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1 Samuel 5

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The Ark Causes Trouble for the Philistines

5:1 Now the Philistines had captured the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 5:2 The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the temple of Dagon, where they positioned it beside Dagon. 5:3 When the residents of Ashdod got up early the next day, 1  Dagon was lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him back in his place. 5:4 But when they got up early the following day, Dagon was again lying on the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and his two hands were sheared off and were lying at the threshold. Only Dagon’s body was left intact. 2  5:5 (For this reason, to this very day, neither Dagon’s priests nor anyone else who enters Dagon’s temple step on Dagon’s threshold in Ashdod.)

5:6 The Lord attacked 3  the residents of Ashdod severely, bringing devastation on them. He struck the people of 4  both Ashdod and the surrounding area with sores. 5  5:7 When the people 6  of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel should not remain with us, for he has attacked 7  both us and our god Dagon!”

5:8 So they assembled 8  all the leaders of the Philistines and asked, “What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They replied, “The ark of the God of Israel should be moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

5:9 But after it had been moved the Lord attacked 9  that city as well, causing a great deal of panic. He struck all the people of that city 10  with sores. 11  5:10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

But when the ark of God arrived at Ekron, the residents of Ekron cried out saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel here 12  to kill our 13  people!” 5:11 So they assembled 14  all the leaders of the Philistines and said, “Get the ark of the God of Israel out of here! Let it go back to its own place so that it won’t kill us 15  and our 16  people!” The terror 17  of death was throughout the entire city; God was attacking them very severely there. 18  5:12 The people 19  who did not die were struck with sores; the city’s cry for help went all the way up to heaven.

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1 tc The LXX adds “they entered the temple of Dagon and saw.”

2 tc Heb “only Dagon was left.” We should probably read the word גֵּו (gev, “back”) before Dagon, understanding it to have the sense of the similar word גְּוִיָּה (gÿviyyah, “body”). This variant is supported by the following evidence: The LXX has ἡ ῥάχις (Jh rJacis, “the back” or “trunk”); the Syriac Peshitta has wegusmeh (“and the body of”); the Targum has gupyeh (“the body of”); the Vulgate has truncus (“the trunk of,” cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT). On the strength of this evidence the present translation employs the phrase “Dagon’s body.”

3 tn Heb “the hand of the Lord was heavy upon.”

4 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

5 tc The LXX and Vulgate add the following: “And mice multiplied in their land, and the terror of death was throughout the entire city.”

tn Or “tumors” (so ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “growths on their skin”; KJV “emerods”; NAB “hemorrhoids.”

6 tn Heb “men.”

7 tn Heb “for his hand is severe upon.”

8 tn Heb “and they sent and gathered.”

9 tn Heb “the hand of the Lord was against the city.”

10 tn Heb “and he struck the men of the city from small and to great.”

11 tn See the note on this term in v. 6. Cf. KJV “and they had emerods in their secret parts.”

12 tn Heb “to me.”

13 tn Heb “my.”

14 tn Heb “and they sent and gathered.”

15 tn Heb “me.”

16 tn Heb “my.”

17 tn Or “panic.”

18 tn Heb “the hand of God was very heavy there.”

19 tn Heb “men.”



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