1 Samuel 5

Listen to 1 Samuel 5

The Philistines and the Ark

1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from 1Ebenezer to 2Ashdod.
2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside 3Dagon.
3 And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, 4Dagon 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, 5and 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 6do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
6 7The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with 8tumors, 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 9the 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, 10the 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 11tumors 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 12They 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. 13The hand of God was very heavy there.
12 The men who did not die were struck with 14tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

1 Samuel 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Dagon is broken before the ark. (1-5) The Philistine smitten. (6-12)

Verses 1-5 See the ark's triumph over Dagon. Thus the kingdom of Satan will certainly fall before the kingdom of Christ, error before truth, profaneness before godliness, and corruption before grace in the hearts of the faithful. When the interests of religion seem to be ready to sink, even then we may be confident that the day of their triumph will come. When Christ, the true Ark of the covenant, really enters the heart of fallen man, which is indeed Satan's temple, all idols will fall, every endeavour to set them up again will be vain, sin will be forsaken, and unrighteous gain restored; the Lord will claim and possess the throne. But pride, self-love, and worldly lusts, though dethroned and crucified, still remain within us, like the stump of Dagon. Let us watch and pray that they may not prevail. Let us seek to have them more entirely destroyed.

Verses 6-12 The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines; he not only convinced them of their folly, but severely chastised their insolence. Yet they would not renounce Dagon; and instead of seeking God's mercy, they desired to get clear of his ark. Carnal hearts, when they smart under the judgments of God, would rather, if it were possible, put him far from them, than enter into covenant or communion with him, and seek him for their friend. But their devices to escape the Divine judgments only increase them. Those that fight against God will soon have enough of it.

Cross References 14

  • 1. 1 Samuel 4:1; 1 Samuel 7:12
  • 2. Joshua 13:3
  • 3. Judges 16:23
  • 4. [Isaiah 46:1, 2]
  • 5. [Jeremiah 50:2; Ezekiel 6:4, 6; Micah 1:7]
  • 6. [Zephaniah 1:9]
  • 7. [Exodus 9:3; Psalms 32:4; Acts 13:11]
  • 8. 1 Samuel 6:5
  • 9. Joshua 13:3
  • 10. 1 Samuel 7:13; 1 Samuel 12:15; Deuteronomy 2:15
  • 11. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 12. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 13. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 14. [See ver. 6 above]

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates how that the ark being brought by the Philistines to Ashdod, and placed in the temple of their idol, that fell down before it, 1Sa 5:1-5, that the hand of the Lord was upon the men of Ashdod, and smote them with emerods, 1Sa 5:6,7 and being carried to Gath, the men of Gath were smitten likewise with the same, 1Sa 5:8,9, and after that the men of Ekron, whither it also was carried, 1Sa 5:10-12.

1 Samuel 5 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.