SEV Biblia, Chapter 6:19 Â¶ Entonces hirió Dios de los de Bet-semes, porque habían mirado el arca del SEŃOR; hirió en el pueblo setenta varones y cincuenta mil hombres. Y el pueblo puso luto, porque el SEŃOR había herido el pueblo de tan gran plaga.
Clarke's Bible Commentary - 1 Samuel 6:19 Verse 19. He smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men] The present Hebrew text of this most extraordinary reading stands thus: Ťya Pla µyŤmj µy[bŤ µ[b űyw-ŤmŤ_tyb yŤnab űyw vaiyach beanshey Beith-shemesh-vaiyach baam shibim ish, chamishshim eleph ish; "And he smote among the men of Beth-shemesh, (because they looked into the ark of Jehovah,) and he smote among the people SEVENTY men, FIFTY THOUSAND men." From the manner in which the text stands, and from the great improbability of the thing, it is most likely that there is a corruption in this text, or that some explanatory word is lost, or that the number fifty thousand has been added by ignorance or design; it being very improbable that such a small village as Beth-shemesh should contain or be capable of employing fifty thousand and seventy men in the fields at wheat harvest, much less that they could all peep into the ark on the stone of Hebel, in the corn- field of Joshua.
That the words are not naturally connected in the Hebrew text, is evident; and they do not stand better in the versions.
1. The VULGATE renders it thus:-Et percussit de populo SEPTUAGINTA viros; et QUINQUAGINTA MILLA plebis; "And he smote of the (chief) people SEVENTY men, and FIFTY THOUSAND of the (common) people." This distinction, I suppose, St. Jerome intended between plebis and populus; which he might think was warranted by the µyŤna anashim, and Ťya ish, of the Hebrew text.
2. The TARGUM of Jonathan is something similar to the Vulgate:-"And he smote am[ ybsb besabey amma, of the elders of the people SEVENTY men; alhqbw ubekahala, and of the congregation FIFTY THOUSAND men." 3. The SEPTUAGINT follow the Hebrew text: kai epataxen en autoiv ebdomhkonta andrav, kai penthkonta ciliadav andrwn; "And he smote of them SEVENTY men; and FIFTY THOUSAND men." ek tou laou, of the people, is added by some copies.
4. The SYRIAC has forty-five thousand less! It is as follows: (Syriac) wamacho Morio beamo chamesho alapin weshabein gabrin; "And the Lord smote among the people FIVE thousand and SEVENTY men." 5. The ARABIC is nearly similar: "And the LORD smote among the people; and there died of them Five thousand and Seventy men." We have no other versions from which we can receive any farther light.
6. JOSEPHUS is different from all the rest, and has fifty thousand less, for he renders the place thus, Antiq. Jud. libe. vi., cap. i., sect. i5: qrgh de kai colov tou qeou meteisin, wste ebdomhkonta twn ek thv bhqsamhv kwmhv-balwn apekteinen "But the displeasure and wrath of God pursued them so, that SEVENTY men of the village of Beth-shemesh, approaching the ark, which they were not worthy to touch, (not being priests,) were struck with lightning." Here we find the whole fifty thousand is omitted.
7. Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, giving the opinion of other rabbins as well as his own, says, "Our rabbins say SEVENTY men, and each of them was worth fifty thousand men; or fifty thousand, every one of whom was worth the seventy of the Sanhedrin." This only shows embarrassment, but gives very little light.
All these discordances, together with the utter improbability of the thing, lead us to suppose there must be a corruption in this place, either by adding or omitting.
Dr. Kennicott has found three very reputable MSS. in which the words Ťya Pla µyŤmj chamishshim eleph ish, fifty thousand men, are wanting. The 1st, No. 84, a MS. from Holland; the 2d, No. 210, one of the Parisian MSS.; the 3d, No. 418, a MS. belonging to Milan; all three written about the beginning of the twelfth century, and numbered as above in Dr. K's Bible.
Perhaps the omission in these MSS. was occasioned by a mistake of the transcriber, which might have easily happened, because of the word Ťya ish, which occurs both after µy[bŤ shibim and after Pla eleph; for, having written the first, and taking his eye off, when he recommenced he might have supposed he had written the latter, and so proceed, leaving the words in question out of his copy. Two, three, or more persons might have been thus deceived, and so produce the above MSS.; or the mistake once made, all the MSS. copied from that would show the same omission.
The common reading may be defended, if we only suppose the omission of a single letter, the particle of comparison k ke, like, as, or equal to, before the word µyŤmj chamishshim: thus µyŤmjk kechamishshim; the passage would then read: "And he smote of the people SEVENTY men, equal to FIFTY THOUSAND men;" that is, they were the elders or governors of the people.
Some solve the difficulty by translating, "He slew SEVENTY men OUT OF fifty thousand men." There are various other methods invented by learned men to remove this difficulty, which I shall not stop to examine; all, however, issue in this point, that only SEVENTY MEN were slain; and this is, without doubt the most probable. The FIFTY THOUSAND, therefore, must be an interpolation, or be understood in some such way as that mentioned above. But the omission of the particle of similitude solves every difficulty; and this would account for the reading in Josephus, who in his recital would naturally leave out such an explanation of the worth of the seventy men, as his Roman readers could not easily comprehend such comparisons.
