The Ark was returned to the Hebrew people in a city called Beth-Shemesh. At first, all goes well with the people of Beth-Shemesh (1 Samuel 6:18-21) . After a seven month absence, the Ark has returned with no assistance from any of the Hebrew people. The Philistines didn’t destroy the Ark and they did not ask for a ransom to return it. God returned the Ark, and for his people it was a delightful surprise.
However, as if the Ark had not been through enough, curiosity overcame the people of Beth-Shemesh and they looked inside of the Ark of the Lord. This is a dreadful mistake prohibited by the Lord. It is tragic that such a joyful times were ruined again by a selfish decision. The Bibe says, “The people mourned because the Lord struck them with a great slaughter.”
The tragedy for the people of Beth-Shemesh was the same as it was for the pagan followers at Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron. Instead of a precious, joy filled, chief cornerstone for building faith, through their disobedience the Ark had become a stumbling block of wrongdoing. The Ark had brought nothing but disaster and grief. They wanted nothing to do with it (1 Samuel 6:19).
As they mourned their great loss, the people of Beth-Shemesh informed the people of Kiriath-jearim, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord.” Then they asked them to, “Come down and get it.” (1 Samuel 6:21)