1 Samuel 5

1 Now the Philistines had taken God’s ark, and they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 The Philistines took God’s ark, and brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the LORD’s ark. They took Dagon, and set him in his place again. 4 When they arose early on the following morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the LORD’s ark; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso was intact. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any who come into Dagon’s house, step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod, to this day. 6 But the LORD’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and struck them with tumors, even Ashdod and its borders. 7 When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel shall not stay with us; for his hand is severe on us, and on Dagon our god.” 8 They sent therefore 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 carried over to Gath.” They carried the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 It was so, that after they had carried it there, the LORD’s hand was against the city with a very great confusion; and he struck the men of the city, both small and great so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent God’s ark to Ekron. As God’s ark came to Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away, and let it go again to its own place, that it not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout all the city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who didn’t die were struck with the tumors; and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–5

See the ark’s triumph over Dagon. Thus the kingdom of Satan will certainly fall before the kingdom of Christ, error before truth, profaneness before godliness, and corruption before grace in the hearts of the faithful. When the interests of religion seem to be ready to sink, even then we may be confident that the day of their triumph will come. When Christ, the true Ark of the covenant, really enters the heart of fallen man, which is indeed Satan’s temple, all idols will fall, every endeavour to set them up again will be vain, sin will be forsaken, and unrighteous gain restored; the Lord will claim and possess the throne. But pride, self-love, and worldly lusts, though dethroned and crucified, still remain within us, like the stump of Dagon. Let us watch and pray that they may not prevail. Let us seek to have them more entirely destroyed.

Verses 6–12

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines; he not only convinced them of their folly, but severely chastised their insolence. Yet they would not renounce Dagon; and instead of seeking God’s mercy, they desired to get clear of his ark. Carnal hearts, when they smart under the judgments of God, would rather, if it were possible, put him far from them, than enter into covenant or communion with him, and seek him for their friend. But their devices to escape the Divine judgments only increase them. Those that fight against God will soon have enough of it.

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