And he struck the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he struck of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had struck many of the people with a great slaughter.
All Commentaries on 1 Samuel 6:19 Go To 1 Samuel 6
George Leo Haydock
Seen; and curiously looked into. It is likely this plague reached to all the neighbouring country, as well as the city of Bethsames. (Challoner)
For we need not suppose that all these deaths took place in one day. The ark seems to have continued there for some time, ver. 18. Hebrew, "because they had looked into, or at the ark. "(Haydock)
It was unlawful, even for the Levites, to touch or to look at the ark uncovered; (Tirinus; Numbers iv. 15, 20,) and the Hebrew expression into, is often taken in this sense, Proverbs vii. 15., and xi. 4.
Men of rank. (St. Gregory) "Ancients "Chaldean. Some would suppose that only these 70 perished, and were of as much value as 50,000 of the common people: for they will not allow that the latter number was slain. Out of that number, 70 were made victims of the divine justice. (Tirinus; Sa)
Bo chart translates, "he slew 70 out of 50,000. "The Syriac and Arabic read, "5070 men. "Josephus only admits 70 who were slain, "because they dared to touch the ark with their profane hands, as they were not priests. "Hebrew, "and he slew of the people 70 men, 50,000 men. (Calmet)
Kennicott seems to suspect that a cipher has been added in the Hebrew at the end. Protestants, "50,000, and threescore and ten men. "(Haydock)
Some would insert aderant in the Vulgate, and 50,000 "were present. "(Du Hamel)
The Chaldean, Septuagint, constantly retain these numbers, and we must not judge of God severity by our feeble reason. (Calmet)
This decision is the most common. (Menochius)
The people had indulged their curiosity, to see whether the Philistines had taken the tables of the law out of the ark (Serarius)
As the ark was terrible to the infidels, so it was also to those true believers, who treated it with disrespect. (Worthington)