And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumours broke out on them. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. The men who did not die were struck with tumours, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
Comment: People were very religious in those days. They soon connected their problems with the presence of the ‘Ark of God’. The Ark was not a god. The God who had ordered it, as the centre of the earthly representation of His Presence, was, and is, God. The people of Ashdod (a major city), having suffered the ‘boils’, as they saw it (correctly) due to the presence of the Ark, sought advice. Next it was taken to Gath, where the same happened. When sent to Ekron the people very sensibly cried ‘No, no!’ and refused to have it there. They objected immediately but it seems not soon enough for they also suffered. But they started a movement to be rid of the Ark. There were five regions of the Philistines and their leaders (lords) were contacted and their attitude made quite clear, to send the Ark away.
Prayer: Help me to see Your sovereignty and recognize You in the affairs of my life, O God.