The Ark in the Temple of Dagon. The Philistines are terrified of the Ark.
VERSE 1. Now the Philistines had taken God’s ark, and they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
VERSE 2. The Philistines took God’s ark, and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon.
Dagon. Dagon was worshipped as a fertility god.
VERSE 3. When the people of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the LORD’s ark. They took Dagon and set him in his place again.
Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground. This must have shocked the Philistines terribly. No human vandal could have toppled that behemoth statue.
VERSE 4. When they arose early on the following morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the LORD’s ark; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso was intact.
the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off. This too must have been very shocking to the Philistines. It demonstrates the superiority of the One God of Israel over their Dagon.
VERSE 5. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
VERSE 6. But the LORD’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and he destroyed them and struck them with tumors, even Ashdod and its borders.
VERSE 7. When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel shall not stay with us, for his hand is severe on us and on Dagon our god.”
VERSE 8. They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” They carried the ark of the God of Israel there.
Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath. The mighty Philistines stole an ornate box from the Jews. In just two days, it filled the whole Philistine nation with terror. They want to get rid of it. Right now!
VERSE 9. It was so, that after they had carried it there, the LORD’s hand was against the city with a very great confusion; and he struck the men of the city, both small and great, so that tumors broke out on them.
VERSE 10. So they sent God’s ark to Ekron. As God’s ark came to Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel here to us, to kill us and our people.”
VERSE 11. They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away, and let it go again to its own place, that it not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly panic throughout all the city. The hand of God was very heavy there.
VERSE 12. The men who didn’t die were struck with the tumors; and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
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