Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into
Neither the priests that continually attended the worship and service of Dagon, nor the people that came there to pay their devotions to him:
tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day:
but used to leap over it, either reckoning it sacred because touched by their idol, which fell upon it; or rather, as it should seem, in a way of detestation, because it had been the means of cutting off the head and hands of their idol; and this custom not only continued to the latter days of Samuel, the writer of this book; but even among the Philistines in one place or another to the times of Zephaniah, who seems to allude to it, ( Zephaniah 1:9 ) . In later times there was another deity worshipped at Ashdod; according to Masius F19, the Philistine Venus, or Astarte, was worshipped in this place; though perhaps she may be no other than Atergatis, or Adergatis, which with Selden F20 is only a corruption of Addir-dag, the magnificent fish, in which form Dagon is supposed to be; so the Phoenician goddess Derceto, worshipped at Ashkelon had the face of a woman, and the other part was all fish; though Ben Gersom says Dagon was in the form of a man, and which is confirmed by the Complutensian edition of the Septuagint, which on ( 1 Samuel 5:4 ) reads, "the soles of his feet were cut off"; which is a much better reading than the common one, "the soles of his hands", which is not sense; by which it appears that he had head, hands, and feet; wherefore it seems most likely that he had his name from Dagon, signifying corn: (See Gill on Judges 16:23).
F19 Comment. in Jos. xv. 47.
F20 De Dis. Syr. Syntagu. l. 2. c. 3. p. 267.