1 Samuel 6
1 Now the ark of the Lord had been in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we shall send it to its place. 3 They said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you. 4 Then they said, What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him? And they said, Five golden tumors and five golden mice accordingto the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your Lords. 5 So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not allow the people to go, and they departed? 7 Now therefore, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. 9 Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance. 10 Then the men did so, and took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the golden mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 And the cows took the straight way in the direction of Beth Shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the Lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth Shemesh.
Antiquities of the Bible, Pseudo-philo, Chapter 55
3. When the Philistines had set up the captured ark of the Lord in the temple of Dagon, their god, and when they had come to inquire of Dagon concerning their fate, they found that he had fallen on his face and his hands and feet were lying before the ark. Early in the morning they went out and crucified his priests. The next day they came and found it as the day before and there was very much destruction among them. 4. The Philistines gathered in Ekron and said to each other, "Behold now we see that destruction is great among us, and the fruit of our womb will perish because the creeping things that have been sent upon us will destroy pregnant women and sucklings and those who give suck." They said, "Let us see why the hand of the lord has been strong upon us. Is it not because of the ark, for our god is found daily falling on his face before the ark? And we have killed the priests more than once on no avail."
5 `The wise men of the Philistines said. "Behold now we can determine this, whether the Lord has sent destruction upon us on account of his ark or a fitting power has come upon us in a timely fashion.
6 Now because all pregnant and nursing women die, and those: who nurse are made childless and those who are nursed perish, let us take cows that give suck and yoke them to a new cart and put the ark on it and shut up the cows` young. If the cows will go forth in such a way as not to run back to their young we will know that we have suffered these things on account of the ark. But if they refuse to go forth out of longing for their calves we will know that the time of ruin has come upon us."
7 Some of the wise men and diviners answered. "Let us not try only this, but let us set the cows at the head of the three roads that are by Ekron. The middle road goes straight to Ekron, the right-hand one to Judaea and the left-hand one to Samaria. If they set out on the right-hand road and go straight to Judaea, we will know that truly the God of the Jews has destroyed us. But if they go forth by those other roads, we will know that a hard time has come upon us inasmuch as now we have denied our own gods."
8 The Philistines took cows that were nursing and yoked them to a new cart and put the ark on it and set them at the head of the three roads and shut up their calves at home, The cows, although they lowed and yearned for their calves, nevertheless went forth on the right-hand road leading to Judaea. Then they knew they were being destroyed because of the ark
9 All the Philistines gathered together and returned the ark to Shiloh with timbrels and pipes and dances, Because of the savage creeping things that destroyed them they made golden hemorrhoids and they consecrated the ark.
10 Through it the destruction of the Philistines took place. The number of pregnant women who died was seventy-five thousand, sucklings sixty-five thousand, nursing women fifty-five thousand, and men twenty-five thousand. And the land was quiet for seven years.
When the Philistines had taken the ark of the Hebrews captive, as I said a little before, they carried it to the city of Ashdod, and put it by their own god, who was called Dagon, (1) as one of their spoils; but when they went into his temple the next morning to worship their god, they found him paying the same worship to the ark, for he lay along, as having fallen down from the basis whereon he had stood: so they took him up, and set him on his basis again, and were much troubled at what had happened; and as they frequently came to Dagon and found him still lying along, in a posture of adoration to the ark, they were in very great distress and confusion. At length God sent a very destructive disease upon the city and country of Ashdod, for they died of the dysentery or flux, a sore distemper, that brought death upon them very suddenly; for before the soul could, as usual in easy deaths, be well loosed from the body, they brought up their entrails, and vomited up what they had eaten, and what was entirely corrupted by the disease. And as to the fruits of their country, a great multitude of mice arose out of the earth and hurt them, and spared neither the plants nor the fruits. Now while the people of Ashdod were under these misfortunes, and were not able to support themselves under their calamities, they perceived that they suffered thus because of the ark, and that the victory they had gotten, and their having taken the ark captive, had not happened for their good; they therefore sent to the people of Ashkelon, and desired that they would receive the ark among them. This desire of the people of Ashdod was not disagreeable to those of Ashkelon, so they granted them that favor. But when they had gotten the ark, they were in the same miserable condition; for the ark carried along with it the disasters that the people of Ashdod had suffered, to those who received it from them. Those of Ashkelon also sent it away from themselves to others: nor did