And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so
That many of their inhabitants were taken away by death, and others afflicted with a painful disease; all which they imputed to the ark being among them:
they said, the ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us;
like the Gergesenes, who besought Christ to depart their coasts, having more regard for their swine than for him:
for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon, our god,
not the hand of the ark, unless they took it for a god, but the hand of the God of Israel; in this they were right, and seem to have understood the case better than the other lords they after consulted; his hand was upon Dagon, as appeared his fall before the ark, and upon them by smiting with the haemorrhoids, the memory of which abode with the Philistines for ages afterwards; for we are told F23 that the Scythians, having plundered the temple of Venus at Ashkelon, one of their five principalities, the goddess inflicted upon them the female disease, or the haemorrhoids; which shows that it was thought to be a disease inflicted by way of punishment for sacrilege, and that it was still remembered what the Philistines suffered for a crime of the like nature.
F23 Herodot. Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 105.