(א) וַיְהִי אֲרוֹן יְהוָה בִּשְׂדֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים שִׁבְעָה חֳדָשִׁים. (ב) וַיִּקְרְאוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים לַכֹּהֲנִים וְלַקֹּסְמִים לֵאמֹר מַה נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲרוֹן יְהוָה הוֹדִעֻנוּ בַּמֶּה נְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ לִמְקוֹמוֹ. (ג) וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִם מְשַׁלְּחִים אֶת אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אַל תְּשַׁלְּחוּ אֹתוֹ רֵיקָם כִּי הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיבוּ לוֹ אָשָׁם אָז תֵּרָפְאוּ וְנוֹדַע לָכֶם לָמָּה לֹא תָסוּר יָדוֹ מִכֶּם.
a) The literal meaning of the word 'bisdeh' is field but it is translated as 'country'. Why do you think this is so? Why do you think the word 'bisdeh' is used instead of country?
b) In verse 2, there are two questions that need answering. What are they?
c) What is the difference between the two questions and what could that mean?
d) Which question do the priests and diviners answer and what do they say?
(5) Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel; peradventure He will lighten His hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. (6) Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when He had wrought among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
e) What seems to be the connection between the Philistines and the Egyptians?
f) What other comparisons can be made between this story and that of the Egyptians:
g) The test set by the diviners is very specific. What do you think they choose the following things:
- A new cart -
- Use of cows that are not riding animals -
- Use of cows that haven't used a yoke -
- The calves are sent home -
- The ascent to Bet Shemesh -
(13) And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. (14) And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone; and they cleaved the wood of the cart, and offered up the kine for a burnt-offering unto the LORD. (15) And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD.
h) What is the reaction of the people and how do they actualise this?
i) What did the people do to deserve this?
j) According to Rashi, what is the sin of the people from Bet Shemesh?
k) Is there a difference between the Philistines and the people of Bet Shemesh? If so, what is it?
Based on a Shiur by Rav Amnon Bazak www.vbm-torah.org/archives/shmuel/10shmuel.htm