Then the LORD ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors.
When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.”
So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath.
But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the LORD ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic.
So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!”
The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town.
Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.