1 Samuel 5: 1-6…..A duel described.

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumours, both Ashdod and its territory.

Comment: Referring back to my comments made about 12 days ago of the defeat and slaughter of the Israelites by the Philistines, we read today that the the ‘Ark of God’, which the Israelites had tried to use as a ‘magical charm’ to bring them victory was also captured. The Israelites had made a major mistake, but nevertheless God was still on their side and the Ark was very meaningful.

Did the Philistines plan for the Ark to be another God; were they trying to show its submission to their god Dagon, a fish shaped idol? We are not told. But God showed His hand and displeasure. Dagon fell on the floor. Replaced, the next night the idol fell shattered. I don’t know what they did with the idol (?patched him together with superglue.) There were two results which we know followed. Firstly, the priests no longer trod where the Ark had stood, presumably because, in the custom of the day, they saw where the Ark had victoriously stood, as God’s ground. Their idol had fallen before the Ark! It had won that territory for the God of Israel. Secondly although God had ‘allowed’ the Philistines to win the battle (presumably to discipline Israel for their disobedience), He brought a plague against the people of that area. A tumour is simply a lump and to me sounds like nasty boils.

Prayer: You. O God, have revealed Yourself as not tolerating Your people worshipping any idols. Help me to worship You alone.

One thought on “1 Samuel 5: 1-6…..A duel described.

  1. Thank you Barry for your comments on this passage. I think that it is a wonderful picture of the pagan god, Dagon, falling down before the Ark of God, as if he, Dagon, was a defeated foe, (which he actually was). And I had to laugh at your comment, “did they stick him back together with super glue?” Ha! Ha! Ha! A good thought! God bless.


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