1 Samuel 6:7
Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:
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(7) Now therefore make a new cart.—The note here in the Speaker’s Commentary is interesting. “This was so ordered in reverence to the Ark, and was a right and true feeling. (See Numbers 19:2; 2Samuel 6:3.) So our Lord rode on an ass ‘whereon never man sat’ (Mark 11:2), and His holy body was laid in Joseph’s ‘new tomb, wherein never man before was laid’ (Matthew 27:60; Luke 23:53). For the supposed peculiar virtue of new things, see Judges 16:7-11.”

1 Samuel 6:7. Make a new cart, &c. — It was in honour of the ark that they employed nothing about it that had ever served for any other use. And there was another reason for choosing such kine as are here mentioned; that it might be more manifest that they were led by the God of Israel, if they went directly into his country. For untamed heifers are apt to run back, or to wander, and keep no certain and constant paths, as oxen accustomed to the yoke do; and therefore were very unlikely to keep the direct road to the land of Israel. And the taking their calves from them would excite natural affection in them, and cause them rather to return home to their calves than to go into a strange country.

6:1-9 Seven months the Philistines were punished with the presence of the ark; so long it was a plague to them, because they would not send it home sooner. Sinners lengthen out their own miseries by refusing to part with their sins. The Israelites made no effort to recover the ark. Alas! where shall we find concern for religion prevail above all other matters? In times of public calamity we fear for ourselves, for our families, and for our country; but who cares for the ark of God? We are favoured with the gospel, but it is treated with neglect or contempt. We need not wonder if it should be taken from us; to many persons this, though the heavies of calamities, would occasion no grief. There are multitudes whom any profession would please as well as that of Christianity. But there are those who value the house, the word, and the ministry of God above their richest possessions, who dread the loss of these blessings more than death. How willing bad men are to shift off their convictions, and when they are in trouble, to believe it is a chance that happens; and that the rod has no voice which they should hear or heed!A new cart ... kine on which there hath come no yoke - This was so ordered in reverence to the ark, and was a right and true feeling. See Mark 11:2; Matthew 27:60. For the supposed special virtue of new things, see Judges 16:7, Judges 16:11. 7. make a new cart—Their object in making a new one for the purpose seems to have been not only for cleanliness and neatness, but from an impression that there would have been an impropriety in using one that had been applied to meaner or more common services. It appears to have been a covered wagon (see on [237]2Sa 6:3).

two milch kine—Such untrained heifers, wanton and vagrant, would pursue no certain and regular path, like those accustomed to the yoke, and therefore were most unlikely of their own spontaneous motion to prosecute the direct road to the land of Israel.

bring their calves home from them—The strong natural affection of the dams might be supposed to stimulate their return homewards, rather than direct their steps in a foreign country.

Make a new cart; as David did for the same use, 2 Samuel 6:3, in reverence to the ark.

On which there hath come no yoke; partly in respect to the ark, and partly for the better discovery, because such untamed heifers are wanton, and apt to wander, and keep no certain and constant paths, as oxen accustomed to the yoke do, and therefore were most unlikely to keep the direct road to Israel’s land.

Bring their calves home from them; which would stir up natural affection in their dams, and cause them rather to return home, than to go to a strange country.

Now therefore make a new cart,.... For there were no Levites, nor priests of the Lord to carry it upon their shoulders, as it was wont to be when carried, and therefore they ordered a cart to be made; and they might know the Levites were allowed wagons to carry some of their sacred things on, Numbers 7:1 and a new one for the honour of the ark, as David afterwards did, 2 Samuel 6:3.

and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke; which also might be designed for the honour of the ark; but there was a further view in it, at least in the providence of God; since two such creatures, who had young, would be apt, if left to themselves, as these were, to return home to them, and not to proceed on a journey; and being unaccustomed to a yoke, would draw one way, and another another, in different ways; and not go on in a direct road, as such that are used to the yoke do:

and tie the kine to the cart; in order to draw it:

and bring their calves home from them; that they might not cry after them, which would cause them to turn back.

Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:
7. Now therefore make, &c.] Heb. “And now take and make a new cart” = set to work to make. Cp. 2 Samuel 18:18. The use of a new cart (cp. 2 Samuel 6:3) and unyoked kine (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3-4) was a natural mark of reverence.

Verse 7. - Make a new cart, and take, etc. The Hebrew is, "Now take and make you a new cart, and two milch kine." The transposition of the A.V. throws undue stress upon the verb make, whereas the Hebrew simply means that both the cart was to be new, and the heifers untrained and unbroken to the yoke. Both these were marks of reverence. Nothing was to be employed in God's service which had been previously used for baser purposes (comp. Mark 11:2). No animal was deemed fit for sacrifice which had laboured in the field. The separation of the kine from their calves was for the purpose of demonstrating whether the plague after all was supernatural, and it is remarkable what great care the Philistine priests take against confounding the extraordinary with the Divine. If, however, the kine act in a manner contrary to nature, their last doubt will be removed. 1 Samuel 6:7Accordingly they arranged the sending back in such a manner as to manifest the reverence which ought to be shown to the God of Israel was a powerful deity (1 Samuel 6:7-9). The Philistines were to take a new cart and make it ready (עשׂה), and to yoke two milch cows to the cart upon which no yoke had ever come, and to take away their young ones (calves) from them into the house, i.e., into the stall, and then to put the ark upon the cart, along with the golden things to be presented as a trespass-offering, which were to be in a small chest by the side of the ark, and to send it (i.e., the ark) away, that it might go, viz., without the cows being either driven or guided. From the result of these arrangements, they were to learn whether the plague had been sent by the God of Israel, or had arisen accidentally. "If it (the ark) goeth up by the way to its border towards Bethshemesh, He (Jehovah) hath done us this great evil; but if not, we perceive that His hand hath not touched us. It came to us by chance," i.e., the evil came upon us merely by accident. In עליהם, בּניהם, and מאחריהם (1 Samuel 6:7), the masculine is used in the place of the more definite feminine, as being the more general form. This is frequently the case, and occurs again in 1 Samuel 6:10 and 1 Samuel 6:12. ארגּז, which only occurs again in 1 Samuel 6:8, 1 Samuel 6:11, and 1 Samuel 6:15, signifies, according to the context and the ancient versions, a chest or little case. The suffix to אתו refers to the ark, which is also the subject to יעלה (1 Samuel 6:9). גּבוּלו, the territory of the ark, is the land of Israel, where it had its home. מקרה is used adverbially: by chance, or accidentally. The new cart and the young cows, which had never worn a yoke, corresponded to the holiness of the ark of God. To place it upon an old cart, which had already been used for all kinds of earthly purposes, would have been an offence against the holy thing; and it would have been just the same to yoke to the cart animals that had already been used for drawing, and had had their strength impaired by the yoke (see Deuteronomy 21:3). The reason for selecting cows, however, instead of male oxen, was no doubt to be found in the further object which they hoped to attain. It was certainly to be expected, that if suckling cows, whose calves had been kept back from them, followed their own instincts, without any drivers, they would not go away, but would come back to their young ones in the stall. And if the very opposite should take place, this would be a sure sign that they were driven and guided by a divine power, and in fact by the God whose ark they were to draw into His own land. From this they would be able to draw the conclusion, that the plagues which had fallen upon the Philistines were also sent by this God. There was no special sagacity in this advice of the priests; it was nothing more than a cleverly devised attempt to put the power of the God of the Israelites to the text, though they thereby unconsciously and against their will furnished the occasion for the living God to display His divine glory before those who did not know Him.
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