With a great slaughter.] Seventy men slain, out of an inconsiderable village in a harvest day, was certainly a great slaughter.
John Gill's Bible Commentary Ver. 19. And he smote the men of Bethshemesh , etc.] That is, God smote them, though they had received the ark with such expressions of joy, and had offered sacrifices on account of it; yet sinning in one particular after mentioned, which was highly resented, they were smitten by him with a thunderbolt, as Josephus says f129 : because they had looked into the ark of the Lord ; which was forbidden the Levites, ( Numbers 4:20) out of curiosity these men opened the ark, to see whether the Philistines had taken anything out of it, or put anything into it; and this, when in the tabernacle, being only to be seen by the high priest; and supposing they should never have the like opportunity again, to look upon the tables of the law which were in it, took it; and the rather they might be emboldened to this action, since it had been in the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines, who had profaned it; and as yet not restored to its pristine purity, holiness, and place: even he smote of the people fifty thousand and seventy men ; but as Bethshemesh was but a small place, a village, as Josephus calls it, and it seems not likely that there should be such a number of persons in it, and especially that should look into the ark; or that God, who is good and merciful, should destroy so large a number for this offence, however he might think fit to make an example of some, it is thought that the case was not as our version represents it. Some who think there were so many slain, yet distinguish them, seventy of the elders of the people, and 50,000 of the congregation, or common people, as the Targum; which accounts not for the difficulty at all: others think that only seventy of the men of Bethshemesh died, and that 50,000 were such as flocked out of the country on this occasion; but as this was on the same day the ark came into those parts, it can hardly be thought that so great a number should be got together so soon; and still less that they should all of them open the ark, and look into it. Abarbinel is of opinion that only seventy men of Bethshemesh were slain, and that the other 50,000 were the Philistines that died on account of the ark while it was among them; and reads the words, “with the men of Bethshemesh he smote--even he smote of the people seventy”; that is, of the men of Bethshemesh; 50,000, that is, of the Philistines, and so this gives the sum of all that died on account of the ark, both while it was in the hands of the Philistines, and when returned to Bethshemesh, which is not an improbable sense: but others, and perhaps more truly, think that only seventy persons were smitten with death; for the order in which this account is given is different from all others in the Hebrew text, the lesser number being put first with a considerable distinguishing accent upon it, whereas the greater number is always expressed first; it stands thus, “of the people seventy men; 50,000 men”: 5000, according to the Syriac and Arabic versions. Josephus is express for it that only seventy men were slain, and so some of the ancient Jews f132 ; who say that these seventy were equal to 50,000, because of their superior excellency and dignity, as Ben Gersom observes, being the priests of the Lord, or the sanhedrim; but Bochart’s sense seems to be preferable to all others, that there is a defect of the particle m , “out of”; and so to be read, either seventy men out of fifty thousand; that out of the 50,000 that flocked on this occasion from various parts, seventy were smitten for the reason before given; or rather seventy men, fifty out of 1000 men; that is, a twentieth part of the number of them, so that, out of 1400, seventy men were struck with death for their curiosity f134 . Something of this story seems to be retained by tradition among the Heathens; we are told that when Troy was taken an ark was found, in which was the image of Bacchus; which being opened by Eurypylus, he was struck with madness as soon as he saw the image: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter ; I see no occasion for the supplement “many”; it was a great slaughter, if we consider the awful manner in which it was made, by thunder and lightning, as may be supposed; however, by an immediate stroke from heaven; and the persons on whom it was made, men of a sacred character, priests and Levites; and a great number, considering it was but a small city. Hence the place was called Abel, which signifies weeping, mourning, lamentation, ( 1 Samuel 6:18).
Matthew Henry Commentary Verses 19-21 - It is a great affront to God, for vain men to pry into, and meddle with the secret things which belong not to them, De 29:29; Col 2:18. Man wa ruined by desiring forbidden knowledge. God will not suffer his ark to be profaned. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Those that will no fear his goodness, and reverently use the tokens of his grace, shall be made to feel his justice. The number smitten is expressed in an unusua manner in the original, and it is probable that it means 1170. The desire to be rid of the ark. Foolish men run from one extreme to the other. They should rather have asked, How may we have peace with God and recover his favor? Mic 6:6, 7. Thus, when the word of God work with terror on sinners' consciences, they, instead of taking the blam and shame to themselves, quarrel with the word, and put that from them Many stifle their convictions, and put salvation away from them __________________________________________________________________
Original Hebrew ויך 5221 באנשׁי 582 בית שׁמשׁ 1053 כי 3588 ראו 7200 בארון 727 יהוה 3068 ויך 5221 בעם 5971 שׁבעים 7657 אישׁ 376 חמשׁים 2572 אלף 505 אישׁ 376 ויתאבלו 56 העם 5971 כי 3588 הכה 5221 יהוה 3068 בעם 5971 מכה 4347 גדולה׃ 1419