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God Wins

1 Samuel 5:1-12 | Part 11


 


 

1 Samuel 5:1-12 ESV

The Philistines and the Ark

1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.


6 The hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” 8 So they sent 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 brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 But after they had brought it around, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.




1 Samuel 5 ESV

1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 


  • Chapters 4 through 6 are all about God’s power through the ark of God.

  • Chapter 4 – ark gets captured by the Philistines

  • Chapter 5 – ark defeats Philistines on a victory tour

  • Chapter 6 – Philistines return the ark to Israel


[REVIEW]

  • What happened in chapter 4?

  • We are introduced to this group of people called the Philistines.

  • They are the bad guys of 1 Samuel.

  • They are mentioned 127 times in 1 Samuel.


  • When was the last time the Philistines were mentioned in the Bible?

  • Judges 16 – Samson

  • The Philistines are mentioned 32 times in the book of Judges

  • The 2 books of the Bible that most mention the Philistines are:

  • Judges (32)

  • 1 Samuel (127)


Judges 16:23-24 ESV

The Death of Samson

23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”[b] 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.


28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.


  • Samson’s story is what the original readers would’ve remembered when they heard “Philistines”

  • Notice the frequent use of the word “hand


1 Samuel 4:1b ESV

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines.


So what happens in chapter 4???

  • Round 1: the Isrealites are defeated by the Philistines

  • Israelites bring the ark from Shiloh

  • Round 2: Philistines win again (ark is captured)


1 Samuel 4:22 ESV

“...The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”


1 Samuel 5:1-12 ESV

1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 


2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. 


  • Dagon was the Philistine creator god (”father of gods”)

  • father of Baal

  • god of the sea, grain, storm (abundance / prosperity)



2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 


4 But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.


QUOTE:

“Dagon’s ‘belittlement’ is telling. Removal of head, hands or other body parts was standard treatment of enemy dead in the martial cultures of the Ancient Near East, including Israel (Judges 7:25; 8:6; 1 Samuel 17:54; 31:9; 2 Samuel 4:12). 

The Philistines had thought their god to have the upper hand over Israel’s, but they now find him both headless and handless. And they themselves will soon be feeling in their own bodies the ‘heavy hand’ of Yahweh.” – Phil Long


6 The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. [LXX adds He brought up mice against them, and they swarmed in their ships. Then mice went up into the land and there was a mortal panic in the city.]


  • The word “tumors” means: ‘hills, mounds’

  • bumps, boils, tumors, ‘hill-shaped growths

  • many believe this was bubonic plague


7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” 8 So they sent 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 brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. 


  • Gath is 11 miles from Ashdod

  • not uncommon for pestilence to enter a port city on boats


9 But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 


10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.


  • We MUST see Chapter 5 in contrast to Chapter 4


1 Samuel 2:2-3 ESV

2 “There is none holy like the Lord:

    for there is none besides you;

    there is no rock like our God.

3 Talk no more so very proudly,

    let not arrogance come from your mouth;

for the Lord is a God of knowledge,

    and by him actions are weighed.


1 Samuel 2:9-10 ESV

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,

    for not by might shall a man prevail.

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;

    against them he will thunder in heaven.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

    he will give strength to his king

    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”


  • God allowed the capture of His ark in chapter 4 so that He could defeat His enemies in Chapter 5.


1 Samuel 2:2 ESV

2 “There is none holy like the Lord:

    for there is none besides you;

    there is no rock like our God.

1 Samuel 2:10 ESV

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;

    against them he will thunder in heaven.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

    he will give strength to his king

    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”


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