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1-2 The Philistines took the captured Ark of God from the battleground at Ebenezer to the temple of their idol Dagon in the city of Ashdod. But when the local citizens went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground before the Ark of Jehovah! They set him up again, but the next morning the same thing had happened—the idol had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had been cut off and were lying in the doorway; only the trunk of his body was left intact. (That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor his worshipers will walk on the threshold of the temple of Dagon in Ashdod.)

Then the Lord began to destroy the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with bubonic plague. When the people realized what was happening, they exclaimed, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer. We will all perish along with our god Dagon.”

So they called a conference of the mayors of the five cities of the Philistines to decide how to dispose of the Ark. The decision was to take it to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord began destroying its people, young and old, with the plague, and there was a great panic. 10 So they sent the Ark to 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!”

11 So they summoned the mayors again and begged them to send the Ark back to its own country, lest the entire city die. For the plague had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the city. 12 Those who didn’t die were deathly ill; and there was weeping everywhere.

Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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