it stay among those others neither; for since they were pursued by the same disasters, they still sent it to the neighboring cities; so that the ark went round, after this manner, to the five cities of the Philistines, as though it exacted these disasters as a tribute to be paid it for its coming among them. When those that had experienced these miseries were tired out with them, and when those that heard of them were taught thereby not to admit the ark among them, since they paid so dear a tribute for it, at length they sought for some contrivance and method how they might get free from it: so the governors of the five cities, Gath, and Ekron, and Ashkelon, as also of Gaza, and Ashdod, met together, and considered what was fit to be done; and at first they thought proper to send the ark back to its own people, as allowing that God had avenged its cause; that the miseries they had undergone came along with it, and that these were sent on their cities upon its account, and together with it. However, there were those that said they should not do so, nor suffer themselves to be deluded, as ascribing the cause of their miseries to it, because it could not have such power and force upon them; for, had God had such a regard to it, it would not have been delivered into the hands of men. So they exhorted them to be quiet, and to take patiently what had befallen them, and to suppose there was no other cause of it but nature, which, at certain revolutions of time, produces such mutations in the bodies of men, in the earth, in plants, and in all things that grow out of the earth. But the counsel that prevailed over those already described, was that of certain men, who were believed to have distinguished themselves in former times for their understanding and prudence, and who, in their present circumstances, seemed above all the rest to speak properly. These men said it was not right either to send the ark away, or to retain it, but to dedicate five golden images, one for every city, as a thank-offering to God, on account of his having taken care of their preservation, and having kept them alive when their lives were likely to be taken away by such distempers as they were not able to bear up against. They also would have them make five golden mice like to those that devoured and destroyed their country (2) to put them in a bag, and lay them upon the ark; to make them a new cart also for it, and to yoke mile cows to it (3) but to shut up their calves, and keep them from them, lest, by following after them, they should prove a hinderance to their mothers, and that the dams might return the faster out of a desire of those calves; then to drive these milk cows that carried the ark, and leave it at a place where three ways met, and So leave it to the cows to go along which of those ways they pleased; that in case they went the way to the Hebrews, and ascended to their country, they should suppose that the ark was the cause of their misfortunes; but if they turned into another road, they said, "We will pursue after it, and conclude that it has no such force in it." So they determined that these men spoke well; and they immediately confirmed their opinion by doing accordingly. And when they had done as has been already described, they brought the cart to a place where three ways met, and left it there and went their ways; but the cows went the right way, and as if some persons had driven them, while the rulers of the Philistines followed after them, as desirous to know where they would stand still, and to whom they would go. Now there was a certain village of the tribe of Judah, the name of which was Beth Shemesh, and to that village did the cows go; and though there was a great and good plain before them to proceed in, they went no farther, but stopped the cart there. This was a sight to those of that village, and they were very glad; for it being then summer-time, and all the inhabitants being then in the fields gathering in their fruits, they left off the labors of their hands for joy, as soon as they saw the ark, and ran to the cart, and taking the ark down, and the vessel that had the images in it, and the mice, they set them upon a certain rock which was in the plain; and when they had offered a splendid sacrifice to God, and feasted, they offered the cart and the cows as a burnt-offering: and when the Lords of the Philistines saw this, they returned back. But now it was that the wrath of God overtook them, and struck seventy persons of the village of Beth Shemesh 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 Kiriath Yearim, a city in the neighborhood of Beth Shemesh. 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 Kiriath Yearim, having been but four months with the Philistines Babylonian Talmud Aboda Zara 24b
And the kine took the straight way [wa-yishsharnah] by the way to Beth Shemesh etc. What is the meaning of the word `wa-yishsharnah`? — Said R. Johanan in the name of R. Meir: They rendered song. R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in the name of Rab: They directed their faces towards the Ark and rendered song. And what did they sing? — It was stated in the name of R. Johanan on behalf of R. Meir: [The song beginning with] Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel. R. Johanan, however, gave it as his own opinion that they sang: And in that day shall you say, Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His doings among the peoples etc. R. Simeon b. Lakish said: [They sang] the `Orphaned` Psalm: A Psalm. O sing unto the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand, and His holy arm, have wrought salvation for Him. R. Eliezer said: The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: The Lord reigns; He is clothed with majesty. R. Isaac Nappaha said: [They sang:]
Sing, O sing, acacia tree,
Ascend in all your gracefulness.
With golden weave they cover you,
The sanctuary-palace hears your eulogy,
With diverse jewels are you adorned.
