1 Samuel 5:11 MEANING

1 Samuel 5:11
(11) Send away the ark.--The lords of the Philistines were a long time before they could make up their minds to get rid of this deadly trophy of their victory. They had grown up with an undefined awe of the "golden chest," which, as they supposed, had so often in the days of the famous Hebrew conqueror, Joshua, led the armies of Israel to victory; and now at last it was their own. It was indeed a sore trouble for them to yield it up to their enemies again; to see the historical sacred treasure of Israel, so long veiled in awful mystery, at the feet of their fish-god idol, was a perpetual renewal for Philistia of the glorious triumph of Aphek, which avenged so many years of bitter humiliation. The plague and misery which afflicted the cities of Philistia in the day when the sacred Ark dwelt an unhonoured guest in their midst suggest many and grave thoughts. Is there not an unseen power ever protecting God's institutions, His ordinances, and His ritual, the sacred House dedicated to His solemn worship, the vessels of the sanctuary, the very lands and gold consecrated to His service, even though all these things, owing to the faults and errors of His servants, have lost apparently their holy and beneficial influence over the hearts and homes of men?

Does not this old loved story warn rash and careless souls against laying rough hands on any ark of the Lord, though the ark in question seem to be abandoned by God, and destitute of power and dignity?

5:6-12 The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines; he not only convinced them of their folly, but severely chastised their insolence. Yet they would not renounce Dagon; and instead of seeking God's mercy, they desired to get clear of his ark. Carnal hearts, when they smart under the judgments of God, would rather, if it were possible, put him far from them, than enter into covenant or communion with him, and seek him for their friend. But their devices to escape the Divine judgments only increase them. Those that fight against God will soon have enough of it.So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines,.... As the men of Ashdod had done before on the same account, 1 Samuel 5:8.

and said, send away the ark of the God of Israel; as these lords were united in their government, and made one common cause of it against Israel, one could not dispose of this capture without the consent of the rest; otherwise the lord of Ekron, with his princes, were clearly in it that it was right and best to send it away out of any of their principalities:

and let it go again to its own place; to the land of Israel and Shiloh there, though to that it never returned more:

that it slay us not, and our people; that is, all of them, for great numbers had been slain already, as follows:

for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; a mortal disease went through the whole city, and swept away a multitude of people:

the hand of God was very heavy there; it seems by the expression to haste been heavier on the inhabitants of this city than upon those of Ashdod and Gath, which made them the more pressing to get rid of the ark.

Courtesy of Open Bible