Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ark in Hands of Philistines - I Samuel 5

I Samuel 5:1-2 "And the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon."

The ark of God or ark of the covenant was the center of Israel and represented God's presence and promise in Israel. It contained the broken tablets and the rod that budded. We have in previous studies shown how the priest surrounded it and the tribes were positioned around it. It has been at Shiloh for Jerusalem has not yet been chosen as its resting place.

It is easy to see the absurdness of the Philistines placing it beside their god. Their idol was called Dagon. Dagon was an image with head and hands like a man and the body and tail of a fish.

v3 "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."

I cannot resist saying here that sometimes and often a rock has more respect for God than people.

They got up early the next day after v3 above and their idol had another problem.

v4 "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."

It so amazed the Philistines that they would no longer step on the threshold. v5.

The place where this happened was called Ashdod. Ashdod is called Azotus in the new testament and is one of the places where Philip preached in the book of Acts. It is now a small village called Esdud.

Acts 8:40 "But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesaea."

The story here in Samuel gives more meaning to the fact that Philip preached there.

The Philistines have had enough of the ark of God. They start it on the journey home.

v7 "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."

They sent the ark of God to Gath. The people in Gath were smitten. They took it to Ekron. They called a meeting of the lords of the Philistines for "...the hand of God was very heavy there. "v11

I think this is a good lesson for anyone. There is danger in trying to mix the things of God with the things of man or demon.

Gath means wine-press. It was the home of Goliath. David once sought refuge there I Samuel 21:10-15. It's in the area of Dan.

The next chapter picks up the story.

Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Samuel, ark of God, ark of covenant,Philistines,Asdod,dagon,Gath, Milton Southerland

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