1 And the ark of the LORD was in the land of the Philistines seven months. 2 Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we shall return it to his place.
3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but ye shall pay unto him the expiation of guilt; then ye shall be healed, and ye shall know why his hand was not removed from you.
4 Then said they, What shall be the expiation of guilt which we shall pay unto him? They answered, Five golden hemorrhoids and five golden rats, according to the number of the cardinals of the Philistines, for the same plague that is on you is also on your cardinals. 5 Therefore, ye shall make images of your hemorrhoids and images of your rats that destroy 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 Why then do ye harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had dealt thus among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?
7 Now, therefore, make a new cart and take two milk cows, on which no yoke has been placed and tie the cows to the cart and bring their calves home from them. 8 Then ye shall take the ark of the LORD and lay it upon the cart and put the jewels of gold, which ye pay him for expiation of guilt, in a coffer by the side thereof, and let it go. 9 And see if it goes up by the way of his own border to Bethshemesh, then he has done us this great evil, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was an accident that happened to us.
10 And the men did so and took two milk cows and tied them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 Then they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart and the coffer with the rats of gold and the images of their hemorrhoids. 12 And the cows went straight down the way of Bethshemesh and went along the highway, lowing as they went and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left, and the cardinals of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.
13 And those of Bethshemesh 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, a Bethshemite, and stopped there, for there was a great stone there; and they clave the wood of the cart and offered the cows in a burnt offering unto the LORD. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the coffer that was with it, in which were the jewels of gold, and put them on the great stone, and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD. 16 And when the five cardinals of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
17 These, therefore are the golden hemorrhoids which the Philistines returned in expiation for their guilt unto the LORD, for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one, 18 and the golden rats, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five cardinals; a ransom for those of the fenced cities and for the country dwellers even unto the great stone of Abel, upon which they placed the ark of the LORD in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite, and this is remembered unto this day.
19 Then God smote those of Bethshemesh because they had looked at the ark of the LORD; he smote fifty thousand of the people and seventy principal men. And the people lamented because the LORD had smitten the people with such a great slaughter. 20 And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? And to whom shall he go up from us?