1 Samuel 5-6 – Return of the Ark

Mosaic showing the Philistine god
Dagon, half fish and half man.
Excavations at Ashkelon have revealed
many period of history.

Now that the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they brought it to Ashdod and took it into the house of their “god” Dagon.  When they woke early the next day, they found their idol face down on the ground in front of the ark, as if their “god” was bowing to the Lord.  They put it back in place, only to find the next day that the head and both hands were cut off and laying on the threshold – with only its trunk left (verse 4).

Done toying with them, verse 6 says that the Lord afflicted the people with tumors.  The men had enough and sent the ark to Gath, where the Lord caused a great panic, afflicting young and old with tumors.  So they sent it to Ekron, where verse 11 says there grew a deathly panic which verse 12 says was quite literal.  Those who did not die were struck with tumors.

Ashdod was one of the five
significant Philistine cities.
Archaeological excavations
at Ashdod have uncovered
remains from many periods
of history.

By chapter 6, the ark had been in their land for seven months, and they were ready to get rid of it.  Their priests and diviners advise to send it back with golden images of their tumors and of mice.  Verse 5 speaks of the mice that had ravaged the land.  Some people think that this could indicate that the bubonic plague had been at work in all of this.  Whatever the case, verse 6 makes it clear that the word of the plagues on the Egyptians and Pharaoh so long ago had spread, and was not forgotten.  The ark is finally returned and ends up in Kiriath-jearim.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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