What does 1 Samuel 6:14 mean?
ESV: The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.
NIV: The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.
NASB: And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stopped there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.
CSB: The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there near a large rock. The people of the city chopped up the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.
NLT: The cart came into the field of a man named Joshua and stopped beside a large rock. So the people broke up the wood of the cart for a fire and killed the cows and sacrificed them to the Lord as a burnt offering.
KJV: And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.
Verse Commentary:
The two milk cows pulling the cart carrying the ark of the Lord (Exodus 25:10–16) finally come to a stop on their own in the field of a man named Joshua outside of the town of Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:7–12). The people gathered in the valley for the wheat harvest are overwhelmed with joy that the ark of the Lord has returned to Israel after seven months in the hands of the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:1, 13).

The people feel the need to worship the Lord immediately, so they slaughter the two milk cows and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the Lord on a large stone in the field, using the wood from the cart as fuel.

This was not the normal procedure for making an offering to the Lord. For one thing, the Law called for male cows to be sacrificed, not milk cows (Leviticus 1:3). It seems that spontaneous sacrifices were made to the Lord during this time, and the Lord generally received them. However, it will soon become clear that the people of Beth-shemesh treated the ark without proper respect and reverence in this moment (1 Samuel 6:19). Neither sincerity nor gratitude are an excuse for violating God's Law.
Verse Context:
First Samuel 6:1–18 describes the Philistine plan to send the ark of the Lord back to Israel. They hope to stop the plague and panic with which God d afflicted them (1 Samuel 5). At the advice of their priests and diviners, the Philistines place the ark and a guilt offering of five golden mice and five golden tumors on a new cart pulled by two milk cows. The cows head straight for the Israelite town of Beth-shemesh. There, the rejoicing people offer the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. The Levites living in the town place the ark and the golden images on a large rock. The lords of the Philistines see the sacrifice and return to Ekron.
Chapter Summary:
The Philistine religious leaders advise the five lords of the Philistines to send the ark of the Lord back to Israel with a guilt offering to stop the plague of tumors ravishing their land (1 Samuel 5:6–12). The Philistines place the ark along with five golden mice (or five golden tumors and five golden mice) on a new cart hitched to two untrained milk cows whose calves are shut up at home. The cows head straight for the Israelite border town of Beth-shemesh. There, the people rejoice and offer the cows before the ark as a burnt offering to the Lord. The Lord kills seventy men of the town because the people looked at the ark. Frightened, the people send to Kiriath-jearim and ask them to take the ark.
Chapter Context:
First Samuel 6 finds most of the Philistines convinced that the plague and panic (1 Samuel 5:6–12) are from the Lord. They place the ark of the Lord and a guilt offering of golden mice on a cart pulled by two milk cows. The cows pull the ark straight to the Israelite town of Beth-shemesh, where the rejoicing people offer the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord before the ark. The Lord kills seventy men of the town for looking at (or in) the ark. The people of Beth-shemesh send word to those in another town to take the ark away.
Book Summary:
First Samuel introduces the key figures who led Israel after the era of the judges. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally part of a single text, split in certain translations shortly before the birth of Christ. Some of the Bible’s most famous characters are depicted in this book. These including the prophet Samuel, Israel’s first king, Saul, her greatest king, David, and other famous names such as Goliath and Jonathan. By the end of this book, Saul has fallen; the book of 2 Samuel begins with David’s ascension to the throne.
Accessed 4/18/2024 6:38:33 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com