Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Unto this day.—This curious “memory” of the disaster to the Dagon image in this Philistine temple at Ashdod long existed among the worshippers of the fish-god. Zephaniah (1Samuel 1:9), in the reign of King Josiah, mentions this among idolatrous observances which he condemns: “In the same day I will punish all those that leap on (or over) the threshold.”
unto this day—The usage continued in practice at the time when this history was written—probably in the later years of Samuel's life.Zephaniah 1:9. Herein they manifested their stupendous folly, both in making a perpetual monument of their own and idol’s shame, which in all reason they should rather have buried in eternal oblivion; and in turning a plain and certain argument of contempt into an occasion of further veneration.
Unto 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, this superstitious usage having then continued for many years.
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.Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. Therefore neither the priests, &c.] As a mark of reverence for the spot where their idol had lain. Zephaniah 1:9 does not appear to contain any reference to this practice, which was peculiar to the temple at Ashdod.
unto this day] The practice was still observed when the historian wrote.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. Psalm 62:11), but called to the boy (i.e., named him), Ichabod (כבוד אי, no glory), saying, The glory of Israel is departed," referring to the capture of the ark of God, and also to her father-in-law and husband. She then said again, "Gone (גּלה, wandered away, carried off) is the glory of Israel, for the ark of God is taken." The repetition of these words shows how deeply the wife of the godless Phinehas had taken to heart the carrying off of the ark, and how in her estimation the glory of Israel had departed with it. Israel could not be brought lower. With the surrender of the earthly throne of His glory, the Lord appeared to have abolished His covenant of grace with Israel; for the ark, with the tables of the law and the capporeth, was the visible pledge of the covenant of grace which Jehovah had made with Israel.
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