Here we have the return of the glory of the Lord... that is if you believe the judgment of Ichabod's dying mother. I am speaking about the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Israel from the Philistines. But was this the return of God's glory? Was this a great blessing upon them? The truth is this; the Jews in Bethshemesh were cursed even more harshly than the Philistines had been. Bethshemesh lost over 50,000 from their local population because of the presence of the Ark. So, they were as eager to send it on its way as the Philistines had been.
What strikes me in this chapter is the willingness of God to give the wicked and unbelieving Philistines a sign of His power and presence. After enduring God's plagues for 7 months, the Philistines sent the Ark up the road on a cart drawn by 2 mamma cows which should have been neither able nor willing to pull that cart. On the cart, they sent 10 golden jewels representing the plagues that they had suffered. And, per I Samuel 6:9, they looked for a sign that they had proceeded acceptably in sending the Ark away. As a test of God's involvement in all of this, they named the place where the cart would end up: Bethshemesh. Now, the cows should have refused to go at all. Or if they went anywhere they should have turned back to their calves or simply wandered into a field. But, they went to their specified destination, and stopped when they got there. So, in that way, God proved His power and presence to the Philistines and confirmed for them that they were no longer under the curse of the Ark.
God owed those heathens nothing. They were not His followers. They were His enemies. Yet, He took heed to their prescription and acted accordingly. This is amazing. To me it demonstrates the heart desire of God to reveal Himself to His creation.