And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
Ashdod, called Azotus by the Greeks, was one of the five satrapies of the Philistines, and a place of great strength and consequence. It was situated near the Mediterranean, between Askelon and Jamnia, thirty-four miles north of Gaza, according to Diodorus Siculus, and the Antonine and Jerusalem Itineraries. It is now called Shdood; and Dr. Richardson says they neither saw nor heard of any ruins there. "The ground," he observes, "around Ashdod is beautifully undulating, but not half stocked with cattle. The site of the town is on the summit of a grassy hill; and, if we are to believe historians, was anciently as strong as it was beautiful."
When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
The name of this idol, Dagon, signifies a fish: and it is supposed to be the Atergatis of the Syrians, corruptly called Derceto by the Greeks, which had the upper part like a woman, and the lower part like a fish; as Lucian informs us: [Derketous de eidos en Phoinike etheÈsamÈn, theÈma xenon; Èmisen men gynÈ; to de okoson ek mÈrÛn es akrous podas, ichtlyos ourÈ apoteinetai;] "In Phoenicia I saw the image of Derceto; a strange sight truly! For she had the half of a woman, but from the thighs downward a fish's tail." Diodorus, (1. ii.) describing the same idol, as represented at Askelon, says, [to men prosÛpon echei synaikos, to d'allo sÛma pan ichthyos.] "It had the head of a woman, but all the rest of the body a fish's." Probably Horace alludes to this idol, in De Art. Poet. v. 4; Desinat in piscem, mulier formosa superne: "The upper part a handsome woman, and the lower part a fish." If such was the form of this idol, then everything that was human was broken off from what resembled a fish.
or, the fishy part.
Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
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.
The LXX. and Vulgate add: [Kai meson tÈs choras autÈs anephyÈsan myes kai egeneto synchysis thanatou megalÈ en tÈ polei; Et ebullierunt villÊ et agri in medio regionis illius, et nati sunt mures; et facta est confusio mortis magnÊ in civitate; "And [the cities and fields in Vulg.] the midst of that region produced mice; [Vulg. burst up, and mice were produced;] and there was the confusion of a great death in the city."
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.
upon Dagon our god
They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.
And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
with a very
and they had emerods
Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
God to Ekron
us, to slay us and our people
Heb. me, to slay me and my people.
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
us not, and our people
Heb. me not, and my people. a deadly.
And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.