1 Samuel 6:1-18 – The Tale of Two Cows

Read 1 Samuel 6:1-18

wooden yoke that looks antique sitting on an old wooden bench

Was it really the Israelite God who sent the plagues upon the Philistines? They had to know for sure. The Philistines were afraid of the Ark and consulted with their own priests and diviners about the best way to get rid of it. But what if the plagues were simply a coincidence?

A plan was suggested involving two cows and a guilt offering. They had underestimated God’s power, and the guilt offering or payment had to be more than sufficient to calm God’s anger. This plan would assure them, once and for all, it was the Ark causing all the trouble. New mother cows would never leave their babies unless there was some divine intervention. In addition, two cows not used to being yoked together would not calmly allow such a thing to happen.

What we see are two obedient cows. Obedient to the voice of the Israelite’s God, they haul the ark back to Israel. Granted, these animals lowed or cried the whole way. I imagine they knew they shouldn’t be leaving their newborns behind and were voicing their lament as they were powerless to change direction. It was their duty to return the ark to Israel. There could be no question in the minds of Philistines that their troubles had all been caused by the presence of the Ark in their midst.

The Israelites were delighted to see their precious Ark returned to them. In thanksgiving and reverence to God, they broke apart the cart for firewood and killed the two mama cows as a sacrifice. We hear that there were many sacrifices that day. I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for the newborn cows who had been left orphans.

This was all part of God’s plan, wasn’t it? God allowed the Ark to be captured so that the Philistines would fear him even more. Their own god, Dagon, could certainly have never encouraged two mama cows to leave their babies behind. This God, Yahweh, is powerful and should be revered. That message rings out loud and clear, don’t you think?

Such majestic victory would have also spoken to the hearts of the Israelites. If there was any question that God’s power had vanished, it was surely intact! Israel’s fear of abandonment could come to an end after the 7 months following the capture of the Ark. God was alive and well. Hallelujah!

Have you experienced a time in your life when you feared God had left you? Perhaps you’re feeling a little lost right now unsure of how God is directing your path. I have certainly had days when I have wondered those things. But then my faith kicks in, or maybe it kicks me in the butt, and says, “God is RIGHT HERE! He is carrying you right now.”

Take some time to lean into God today. Thank him for his great power.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for all the battles you fight for me on a daily basis. This world is a scary place at times, and I love that I have you in my corner. I feel so secure knowing I am safe in your loving arms. Use me to spread your peace to this broken world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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