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[16] But now it was that the wrath of God overtook them, and struck seventy persons 1 of the village of Bethshemesh dead, who, not being priests, and so not worthy to touch the ark, had approached to it. Those of that village wept for these that had thus suffered, and made such a lamentation as was naturally to be expected on so great a misfortune that was sent from God; and every one mourned for his own relation. And since they acknowledged themselves unworthy of the ark's abode with them, they sent to the public senate of the Israelites, and informed them that the ark was restored by the Philistines; which when they knew, they brought it away to Kirjathjearim, a city in the neighborhood of Bethshemesh. In this city lived one Abinadab, by birth a Levite, and who was greatly commended for his righteous and religious course of life; so they brought the ark to his house, as to a place fit for God himself to abide in, since therein did inhabit a righteous man. His sons also ministered to the Divine service at the ark, and were the principal curators of it for twenty years; for so many years it continued in Kirjathjearim, having been but four months with the Philistines.

1 These seventy men, being not so much as Levites, touched the ark in a rash or profane manner, and were slain by the hand of God for such their rashness and profaneness, according to the Divine threatenings, Numbers 4:15, 20; but how other copies come to add such an incredible number as fifty thousand in this one town, or small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on 1 Samuel 6:19.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), KIRJATH
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