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1And the Philistines have taken the ark of God, and bring it in from Eben-Ezer to Ashdod,
2and the Philistines take the ark of God and bring it into the house of Dagon, and set it near Dagon.
3And the Ashdodites rise early on the morrow, and lo, Dagon is fallen on its face to the earth, before the ark of Jehovah; and they take Dagon, and put it back to its place.
4And they rise early in the morning on the morrow, and lo, Dagon is fallen on its face to the earth, before the ark of Jehovah, and the head of Dagon, and the two palms of its hands are cut off at the threshold, only the fishy part hath been left to him;
5therefore the priests of Dagon, and all those coming into the house of Dagon, tread not on the threshold of Dagon, in Ashdod, till this day.
6And the hand of Jehovah is heavy on the Ashdodites, and He maketh them desolate, and smiteth them with emerods, Ashdod and its borders.
7And the men of Ashdod see that [it is] so, and have said, ‘The ark of the God of Israel doth not abide with us, for hard hath been His hand upon us, and upon Dagon our god.’
8And they send and gather all the princes of the Philistines unto them, and say, ‘What do we do to the ark of the God of Israel?’ and they say, ‘To Gath let the ark of the God of Israel be brought round;’ and they bring round the ark of the God of Israel;
9and it cometh to pass after they have brought it round, that the hand of Jehovah is against the city — a very great destruction; and He smiteth the men of the city, from small even unto great; and break forth on them do emerods.
10And they send the ark of God to Ekron, and it cometh to pass, at the coming in of the ark of God to Ekron, that the Ekronites cry out, saying, ‘They have brought round unto us the ark of the God of Israel, to put us to death — and our people.’
11And they send and gather all the princes of the Philistines, and say, ‘Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and it turneth back to its place, and it doth not put us to death — and our people;’ for there hath been a deadly destruction throughout all the city, very heavy hath the hand of God been there,
12and the men who have not died have been smitten with emerods, and the cry of the city goeth up into the heavens.
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The Covenant Box among the Philistines
1After the Philistines captured the Covenant Box, they carried it from Ebenezer to their city of Ashdod, 2took it into the temple of their god Dagon, and set it up beside his statue. 3Early the next morning the people of Ashdod saw that the statue of Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground in front of the Lord's Covenant Box. So they lifted it up and put it back in its place. 4Early the following morning they saw that the statue had again fallen down in front of the Covenant Box. This time its head and both its arms were broken off and were lying in the doorway; only the body was left. ( 5That is why even today the priests of Dagon and all his worshipers in Ashdod step over that place and do not walk on it.)
6The Lord punished the people of Ashdod severely and terrified them. He punished them and the people in the surrounding territory by causing them to have tumors.#5.6: tumors: The association of tumors with an abundance of mice suggests that this was a case of bubonic plague (see 6.5). 7When they saw what was happening, they said, “The God of Israel is punishing us and our god Dagon. We can't let the Covenant Box stay here any longer.” 8So they sent messengers and called together all five of the Philistine kings and asked them, “What shall we do with the Covenant Box of the God of Israel?”
“Take it over to Gath,” they answered; so they took it to Gath, another Philistine city. 9But after it arrived there, the Lord punished that city too and caused a great panic. He punished them with tumors which developed in all the people of the city, young and old alike. 10So they sent the Covenant Box to Ekron, another Philistine city; but when it arrived there, the people cried out, “They have brought the Covenant Box of the God of Israel here, in order to kill us all!” 11So again they sent for all the Philistine kings and said, “Send the Covenant Box of Israel back to its own place, so that it won't kill us and our families.” There was panic throughout the city because God was punishing them so severely. 12Even those who did not die developed tumors and the people cried out to their gods for help.