1 SAMUEL 5
4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh; 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.
The Philistines brought the ark in triumph to Ashdod, and placed it in the temple of the idol Dagon.
"They set it by Dagon,"
in token of Dagon having got the upper hand of the God of Israel, which they superstitiously considered the ark to be. This was a change in the situation of things, which evoked a corresponding change in the divine attitude. Though God dishonoured the ark when disobedient Israel clung to it idolatrously as a charm against evil, the case was different when it was used to the dishonour of His own name, and the exultation of a heathen idol.
He would not suffer this insult. He pulled the idol from its pedestal during the night, and flung it prostrate before the ark with a violence that broke off its head and hands. In addition to this, he plagued the inhabitants of the place with a painful disease.
The inhabitants rightly interpreted the omens, and refused to allow the ark to remain with them. At a public conference, it was decided to send it to Gath. It was sent to Gath, but the Gathites could not do with it any more than the men of Ashdod. The Gathites suffered exactly as the men of Ashdod had done,