The Bible accounts that after they left the ark next to Dagon, the LORD also knocked down it down during the night.
The priests walked in the temple in the morning and must have seen it flat on the ground and started screaming.
I am sure it was a big idol so who knows how long it took to set it up again.
So the next morning they returned and not only did it fall again, but God decapitated the idol and cut off his hands, leaving “Stumpy” in the dust.
This is none other than Divine vandalism, “Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.” (Ps. 78:65).
Like a mighty man with a hangover God came out swinging and struck the idol down.
The ark created unbelievable havoc in every city it was kept for seven months.
Do not forget that the scriptures shows that there were also “mice” (KJV) or “rats” (NIV) that were plaguing the country. They were everywhere.
They felt his wrath for months because they were idolaters and were not seeking for him but attempting to use the ark as a trophy of their victory over him and his people.
The Bible records, “…the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods. 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.” (1 Sam 5:6-7).
The word glory refers to the weight and honor of God simultaneously. The glory of God was represented as the weight of God’s presence among his people and the world. It could not endure cohabitation with a rival. The glory of God tears down idols, no matter how big man has made them. The true God not only exposes the false but it tears the false down. The glory of God is only seen in Christ. There is no other that will stand next to him.
Christ is how we are born again. Christ is how we are healed. Christ is the only answer and he has removed all rivals from his path and sits expecting all his enemies to be subdued under his feet.
His hand was hard and harsh upon them. He literally laid them and their idol waste by his heavy hand of justice. The God of Israel was at war with them.
They felt the weight of his wrath against them in every city in which the ark was transported.
That is a concept that is seen as arcane in today’s preaching, or even abusive: the idea of divine heavy anger! The anger that fell upon Christ on the Cross for our sake was the only way his justice could be satisfied. The sadness of seeing the impenitent hearts of the Philistines who just kept moving the ark and ignoring the powerlessness of their fish god that lied as a stump in their temple? We cannot perceive that those outside of Christ are not protected from God’s Divine justice. How could anyone even mention in this technological yet pagan twenty-first century the wrath of God being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness?” (Rom 1:18).
They decided to send the ark out of the country. In 1 Sam. 6:1 it seems to indicate the left it in an open field for seven months. So many people would rather push the presence of God out of their lives on the cart of rebellion rather than believing for his mercy.
They kept the chest out in an open air (Gill) after the Dagon incident probably afraid it would knock an entire city down and hoping somebody (maybe the God who owned it) would take it back where it belonged. It ominously stayed. The Philistines were at a loss what to do.
The pagan priests must have been very multicultural and pluralistic back then and studied other religions which they incorporated and syncretized into their own. They decided to make a trespass offering and send it back telling the people and their lords they would be healed if they did so. So the story becomes even more bizarre, when they decided to forge five images each of the rats and five images each of the tumors that represented the five major ruling cities of Philistia and took the ark placed it on a cart and sent it back to an Israeli city called Bethshemesh.
Some farmers found it there and were ecstatic to see the ark of God again. I am sure they were wondering what those golden rats were and funny looking images of tumors were doing there next to it. They called for the Levites and they took the ark off the cart and burned the wood and some animals as an offering to God.
The lords of the Philistines observed this entire scene taking place, they returned back to their country, but the prescribed formula for healing did not work. There was no indication that they were ever healed or got rid of their rodents it was chronic and lasted all their lives. “And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.” (Psalm 78:66). I am sure somebody received a religious pink slip that day.
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