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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel 5: Fun & Games with the Philistines

 

v.1-7 In Ashdod Dagon falls before the Ark

v.8-9 The Ark moved to Gath

v.10-12 The Ark moved to Ekron

 

 

v.1-7 In Ashdod Dagon falls before the Ark

 

v.1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.

v.2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon's temple and set it beside Dagon.

v.3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place.

v.4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.

v.5 That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon's temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

v.6 The Lord's hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.

v.7 When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.”

 

[Notes: You will have to forgive our title over this chapter, because an alternative, perhaps, in today's language, might have been ‘The Philistines learn not to mess with God!' They simply take the ark to one of their leading cities, Ashdod, and place it inside the temple of Dagon, a crop-fertility god, the chief god of the Philistines, the father of Baal, and a fish-god, half man, half fish. After the first night Dagon is face down before the ark. After the second night, again he has fallen before the ark but with arms and head broken off and left as if discarded at the temple entrance. The message is loud and clear: God is sovereign Lord. Moreover, the people of Ashdod start contracting tumors, thought by some to be large boils in the groin. Eventually the people realise what is happening and demand the ark be moved out of the city.]

 

 

v.8-9 The Ark moved to Gath

 

v.8 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

v.9 But after they had moved it, the Lord 's hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.

 

[Notes: When the Ark is taken to Gath, they too start suffering from tumors and start panicking.]

 

 

v.10-12 The Ark moved to Ekron

 

v.10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.”

v.11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God's hand was very heavy on it.

v.12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

 

[Notes: The Ark is hastily moved on to Ekron but the people there have heard what happened in the two previous cities and demand it be taken back to Israel. Already deaths had started to occur in their city as well as tumors and they cried out against it.]

    

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 6