“And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.”
King James Version (KJV)
6:18 Villages - This is added for explication of that foregoing phrase, all the cities; either to shew, that under the name of the five cities were comprehended all the villages and territories belonging to them, in whose name, and at whose charge these presents were made; or to express the difference between this and the former present, the emerods being only five, according to the five cities mentioned, ver.#17|, because it may seem, the cities only, or principally, were pestered with that disease; and the mice being many more according to the number of all the cities, as is here expressed: the word city being taken generally so, as to include not only fenced cities, but also the country villages, and the fields belonging to them. Abel - This is mentioned as the utmost border of the Philistines territory, to which the plague of mice extended. And this place is here called Abel, by anticipation from the great mourning mentioned in the following verse. It is desirable, to see the ark in its habitation, in all the circumstances of solemnity. But it is better to have it on a great stone, and in the fields of the wood, than to be without it. The intrinsic grandeur of divine ordinances ought not to be diminished in our eyes, by the meanness and poverty of the place, where they are administered.