I Samuel 5
A Philistine's Journal
What a great battle. We defeated the Israelites without any effort. I don't know what they did to upset their God, but I do know we showed them.
In fact, to teach them a lesson we took their ark of the covenant of their Lord to show we were stronger. The more gods in our temple, the better.
I was chosen to help carry the Israelite ark back to our city, Ashdod, about twenty-five miles away. See, if we take the ark away from the Israelites, then they won't have their God, we will. No way will the Israelites ever defeat us, now. They will be our slaves forever.
When we reached Ashdod, my commander told us to put the ark of the covenant of God in our temple. We carried it to the door. One of the priests greeted us. "What have you there?"
"We have the Israelites ark of the covenant of the Lord. The commander wants it here."
The priest smiled. "Good then we will have double protection. Our god Dagon and now the Israelite's ark. Set it over here next to Dagon."
I brushed my hands together and looked at our work. Yes, now we will always win.
The next morning the priest ran to the commander. His eyes were wide, he babbled some words, the poor fellow was really upset. The commander sent us to the temple to help him. Inside the temple I saw what upset the priest. Our god, Dagon, had fallen...right in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
What did Dagon think he was doing? Bowing down to the Isrealite God?
We stood there with our mouths wide open. How could Dagon have fallen? It is solid and strong. We couldn't figure it out. Well, a couple of us lifted Dagon back to it's standing position, patted the priest on the shoulder to calm him, and left.
The next morning the priest came running like a wild mad man. He waved his arms back and forth and chattered something about Dagon. A group of us dropped everything and ran to the temple with the priest. He took us into the meeting room and pointed.
In front of our faces--our shocked-heart stopping faces--was Dagon fallen on its face to the ground, right before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off and had landed on the threshold. Only Dagon's torso was left together.
How did the Israelite's ark of the covenant of the Lord do that? I don't want to go near that ark again. The Israelite God is too powerful for me. No Philistine ever stepped foot on the temple threshold again, for fear of being killed.
1. Did the Philistines really take God away from the Israelites?
2. What did the Philistines think when they took the ark of the covenant of the Lord to their town?
3. Where did they put the ark?
4. What happened the next morning?
5. What happened the second morning?
6. Who did it?
7. What did the Philistines learn?