1 Samuel 5

The Ark Causes Trouble for the Philistines

Now the Philistines had captured the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the temple of Dagon, where they positioned it beside Dagon. When the residents of Ashdod got up early the next day,
The LXX adds “they entered the temple of Dagon and saw.”
Dagon was lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him back in his place.
But when they got up early the following day, Dagon was again lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and his two hands were sheared off and were lying at the threshold. Only Dagon’s body was left intact.
Heb “only Dagon was left.” We should probably read the word גֵּו (gev, “back”) before Dagon, understanding it to have the sense of the similar word גְּוִיָּה (geviyyah, “body”). This variant is supported by the following evidence: The LXX has ἡ ῥάχις (hē rhacis, “the back” or “trunk”); the Syriac Peshitta has wegusmeh (“and the body of”); the Targum has gupyeh (“the body of”); the Vulgate has truncus (“the trunk of,” cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT). On the strength of this evidence the present translation employs the phrase “Dagon’s body.”
(For this reason, to this very day, neither Dagon’s priests nor anyone else who enters Dagon’s temple step on Dagon’s threshold in Ashdod.)

The Lord attacked
Heb “the hand of the Lord was heavy upon.”
the residents of Ashdod severely, bringing devastation on them. He struck the people of
The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
both Ashdod and the surrounding area with sores.
The LXX and Vulgate add the following: “And mice multiplied in their land, and the terror of death was throughout the entire city.”
Or “tumors” (so ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “growths on their skin”; KJV “emerods”; NAB “hemorrhoids.”
When the people
Heb “men.”
of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel should not remain with us, for he has attacked
Heb “for his hand is severe upon.”
both us and our god Dagon!”

So they assembled
Heb “and they sent and gathered.”
all the leaders of the Philistines and asked, “What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They replied, “The ark of the God of Israel should be moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

But after it had been moved the Lord attacked
Heb “the hand of the Lord was against the city.”
that city as well, causing a great deal of panic. He struck all the people of that city
Heb “and he struck the men of the city from small and to great.”
with sores.
See the note on this term in v. 6. Cf. KJV “and they had emerods in their secret parts.”
10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

But when the ark of God arrived at Ekron, the residents of Ekron cried out saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel here
Heb “to me.”
to kill our
Heb “my.”
people!”
11 So they assembled
Heb “and they sent and gathered.”
all the leaders of the Philistines and said, “Get the ark of the God of Israel out of here! Let it go back to its own place so that it won’t kill us
Heb “me.”
and our
Heb “my.”
people!” The terror
Or “panic.”
of death was throughout the entire city; God was attacking them very severely there.
Heb “the hand of God was very heavy there.”
12 The people
Heb “men.”
who did not die were struck with sores; the city’s cry for help went all the way up to heaven.

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