R. Ashi connected this [song cited] by R. Isaac with the following: [Scripture says,] And it came to pass, when the Ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, O Lord etc. What did the Israelites say? — Said R. Isaac: `Sing, O sing, acacia tree, etc.`
Herodotus, The Persian Wars,
Book 1, 98
98. It followed to determine who should be chosen to the office. When this debate began the claims of Deioces and his praises were at once in every mouth; so that presently all agreed that he should be king. Upon this he required a palace to be built for him suitable to his rank, and a guard to be given him for his person. The Medes complied, and built him a strong and large palace, on a spot which he himself pointed out, and likewise gave him liberty to choose himself a body-guard from the whole nation. Thus settled upon the throne, he further required them to build a single great city, and, disregarding the petty towns in which they had formerly dwelt, make the new capital the object of their chief attention. The Medes were again obedient, and built the city now called Agbatana, the walls of which are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within the other. The plan of the place is, that each of the walls should out-top the one beyond it by the battlements. The nature of the ground, which is a gentle hill, favors this arrangement in some degree, but it was mainly effected by art. The number of the circles is seven, the royal palace and the treasuries standing within the last. The circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same with that of Athens. Of this wall the battlements are white, of the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, of the fifth orange; all these are colored with paint. The two last have their battlements coated respectively with silver and gold.
Beit Hamidrash III - Pirkei Mashiach
The future Jerusalem will contain 3000 towers and each tower will have 7000 stories. And it will sit atop three mountains: Sinai, Tabor and Carmel. And (each) story will be 7000 measures high, and a measure will be 62 cubits. They will sit atop 33 side chambers and the Temple will sit atop them all. How will anyone ascend these towers? Like clouds and doves they take off and fly, as it is said, Who are these that fly like a cloud and (come) like doves to their cotes (Isaiah 60). And the Temple will reach to Damascus, as it is said, A pronouncement, The word of the Lord: In the land of Hadrach and Damascus is His resting place. Seven walls will encompass Jerusalem: of silver and of gold and of precious stones, of antimony and of sapphire, of rubies and of fire and their brilliance will cast light from one end of the world to the other.
Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews,
based on BHM
VI, Introduction 22 and Eldad Hadani,
67 - 70.
Moses received still another special distinction on the day of his death, for on that day God permitted him to ascend to the lofty place of heaven, and showed him the reward that awaited him in heaven, and the future. The Divine attribute of Mercy appeared there before him and said to him: "I bring glad tidings to thee, at which thou wilt rejoice. Turn to the Throne of Mercy and behold!" Moses turned to the Throne of Mercy and saw God build the Temple of jewels and pearls, while between the separate gems and pearls shimmered the radiance of the Shekinah, brighter than all jewels. And in this Temple he beheld the Messiah, David`s son, and his own brother Aaron, standing erect, and dressed in the robe of the high priest. Aaron then said to Moses: "Do not draw near, for this is the place where the Shekinah dwells, and know that no one may enter here before he have tasted of death and his soul have been delivered to the Angel of Death."
Moses now fell upon his face before God, saying, "Permit me to speak to Thy Messiah before I die." God then said to Moses: "Come, I shall teach thee My great name, that the flames of the Shekinah consume thee not." When the Messiah, David`s son, and Aaron beheld Moses approach them, they knew that God had taught him the great name, so they went to meet him and saluted him with the greeting: "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Moses thereupon said to Messiah: "God told me that Israel was to erect a Temple to Him upon earth, and I now see Him build His own Temple, and that, too, in heaven!" The Messiah replied: "Thy father Jacob saw the Temple that will be erected on earth, and also the Temple that God rears with His own hand in heaven, and he clearly understood that it was the Temple God constructed with His own hand in heaven as house of jewels, of pearls, and of the light of the Shekinah, that was to be preserved for Israel to all eternity, to the end of all generations. This was in the night when Jacob slept upon a stone, and in his dream beheld one Jerusalem upon earth, and another in heaven. God then said to Jacob, `My son Jacob, to-day I stand above thee as in the future thy children will stand before Me.` At the sight of these two Jerusalems, the earthly and the heavenly, Jacob said: `The Jerusalem on earth is nothing, this is not the house that will be preserved for my children in all generations, but in truth that other house of God, that He builds with His own hands.` But if thou sayest," continued the Messiah, "that God with His own hands builds Himself a Temple in heaven, know then that with His hands also He will build the Temple upon earth."
Numbers Rabba 13:6 (Ginzburg translation)
The first day of Nisan was an eventful day, "a day that was distinguished by ten crowns." It was the day on which the princes of the tribes began to bring their offerings; it was the first day on which Shekinah came to dwell among Israel; the first day on which sacrifice on any but the appointed place was forbidden; the first day on which priests bestowed their blessing upon Israel; the first day for regular sacrificial service; the first day on which the priests partook of certain portions of the offering; the first day on which the heavenly fire was seen on the altar; it was besides the first day of the week, a Sunday, the first day of the first month of the year. 
10 They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. 12 You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it. 16 You shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you. 17 You shall make a cover of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. 18 You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the cover at its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, shielding the cover with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the cover. 21 You shall put the cover on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. 22 There I will meet with you; and from above the cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the children of Israel.