When the Philistines took the ark of God
And had brought it to Ashdod:
they brought it into the house of Dagon;
a temple dedicated to that idol, and in which his image stood; of which (See Gill on Judges 16:23),
and set it by Dagon;
by the side of him, either in honour to the ark, as Abarbinel, designing to give it homage and adoration, as to their own deity; for though the Gentiles did not choose to change their gods, yet they would add the gods of other nations to them; and such the Philistines might take the ark to be: or else, as Procopius Gazaeus, they brought it into their idol's temple, as a trophy of victory, and as a spoil taken from their enemies, and which they dedicated to their idol. Laniado F18 observes, that the word here used signifies servitude, as in ( Genesis 33:15 ) and that the ark was set here to minister to, or serve their god Dagon. The temple of Dagon at Ashdod or Azotus was in being in the times of the Maccabees, and was burnt by Jonathan,
``83 The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety. 84 But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.'' (1 Maccabees 10)
F18 Cli Yaker, fol. 162. 4.