וּפְלִשְׁתִּים לָקְחוּ אֵת אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וַיְבִאֻהוּ מֵאֶבֶן הָעֵזֶר אַשְׁדּוֹדָה׃ 5:1
1Sam. 5:1 So the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod.
וַיִּקְחוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֹתוֹ בֵּית דָּגוֹן וַיַּצִּיגוּ אֹתוֹ אֵצֶל דָּגוֹן׃ 5:2
1Sam. 5:2 And the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and placed it near Dagon.
Dagon was a major god of the Philistines.
וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ אַשְׁדּוֹדִים מִמָּחֳרָת וְהִנֵּה דָגוֹן נֹפֵל לְפָנָיו אַרְצָה לִפְנֵי אֲרוֹן יְהוָה וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־דָּגוֹן וַיָּשִׁבוּ 5:3
1Sam. 5:3 And the Ashdodites rose early the next day and behold, Dagon was fallen on its face on the ground before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon and returned it to its place.
וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ בַבֹּקֶר מִמָּחֳרָת וְהִנֵּה דָגוֹן נֹפֵל לְפָנָיו אַרְצָה לִפְנֵי אֲרוֹן יְהוָה וְרֹאשׁ דָּגוֹן וּשְׁתֵּי כַּפּוֹת יָדָיו 5:4
כְּרֻתוֹת אֶל־הַמִּפְתָּן רַק דָּגוֹן נִשְׁאַר עָלָיו׃
1Sam. 5:4 And they rose early in the morning the next day and behold, Dagon was fallen on its face on the ground before the ark of the Lord, but the head of Dagon and both palms of its hands were cut off against the threshold. Only Dagon was left on it.
1Sam. 5:5 Therefore the priests of Dagon or anyone who comes into the house of Dagon will not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod until this day.
This verse may help explain a mysterious prophesy appearing in Zeph. 1:9. [Return to Zeph. 1:9]
וַתִּכְבַּד יַד־יְהוָה אֶל־הָאַשְׁדּוֹדִים וַיְשִׁמֵּם וַיַּךְ אֹתָם (בַּעֳפֹלִים) [בַּטְּחֹרִים] אֶת־אַשְׁדּוֹד וְאֶת־גְּבוּלֶיהָ׃ 5:6
1Sam. 5:6 Now the hand of the Lord was heavy for the Ashdodites, and He destroyed them and smote them with emerods, Ashdod and its territories.
Emerods are an extinct term for hemorrhoids or tumors. The ninth word, בַּעֳפֹלִים, translated as with emerods by me, is considered an error by scholars although it represents a valid Hebrew term for tumors or hemorrhoids. Another word is substituted, the word appearing in the brackets here. For some reason the scholars appear to think that the first word (in parentheses) is improperly employed. The same word (at least the word with the same root) appears twice more in this chapter, in v. 5:9 and v. 5:12, and similar corrections are usually found there. It also appears four more times in 1Sam. 6. I have omitted the six corrections because I’m not sure they (or the one above) are appropriate. I personally believe the scribe was trying to convey a subtle message by using the term thought to be in error. That term can also be translated as a stronghold. I suspect the scribe might have been mocking the Philistines, implying that their rear ends were their strongholds. Incidentally, the word also appears in Deut. 28:27 and there applies to the Israelites if they do not follow the Lord’s commandments (one of the “curses” of that chapter). The scribe might have attributed the same characteristic to the Israelites as my suspicion above if they were foolish enough to disregard Moses’ warnings The word as referring to emerods appears no where else in the bible.
וַיִּרְאוּ אַנְשֵׁי־אַשְׁדּוֹד כִּי־כֵן וְאָמְרוּ לֹא־יֵשֵׁב אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עִמָּנוּ כִּי־קָשְׁתָה יָדוֹ עָלֵינוּ וְעַל 5:7
1Sam. 5:7 When the men of Ashdod perceived that it was so, then they said, “The ark of the God of Israel can not stay with us, for His hand is severe upon us and upon Dagon, our god.
וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיַּאַסְפוּ אֶת־כָּל־סַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים אֲלֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ 5:8
גַּת יִסֹּב אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּסֵּבּוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
1Sam. 5:8 So they sent and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to them and said, “What shall we do to the ark of the God of Israel?” And they said, “Gath, let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about.” So they carried about the ark of the God of Israel.
וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הֵסַבּוּ אֹתוֹ וַתְּהִי יַד־יְהוָה בָּעִיר מְהוּמָה גְּדוֹלָה מְאֹד וַיַּךְ אֶת־אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר מִקָּטֹן וְעַד־ 5:9
גָּדוֹל וַיִּשָּׂתְרוּ לָהֶם עֳפֹלִים׃
1Sam. 5:9 And it was after they carried it about, that the hand of the Lord was a very great discomfiture in the city, and He smote the men of the city, from small and up to great, and emerods broke out on them.
וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים עֶקְרוֹן וַיְהִי כְּבוֹא אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים עֶקְרוֹן וַיִּזְעֲקוּ הָעֶקְרֹנִים לֵאמֹר הֵסַבּוּ 5:10
אֵלַי אֶת־אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַהֲמִיתֵנִי וְאֶת־עַמִּי׃
1Sam. 5:10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it was when the ark of God was brought in Ekron that the Ekronites cried out saying, “They have carried about the ark of the God of Israel to me to slay me and my people.”
וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיַּאַסְפוּ אֶת־כָּל־סַרְנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיֹּאמְרוּ שַׁלְּחוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיָשֹׁב לִמְקֹמוֹ וְלֹא־ 5:11
יָמִית אֹתִי וְאֶת־עַמִּי כִּי־הָיְתָה מְהוּמַת־מָוֶת בְּכָל־הָעִיר כָּבְדָה מְאֹד יַד הָאֱלֹהִים שָׁם׃
1Sam. 5:11 So they sent and gathered all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel and let it return to its place, so it does not slay me and my people.” For there was a deadly discomfiture in all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־מֵתוּ הֻכּוּ בַּעֳפֹלִים וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעַת הָעִיר הַשָּׁמָיִם׃ 5:12
1Sam. 5:12 And the men who did not die were smitten with emerods, and the crying of the city went up to the skies.