The rulers of Philistia expected God to direct the cart that carried the ark (sacred box) back to Israel. Otherwise, they would not have agreed to return it. However, they probably did not expect that to happen in such an impressive manner.
They had arranged for two cows to pull the cart. Those cows would want to be with their young animals. The cows certainly would not want to pull a cart, which they had never done before. They might turn the cart over.
Usually, it would be essential for someone to guide the cows. The rulers did not allow that to happen. They wanted God himself to direct that cart back to Israel.
Such animals would not normally keep on the road. They certainly would not know which way to go. They might try to return to their young animals. They might refuse to go anywhere.
The 5 rulers of Philistia were watching carefully to see what would happen. Beth Shemesh was the nearest town in Israel. The cows would have to go in that direction.
As soon as the cows were ready to leave, they turned towards Beth Shemesh. They did not hesitate. They travelled straight along the road in the correct direction. They did not even turn to the right or the left.
The rulers of Philistia were following behind them. They wanted to be sure that God was directing the animals. At the border of Israel, the rulers stopped. However, they continued to watch the arkís journey. From a distance, they watched the joyful reaction of the people in Beth Shemesh. Godís ark had returned to Israel - to the country where it belonged.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.