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May 2

Reading for Today:

  • 1 Samuel 6:1–7:17
  • Psalm 55:1-8
  • Proverbs 15:14
  • Luke 21:20-38


1 Samuel 6:19 looked into the ark. This action on the part of the men of Beth Shemesh constituted the sin of presumption. This is first addressed in Numbers 4:20 and is mentioned again in 2 Samuel 6:6, 7. fifty thousand and seventy men. Some debate whether this figure is too large. However, retaining the larger number is more consistent with the context of “a great slaughter” and the reference to 30,000 in 4:10 (see 11:8). However, a scribal error could have occurred, in which case the number would omit the 50,000 and likely be “seventy,” as in the LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.

1 Samuel 7:6 drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. The pouring out of water before the Lord was a sign of repentance. This act is repeated in 2 Samuel 23:16. We have sinned against the LORD. The symbol of Samuel pouring out the water and the acknowledgment of the people reveal a situation where true repentance had taken place. The condition of the heart superseded the importance or righteousness of the ritual. Samuel judged. At this point Samuel is introduced as the judge of Israel. His judgeship encompassed both domestic leadership and the conduct of war. The word links the text back to the last comment about Eli who judged 40 years (4:18). Samuel is shown to be the one taking over Eli’s judgeship. He served as the last judge before the first king (see 1 Sam. 8:50).

1 Samuel 7:16 a circuit. The circuit was an annual trip made by Samuel; he would travel to Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah, and return once again to Ramah, which allowed him to manage the affairs of the people.

Luke 21:20 Jerusalem surrounded by armies. A comparison with Matthew 24:15, 16 and Mark 13:14 suggests that this sign is closely associated with “the abomination of desolation” (see Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27; 11:31). This sign of Jerusalem under siege was previewed in A.D. 70, but awaits its fulfillment in the future.

Luke 21:24 the times of the Gentiles. This expression is unique to Luke. It identifies the era from Israel’s captivity (ca. 586 B.C. to Babylon; see 2 Kin. 25) to her restoration in the kingdom (Rev. 20:1–6). It has been a time during which, in accord with God’s purpose, Gentiles have dominated or threatened Jerusalem. The era has also been marked by vast spiritual privileges for the Gentile nations (see Is. 66:12; Mal. 1:11; Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10).

DAY 2: How did the Philistines attempt to stop the plague?

“The priests and the diviners” (1 Sam. 6:2) of the Philistines were summoned to figure out how to appease God so that He would stop the plague. They understood that they had offended God. Their diviners decided to rightfully appease His wrath by sending the ark back to Israel. These pagans recognized their sin and the need for manifest repentance, which they did according to their religious tradition by means of a “trespass offering” (v. 3) to compensate for their trespass of dishonoring the God of Israel. It was their custom to make models of their sores (and the rats which brought the plague), in hopes that the deity would recognize that they knew why he was angry and remove the evil which had fallen upon them (v. 4).

“Give glory to the God of Israel…He will lighten His hand” (v. 5).While sympathetic magic was the Philistine custom, this statement expressly affirms the intention behind the offerings: They were to halt the dishonor, confess their sin, and give glory to the God of Israel by acknowledging who it was that they had offended and who was the supreme Deity. The diviners correlate the Philistines’ actions of not recognizing God with those of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. “Why then do you harden your hearts…?”(v. 6).This is the same word “harden” that was used in Exodus 7:14; 8:15, 32. It is an interesting correlation, because the dominant purpose in Exodus 5–14 is that the Egyptians might “know that I am the LORD” (Ex. 7:5).

To know without a doubt that the God of Israel was behind all of their troubles, the diviners devised a plan that would reveal whether God was the One responsible. Using cows that had “never been yoked” (v. 7) meant using animals that were untrained to pull a cart and probably would not go anywhere. The second element in their plan was to use nursing cows taken away from their calves. For the cows unnaturally to head off in the opposite direction from their calves would be a clear sign that the cause of their judgment was supernatural, which is precisely what happened (v. 12).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,