1 Samuel 5:6
But the hand of the LORD was heavy on them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with tumors, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
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(6) But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod.—A painful and distressing sickness, in the form, perhaps, of tumours—(the word emerods should be spelt hemorrhoids)—broke out among the inhabitants of the Philistine city in which was situated the idol temple, where was placed the Ark of the Covenant. The LXX. has an addition to the Hebrew text here which speaks of a terrible land plague which, apparently from subsequent notices, visited Philistia in addition to the bodily sufferings here spoken of. The Greek Version adds to 1Samuel 5:6 these words: “and mice were produced in the land, and there arose a great and deadly confusion in the city.” In 1Samuel 6:4, &c, among the expiatory offerings sent by the idolators to Israel to appease what they imagined the offended Hebrew God, “golden mice” are mentioned: “images of the mice that mar the land.” The mouse, according to Herodotus and the testimony of hieroglyphics, was an old symbol of pestilence. The Greek translators, however, failing to understand the meaning of the offering of golden mice, added the words—apparently in accordance with a received tradition—by way of explanation.

1 Samuel 5:6. The hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod — Since they were so blind as not to see his hand in throwing down their god, he smote them with such sore plagues in their own bodies as made them sensible of his power, by destroying great numbers of them. With emerods — The piles, a most painful and distressing disorder. Ashdod, and the coasts thereof — Not only the people of the city, but of the villages belonging to it, were smitten with this plague.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.Emerods - A corruption of "hemorrhoids." It is mentioned Deuteronomy 28:27 among the diseases with which God threatened to punish the Israelites for disobedience. 1Sa 5:6-12. The Philistines Are Smitten with Emerods.

6. the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod—The presumption of the Ashdodites was punished by a severe judgment that overtook them in the form of a pestilence.

smote them with emerods—bleeding piles, hemorrhoids (Ps 78:66), in a very aggravated form. As the heathens generally regarded diseases affecting the secret parts of the body as punishments from the gods for trespasses committed against themselves, the Ashdodites would be the more ready to look upon the prevailing epidemic as demonstrating the anger of God, already shown against their idol.

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, for their incorrigibleness by the foregoing documents.

He destroyed them; partly by wasting their land, 1 Samuel 6:5; and partly by killing many of their persons, as is sufficiently implied here, 1 Samuel 5:10.

Emerods; a disease mentioned only here and Deu 28:27; it was in the hinder parts. It is needless to inquire into the nature of it. It may suffice to know that it was a very sore disease, and not only very vexatious and tormenting, but also pernicious and mortal. But the hand of the Lord was heavy on them of Ashdod,.... Not only on their idol, but on themselves; it had crushed him to pieces, and now it fell heavy on them to their destruction:

and he destroyed them; either by the disease after mentioned they were smitten with, or rather with some other, since that seems not to be mortal, though painful; it may be with the pestilence:

and smote them with emerods; more properly haemorrhoids, which, as Kimchi says, was the name of a disease, but he says not what; Ben Gersom calls it a very painful disease, from whence comes a great quantity of blood. Josephus (u) takes it to be the dysentery or bloody flux; it seems to be what we commonly call the piles, and has its name in Hebrew from the height of them, rising up sometimes into high large tumours:

even Ashdod and the coasts thereof; not only the inhabitants of the city were afflicted with this disease, but those of the villages round about.

(u) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 1. sect. 1.

But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
6. But the hand of the Lord] Rather, And. “The hand of the Lord” = the putting forth of His might. Chastisement now overtook the people as well as the god.

he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods] A double calamity fell upon them (1) Their land was ravaged by a plague of mice. The present Heb. text leaves this to be inferred from ch. 1 Samuel 6:5, but the Sept. inserts here “And mice sprang up in the midst of their land, and there was a very deadly destruction in the city.” This may be merely an inference from 1 Samuel 5:11 and 1 Samuel 6:5, but the numerous divergences of the Sept. from the existing Heb. text in chaps, 5 and 6 (making full allowance for obvious glosses and errors of transcription) seem to shew that the Greek translators employed a text which had not been subjected to the final revision which fixed our present Heb. text.

(2) Their bodies were attacked by a loathsome and painful disease, either (a) emerods = haemorrhoids or bleeding piles; or more probably (b) boils, which are a characteristic symptom of the oriental plague. The latter explanation agrees better with the infectiousness and fatality of the scourge.

the coasts thereof] = the borders thereof. Coast is derived from costa, a rib, or side, and originally meant any border or frontier-line, not the sea-line only, cp. Joshua 1:4.Verse 6. - But the hand of Jehovah was heavy upon them of Ashdod. I.e. his power and might were exercised in smiting them with severe plagues. A question here arises whether, as the Septuagint affirms, besides the scourge of emerods, their land was desolated by swarms of field mice. It is certain that they sent as votive offerings golden images of "the mice that mar the land" (1 Samuel 6:5); but the translators of the Septuagint too often attempt to make all things easy by unauthorised additions, suggested by the context; and so probably here it was the wish to explain why mice were sent which made them add, "and mice were produced in the land." Really the mouse was a symbol of pestilence (Herod., 2:141), and appears as such in hieroglyphics; and by sending golden mice with golden emerods the lords of the Philistines expressed very clearly that the emerods had been epidemic. This word, more correctly spelt haemorrhoids, has this in its favour, that the noun used here, ophalim, is never read in the synagogue. Wherever the word occurs the reader was instructed to say tehorim, the vowels of which are actually attached to the consonants of ophalim in the text of our Hebrew Bibles. In Deuteronomy 28:27. tehorim is mentioned as one of the loathsome skin diseases of Egypt, and though rendered "emerods" in the A.V., is possibly, as translated by Aquila, "an eating ulcer." Ophalim need only mean turnouts, swellings, its original signification being "a hill" (2 Chronicles 27:3); yet as the word was not thought fit for public reading in the synagogue, we may feel sure that it means some such tumours as the A.V. describes. The judgment which fell upon Eli through this stroke extended still further. His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child (near) to be delivered. ללת, contracted from ללדת (from ילד: see Ges. 69, 3, note 1; Ewald, 238, c.). When she heard the tidings of the capture (אל־הלּקח, "with regard to the being taken away") of the ark of God, and the death of her father-in-law and husband, she fell upon her knees and was delivered, for her pains had fallen upon her (lit. had turned against her), and died in consequence. Her death, however, was but a subordinate matter to the historian. He simply refers to it casually in the words, "and about the time of her death," for the purpose of giving her last words, in which she gave utterance to her grief at the loss of the ark, as a matter of greater importance in relation to his object. As she lay dying, the women who stood round sought to comfort her, by telling her that she had brought forth a son; but "she did not answer, and took no notice (לב שׁוּת equals לב שׂוּם, animum advertere; cf. 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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