Thieves Return Item With Interest

God had instructed Moses (Moses was chosen by God to lead His people out of Egypt as they were slaves in Egypt for 400 years) to tell the Israelites to build a place of residence for Him; a place where His Spirit could live with them. And so the instructions of this happened after the Israelites were freed from Egypt.

This dwelling place; living space was called the Ark of the Covenant and it was very sacred. It was made out of wood and it was ornamented very well. And inside of the Ark of the Covenant were three things: a gold jar that had manna in it. Manna was the food God sent to feed the Israelites as they were in the wilderness when they left Egypt. Also in the Ark of the Covenant was Aaron’s rod. A rod (aka a staff) is a long walking stick and it had sprouted leaves. Aaron was also Moses’ brother. And finally the last item in the Ark of the Covenant was the 10 Commandments that were on the stone tablets when Moses received them from God.

Here’s the thing about the Ark of the Covenant. It could not be touched by most everybody. There were only a select few that could touch it or handle it, without dying. For instance, it is recorded that the priests were moving the Ark of the Covenant one day and as they were walking the oxen helping to carry the load stumbled. And a guy saw the Ark of the Covenant looking like it was going to fall. So he reached for it, touched it and died. So everybody couldn’t touch it. It was sacred.

Now about this story…

The Philistines were fighting against the Israelites and winning. And people in the Israelite camp were like, look. Let’s go get the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh, bring it here and win! We need some help. 

The Philistines had killed 4,000 of the Israelites. So the Israelites went and got the Ark of the Covenant and were pumped! I mean they were celebrating like it’s 1999!! They were pumped cause they knew they were going to win.

Well, the Philistines heard the celebrating and learned what happened. Then they became afraid because they knew about the God of the Israelites and how He delivered them out of Egypt. That story right there…wow! So the Philistines were like, we’re going to go steal this Ark of the Covenant.

Now remember, anybody just couldn’t touch it. Nobody could just take it. However! The Philistines came and stole the Ark of the Covenant. Yeah, that happened.

So they stole the Ark of the Covenant and took it to the city of Ashdod. They placed it in the temple of Dagon right up next to their idol Dagon.

Now, check this out.

After they did this, the next day the people come into the temple and find Dagon fallen on the ground; face down in front of the Ark of the Covenant. They see this and they pick Dagon up and sit him back in place. They go on their way.

The next day, Dagon has fallen down again in front of the Ark of the Covenant; face down again but this time his head has fallen off and both his hands have fallen off so that what’s intact is the trunk of the idol’s body. 

Then God hit the town so, destroying the place and the people were ending up with tumors. It was a mess for them. So the people were like, we gotta get this up outta here. It’s got to go!

So they brought the lords of the Philistines back to come get the Ark of the Covenant and they’re trying to figure out what to do with it. They decide that they’re going to take it to the city of Gath.

When they brought the Ark of the Covenant to Gath, God tore it up over there too. There was destruction and tumors on the people. They were like, uh-uh. This got to go!

So then the Ark of the Covenant got moved to Ekron but here’s the thing. As they were bringing it in, the people in the city was like nah! We ain’t having it. No we can’t. It can’t stay here. The destruction was already starting in their city. It was more destruction and tumors. Altogether, the Philistines kept the Ark of the Covenant in their region for seven months.

They needed to return it. They knew that they couldn’t keep going the way they were and so they talked with their priests and diviners about what to do. They let them know that it’d be wise to return the Ark of the Covenant with a gift; a we’re sorry offering. And that is what the Philistines did.

The Philistines sent the Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites on a cart pulled by cows. The Philistines went behind the cart and when they reached their destination, they watched and made sure that the Israelites received the Ark of the Covenant back.

To learn more, check out 1 Samuel 6:13-15