|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-5 See the ark's triumph over Dagon. Thus the kingdom of Satan will certainly fall before the kingdom of Christ, error before truth, profaneness before godliness, and corruption before grace in the hearts of the faithful. When the interests of religion seem to be ready to sink, even then we may be confident that the day of their triumph will come. When Christ, the true Ark of the covenant, really enters the heart of fallen man, which is indeed Satan's temple, all idols will fall, every endeavour to set them up again will be vain, sin will be forsaken, and unrighteous gain restored; the Lord will claim and possess the throne. But pride, self-love, and worldly lusts, though dethroned and crucified, still remain within us, like the stump of Dagon. Let us watch and pray that they may not prevail. Let us seek to have them more entirely destroyed.
Verse 5. - Henceforward, therefore, his priests and other worshippers carefully abstained from treading on the door sill, where his nobler members had lain, unto this day. Apparently the Books of Samuel were written some time after the events recorded in them took place, and we have remarkable evidence of the permanence of the custom in Zephaniah 1:9, where the Philistines are described as "those that leap on," or more correctly over, "the threshold." The custom, so curious in itself and so long continued, bears strong testimony to the historical truth of the narrative.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house,.... Neither the priests that continually attended the worship and service of Dagon, nor the people that came there to pay their devotions to him:
tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day: but used to leap over it, either reckoning it sacred because touched by their idol, which fell upon it; or rather, as it should seem, in a way of detestation, because it had been the means of cutting off the head and hands of their idol; and this custom not only continued to the latter days of Samuel, the writer of this book; but even among the Philistines in one place or another to the times of Zephaniah, who seems to allude to it, Zephaniah 1:9. In later times there was another deity worshipped at Ashdod; according to Masius (s), the Philistine Venus, or Astarte, was worshipped in this place; though perhaps she may be no other than Atergatis, or Adergatis, which with Selden (t) is only a corruption of Addir-dag, the magnificent fish, in which form Dagon is supposed to be; so the Phoenician goddess Derceto, worshipped at Ashkelon had the face of a woman, and the other part was all fish; though Ben Gersom says Dagon was in the form of a man, and which is confirmed by the Complutensian edition of the Septuagint, which on 1 Samuel 5:4 reads, "the soles of his feet were cut off"; which is a much better reading than the common one, "the soles of his hands", which is not sense; by which it appears that he had head, hands, and feet; wherefore it seems most likely that he had his name from Dagon, signifying corn: See Gill on Judges 16:23.
(s) Comment. in Joshua 15.47. (t) De Dis. Syr. Syntagu. l. 2. c. 3. p. 267.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
5:5 This day - When this history was written, which if written by Samuel towards the end of his life, was a sufficient ground for this expression.
1 Samuel 5:5 Parallel Commentaries
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