1 Samuel 5:7
And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore on us, and on Dagon our god.
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1 Samuel 5:7-8. The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us — Now their eyes were opened to see that, though they had vanquished the Israelites, they could not stand before the God of Israel. Let the ark be carried to Gath — They seem to have been possessed with a superstitious conceit that there was something in the place which was offensive to the God of Israel, and therefore removed the ark from Ashdod, to which and its coasts they supposed the plague, for some particular reasons, was confined. Or they thought it had come upon them by chance, or for putting the ark into Dagon’s temple, which they resolved they would not do.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. 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]. No text from Poole on this verse. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so,.... That many of their inhabitants were taken away by death, and others afflicted with a painful disease; all which they imputed to the ark being among them:

they said, the ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us; like the Gergesenes, who besought Christ to depart their coasts, having more regard for their swine than for him:

for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon, our god, not the hand of the ark, unless they took it for a god, but the hand of the God of Israel; in this they were right, and seem to have understood the case better than the other lords they after consulted; his hand was upon Dagon, as appeared his fall before the ark, and upon them by smiting with the haemorrhoids, the memory of which abode with the Philistines for ages afterwards; for we are told (w) that the Scythians, having plundered the temple of Venus at Ashkelon, one of their five principalities, the goddess inflicted upon them the female disease, or the haemorrhoids; which shows that it was thought to be a disease inflicted by way of punishment for sacrilege, and that it was still remembered what the Philistines suffered for a crime of the like nature.

(w) Herodot. Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 105.

And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
7. is sore] i.e. severe.Verse 7. - His hand is sore upon us. The epidemic was evidently very painful, and, as appears from ver. 11, fatal in numerous instances. Connecting this outbreak with the prostrate condition and subsequent mutilation of their god, the people of Ashdod recognised in their affliction the hand, i.e. the power, of Jehovah, and determined to send away the ark, the symbol of his ill omened presence among them. The Ark in the Land of the Philistines. - 1 Samuel 5:1-6. The Philistines carried the ark from Ebenezer, where they had captured it, into their capital, Ashdod (Esdud; see at Joshua 13:3), and placed it there in the temple of Dagon, by the side of the idol Dagon, evidently as a dedicatory offering to this god of theirs, by whose help they imagined that they had obtained the victory over both the Israelites and their God. With regard to the image of Dagon, compounded of man and fish, i.e., of a human body, with head and hands, and a fish's tail, see, in addition to Judges 16:23, Stark's Gaza, pp. 248ff., 308ff., and Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, pp. 466-7, where there is a bas-relief from Khorsabad, in which "a figure is seen swimming in the sea, with the upper part of the body resembling a bearded man, wearing the ordinary conical tiara of royalty, adorned with elephants' tusks, and the lower part resembling the body of a fish. It has the hand lifted up, as if in astonishment or fear, and is surrounded by fishes, crabs, and other marine animals" (Stark, p. 308). As this bas-relief represents, according to Layard, the war of an Assyrian king with the inhabitants of the coast of Syria, most probably of Sargon, who had to carry on a long conflict with the Philistian towns, more especially with Ashdod, there can hardly be any doubt that we have a representation of the Philistian Dagon here. This deity was a personification of the generative and vivifying principle of nature, for which the fish with its innumerable multiplication was specially adapted, and set forth the idea of the giver of all earthly good.
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