1 Samuel 5:12
And the men that died not were smitten with the tumors: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
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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. 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]. The men that died not; either of some other plague or ulcer, as may be thought from 1 Samuel 5:6, or of the emerods, which infested and tormented even those whom it did not kill.

The cry of the city, or, of that city where the ark was; and the city is put for the people inhabiting it. 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.

And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
12. the cry of the city went up to heaven] Cp. Exodus 2:13. The word used always denotes a supplication, a cry for help.

Each city was visited with a heavier judgment than the preceding one. “The longer the Philistines resisted and refused to recognise the chastening hand of the living God in the plagues inflicted upon them, the more severely would they necessarily be punished.” So when Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the Israelites go, the hand of the Lord grew heavier and heavier, till an unwilling consent was wrung from him.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.

The visitation of God was not restricted to the demolition of the statue of Dagon, but affected the people of Ashdod as well. "The hand of Jehovah was heavy upon the Ashdodites, and laid them waste." השׁם, from שׁמם, when applied to men, as in Micah 6:13, signifies to make desolate not only by diseases, but also by the withdrawal or diminution of the means of subsistence, the devastation of the fields, and such like. That the latter is included here, is evident from the dedicatory offerings with which the Philistines sought to mitigate the wrath of the God of the Israelites (1 Samuel 6:4-5, 1 Samuel 6:11, 1 Samuel 6:18), although the verse before us simply mentions the diseases with which God visited them.

(Note: At the close of 1 Samuel 5:3 and 1 Samuel 5:6 the Septuagint contains some comprehensive additions; viz., at the close of 1 Samuel 5:3 : Καὶ ἐβαρύνθη χεὶρ Κυρίου ἐπι τοὺς Ἀζωτίους καὶ ἐβασάνιζεν αὐτους, καὶ ἐπάταζεν αὐτους εἰς τάς ἕδρας αὐτων, τὴν Ἄζωτον καὶ τὰ ὅρια αὐτῆς; and at the end of 1 Samuel 5:4 : Καὶ μέσον τῆς χώρας αὐτῆς ἀνεφυησαν μύες καὶ ἐγένετο σύγχυσις θανάτου μεγάλη ἐν τῇ πολει. This last clause we also find in the Vulgate, expressed as follows: Et eballiverunt villae et agri in medio regionis illius, et nati sunt mures, et facta est confusio mortis magnae in civitate. Ewald's decision with regard to these clauses (Gesch. ii. p. 541) is, that they are not wanted at 1 Samuel 5:3, 1 Samuel 5:6, but that they are all the more necessary at 1 Samuel 6:1; whereas at 1 Samuel 5:3, 1 Samuel 5:6, they would rather injure the sense. Thenius admits that the clause appended to 1 Samuel 5:3 is nothing more than a second translation of our sixth verse, which has been interpolated by a copyist of the Greek in the wrong place; whereas that of 1 Samuel 5:6 contains the original though somewhat corrupt text, according to which the Hebrew text should be emended. But an impartial examination would show very clearly, that all these additions are nothing more than paraphrases founded upon the context. The last part of the addition to 1 Samuel 5:6 is taken verbatim from 1 Samuel 5:11, whilst the first part is a conjecture based upon 1 Samuel 6:4-5. Jerome, if indeed the addition in our text of the Vulgate really originated with him, and was not transferred into his version from the Itala, did not venture to suppress the clause interpolated in the Alexandrian version. This is very evident from the words confusio mortis magnae, which are a literal rendering of σύγχυσις θανάτου μεγάλη; whereas in 1 Samuel 5:11, Jerome has given to מות מהוּמת, which the lxx rendered σύγχυσις θανάτου, the much more accurate rendering pavor mortis. Moreover, neither the Syriac nor Targum Jonath. has this clause; so that long before the time of Jerome, the Hebrew text existed in the form in which the Masoretes have handed it down to us.)

"And He smote them with עפלים, i.e., boils:" according to the Rabbins, swellings on the anus, mariscae (see at Deuteronomy 28:27). For עפלים the Masoretes have invariably substituted טחרים, which is used in 1 Samuel 6:11, 1 Samuel 6:17, and was probably regarded as more decorous. Ashdod is a more precise definition of the word them, viz., Ashdod, i.e., the inhabitants of Ashdod and its territory.

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