|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:6-12 The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines; he not only convinced them of their folly, but severely chastised their insolence. Yet they would not renounce Dagon; and instead of seeking God's mercy, they desired to get clear of his ark. Carnal hearts, when they smart under the judgments of God, would rather, if it were possible, put him far from them, than enter into covenant or communion with him, and seek him for their friend. But their devices to escape the Divine judgments only increase them. Those that fight against God will soon have enough of it.
Verse 12. - The cry of the city went up to heaven. Not the word used in ver. 10, where it is an outcry of indignation, but a cry for help, a cry of sorrow and distress. Though in ver. 10 Ekronites is in the plural, yet in all that follows the singular is used. "They have brought about the ark to me, to slay me and my people... That it slay me not and my people." It is the prince of Ekron who, as the representative of the people, expostulates with his fellow rulers for the wrong they are doing him. But finally all join in his lamentation, and the whole city, smitten by God's band sends up its prayer to heaven for mercy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods,.... As the inhabitants of Ashdod and Gath had been; this shows that those that died did not die of that disease, but of some other; very likely the pestilence:
and the cry of the city went up to heaven; not that it was heard and regarded there, but the phrase is used to denote the greatness of it, how exceeding loud and clamorous it was; partly on the account of the death of so many of the inhabitants, their relations and friends; and partly because of the intolerable pain they endured through the emerods. There is something of this history preserved in a story wrongly told by Herodotus (b), who relates that the Scythians returning from Egypt passed through Ashkelon, a city of Syria (one of the five principalities of the Philistines), and that some of them robbed the temple of Venus there; for which the goddess sent on them and their posterity the disease of emerods, and that the Scythians themselves acknowledged that they were troubled with it on that account.
(b) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 105.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. the cry of the city went up to heaven—The disease is attended with acute pain, and it is far from being a rare phenomenon in the Philistian plain [Van De Velde].
1 Samuel 5:12 Parallel Commentaries
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