1 Samuel 5:10
Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
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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.The "lords" (see Judges 3:3) were very unwilling to give up their triumph, and, with the common pagan superstition, imagined that some local bad luck was against them at Ashdod. The result was to bring the whole Philistine community under the same calamity. 7. the ark of God shall not abide with us—It was removed successively to several of the large towns of the country, but the same pestilence broke out in every place and raged so fiercely and fatally that the authorities were forced to send the ark back into the land of Israel [1Sa 5:8-10]. Not that they intended this, but because this would be the event of it. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron,.... Another of the five principalities of the Philistines, about ten miles from Gath, where Baalzebub, or the god of the fly, was worshipped:

and it came to pass, that as the ark of God came to Ekron; and had been there some little time:

that the Ekronites cried out; when they perceived the hand of God was upon them, as upon the other cities; these were the chief magistrates of the city, with the lord of them, as appears by what follows:

saying, they have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us; from one city to another, and at length to us:

to slay us and our people; not that this was their intention, but so it was eventually.

Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
10. they sent the ark of God to Ekron] The most northerly of the five confederate cities, about 11 miles north of Gath. It was allotted to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:45-46), and was temporarily occupied (Jdg 1:18). Baal-zebub was the local deity (2 Kings 1:2). The site is marked by the modern village of Akir.

to us, to slay us and our people] Lit., as in the margin, “to me, to slay me and my people.” So too in 1 Samuel 5:11. The singular seems to indicate that the ‘lord’ acted as spokesman.Verses 10, 11. - The Ekronites cried out. Convinced by this second and more fatal plague that the ark was the cause of their punishment, the people of Ekron, when it was passed on to them from Gath, protested loudly against its presence. Compelled to receive it until the lords of the Philistines could be convened in council to decide upon its ultimate destination, the plague broke out so heavily among them that they were in utter dismay. For the rendering deadly destruction is untenable. Literally the words are, "a dismay of death;" but in Hebrew death added to a word of this sort simply means "very great." So "terrors of death" in Psalm 55:4 are very great terrors. In the next verse we learn that many did die, but the words used here describe the mental agony and despair of the people as they saw the ark, which had wrought elsewhere so great misery, brought unto them. But they were obliged to give up this notion when they found the god lying on his face upon the ground again the next morning in front of the ark of Jehovah, and in fact broken to pieces, so that Dagon's head and the two hollow hands of his arms lay severed upon the threshold, and nothing was left but the trunk of the fish (דּגון). The word Dagon, in this last clause, is used in an appellative sense, viz., the fishy part, or fish's shape, from דּג, a fish. המּפתּן is no doubt the threshold of the door of the recess in which the image was set up. We cannot infer from this, however, as Thenius has done, that with the small dimensions of the recesses in the ancient temples, if the image fell forward, the pieces named might easily fall upon the threshold. This naturalistic interpretation of the miracle is not only proved to be untenable by the word כּרתות, since כּרוּת means cut off, and not broken off, but is also precluded by the improbability, not to say impossibility, of the thing itself. For if the image of Dagon, which was standing by the side of the ark, was thrown down towards the ark, so as to lie upon its face in front of it, the pieces that were broken off, viz., the head and hands, could not have fallen sideways, so as to lie upon the threshold. Even the first fall of the image of Dagon was a miracle. From the fact that their god Dagon lay upon its face before the ark of Jehovah, i.e., lay prostrate upon the earth, as though worshipping before the God of Israel, the Philistines were to learn, that even their supreme deity had been obliged to fall down before the majesty of Jehovah, the God of the Israelites. But as they did not discern the meaning of this miraculous sign, the second miracle was to show them the annihilation of their idol through the God of Israel, in such a way as to preclude every thought of accident. The disgrace attending the annihilation of their idol was probably to be heightened by the fact, that the pieces of Dagon that were smitten off were lying upon the threshold, inasmuch as what lay upon the threshold was easily trodden upon by any one who entered the house. This is intimated in the custom referred to in 1 Samuel 5:5, that in consequence of this occurrence, the priests of Dagon, and all who entered the temple of Dagon at Ashdod, down to the time of the historian himself, would not step upon the threshold of Dagon, i.e., the threshold where Dagon's head and hands had lain, but stepped over the threshold (not "leaped over," as many commentators assume on the ground of Zephaniah 1:5, which has nothing to do with the matter), that they might not touch with their feet, and so defile, the place where the pieces of their god had lain.
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