The Philistines, having brought the ark into Ashdod, set it in the house of Dagon, 1, 2. Dagon is smitten down and cut in pieces, and those of Ashdod smitten with emerods, 3-7. In the same manner God deals with those of Gath when it was brought there, 8, 9; and likewise with those of Ekron when it was brought there, 10-12.
1 And the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. 2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. 3 And when those of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon had 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 next morning, behold, Dagon had 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. 5 Therefore, neither the priests of Dagon, nor any who come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
6 But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon those of Ashdod, and he destroyed them and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and its borders. 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 severe upon us and upon Dagon our god." 8 They sent therefore, and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to 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 to Gath." And they carried the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 And it was so, that after they had carried it there, 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 the ark of the God of Israel to us to slay us and our people." 11 So they sent and convened all the lords of the Philistines and said, "Send the ark of the God of Israel away, and let it go back to its own place so that it does not slay us 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 who did not die were smitten with the emerods, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 5[➚]