites bring the ark to Kirjah-Jearim because Shiloh had been destroyed. It took twenty years but Israel repented once again putting away their false gods. This was an act of self-denial and humility. This along with a burnt offering proved sincerity.
Chapter 8 –
Israel wants a king like all the people around them who would visibly symbolize authority and power. This was not God’s plan for them after all He was their king. God warned Israel that a king would prevent justice and exact taxes. Israel had forty-three kings over a period of 450 years and only eight followed the Lord. God sometimes lets people have their own way so they will one day recognize their need.
He ends it all by saying in verse 22 “heed their voice and make them a king.”