The Holy Box Troubles the Philistines
1 The Philistines carried God’s Holy Box, from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They carried God’s Holy Box into the temple of Dagon and put it next to the statue of Dagon. 3 The next morning, the people of Ashdod got up and found Dagon lying face down on the ground before the LORD’S Box.
The people of Ashdod put the statue of Dagon back in its place. 4 But the next morning when the people of Ashdod got up, they found Dagon on the ground again. Dagon had fallen down before the LORD’S Holy Box. This time, Dagon’s head and hands were broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only his body was still in one piece. 5 That is why, even today, the priests or other people refuse to step on the threshold when they enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod.
6 The LORD made life hard for the people of Ashdod and their neighbors. He gave them many troubles and caused them to get tumors. He also sent mice to them. The mice ran all over their ships and then onto their land. The people in the city were very afraid.* He also sent … afraid This is from the ancient Greek version. 7 They saw what was happening and said, “The Holy Box of the God of Israel can’t stay here. God is punishing us and Dagon our god.”
8 The people of Ashdod called the five Philistine rulers together and asked them, “What must we do with the Holy Box of the God of Israel?”
The rulers answered, “Move the Holy Box of the God of Israel to Gath.” So the Philistines moved God’s Holy Box.
9 But after the Philistines had moved God’s Holy Box to Gath, the LORD punished that city. The people became very frightened. God caused many troubles for all the people—young and old. He caused the people in Gath to have tumors. 10 So the Philistines sent God’s Holy Box to Ekron.
But when God’s Holy Box came into Ekron, the people of Ekron complained. They said, “Why are you bringing the Box of the God of Israel to our city Ekron? Do you want to kill us and our people?” 11 The people of Ekron called all the Philistine rulers together and said to the rulers, “Send the Box of the God of Israel back home before it kills us and our people!”
The people of Ekron were deathly afraid because God severely punished them there. 12 Many people died, and those who did not, had tumors. The people of Ekron cried loudly to heaven.
*5:6 He also sent … afraid This is from the ancient Greek version.