I Samuel 5:1 - 6:12

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Text: I Samuel 5:1-6:12




In I Samuel 4 we saw that the Philistines had captured the ark of God, and in chapters 5 and 6 we see what they did with it. They put it in the house of their god, Dagon, the father of Baal.


I Samuel 4:1-111 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. 2 And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. 3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. 4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5 And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. 7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. 8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. 9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. 10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. 11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.


    I.     DAGON IS CAST DOWN - 5:1-7


There was thus a visual demonstration of the superiority of the Lord over Dagon.


I Samuel 5:1-7 – (1) And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.


Ashdod was located on the Mediterranean coast 33 mi (53 km) W of Jerusalem. It was one of the five major Philistine cities.


(2) When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.


Dagon was a Philistine vegetation god. In ancient literature Baal is sometimes referred to as the “son of Dagon.”


(3) And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. (4) And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.


The idol Dagon fell before the ark twice. The second time it was destroyed, as divine judgment on this Philistine god.


(5) Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. (6) But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.


Emerods. From a word meaning to swell, meaning tumors or boils. Perhaps the sores were the symptoms of bubonic plague, the result of mice ravaging the land (6:5).


(7) And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.


Just as Dagon was cast down, in the same way God will cast down idols in our lives. What kind of idols do people have?


Remember, an idol is anything that a person might have in his life which he puts ahead of God.


Remember, also, that an idol might actually be something that in itself is good but is out of its proper place.


Remember a third thing: Satan would do anything to distract our minds from the Lord or from the things of the Lord, or to involve us in things which would neutralize our testimony for the Lord. Even Christians have been carried away with politics, with anti-abortion campaigns, with promoting various charities, with pet teachings or hobby horses.


pleasure, sports, money, business, education, worldliness, self, prestige, alcohol, tobacco, family, camping, heroes, entertainment


Do you have an idol in your life, something or someone more important to you than God?




I Samuel 5:8-12 – (8) They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.


Gath. Another of the five Philistine cities. It was 12 mi (19.3 km) E of Ashdod.


(9) And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. (10) Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.


Ekron. Another of the five Philistine cities. It was six mi (9.6 km) N of Gath.


(11) So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. (12) And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.


. . . One lesson from the experience of the Philistines with the ark seems clear; no matter how sacred, that which is acquired by improper means can never bring blessing to the possessor.


Just as the Philistines sent the ark of God is to other places in Philistia, in the same way people will do almost anything to keep God from His rightful place in their lives. Thus, they seek to justify what they do, sometimes quoting the Bible in defense of their particular activity.




I Samuel 6:1-12 – (1) And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. (2) And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. (3) And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. (4) Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. (5) Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.


The Philistines recognized the superiority of the God of Israel over their own gods, but they did not turn to Him.


The Philistine priests and diviners suggested that an offering of golden images of the mice and sores would appease the God of Israel and bring an end to the severe judgment.


(6) Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?


They were aware of the plagues on Egypt and Pharaoh. They were aware that the Egyptians and Pharaoh had hardened their hearts.


They were aware of the Exodus.


(7) Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:


Milch kine are milk cows still nursing their young,


(8) And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go. (9) And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us.


If two cows which had never been yoked up to plow or pull something were to work together to pull this wagon, it would be a clear indication that the plague had been the judgment of God.


If two cows were yoked together, they could have pulled the cart in any direction; but if they pulled it back to Israel, it would be a clear indication that the plague had been the judgment of God.


Nursing cows do not ordinarily leave their calves. So, if two nursing cows would leave their calves, it would be a clear indication that they were being led by a supernatural power. It would signify to the Philistines that the plague had indeed been the judgment of God.


(10) And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home: (11) And they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. (12) And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing [i.e. mooing] as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.


Beth-shemesh was a levitical city (Josh. 21:16) of the Israelites, eight mi E of Ekron, 15 mi W of Jerusalem.


Just as the Philistines send the ark of God to Israel, in the same way God must be allowed his rightful place in our lives.


God’s rightful place is Lord of our lives.


John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


II Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.


Romans 12:1-2 – (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.



Don’t play around with idols in your life. Get rid of them. Be submissive to the Lord and live your life for Him.