9 May 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading from First Samuel, we read of how the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines and taken to Dagon’s temple in Ashdod. The next morning, they found the image of Dagon lying before the Ark. They set the image upright, but the next morning they found it lying before the Ark with the head and hands cut off.
Dagon was a god of the Philistines. Dagon was generally associated with grain harvests or fishing. In addition to the temple in Ashdod from today’s reading, Joshua 19:27 tells us there was a temple for Dagon at Beth-Dagon in the land of the tribe of Asher. There was also a temple of Dagon in Gaza which was destroyed by Samson in the final moments of his life.
1 Samuel 5-7:17
5 Now the Philistines had taken God’s ark, and they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 The Philistines took God’s ark, and brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before Yahweh’s ark. They took Dagon, and set him in his place again. 4 When they arose early on the following morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before Yahweh’s ark; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso was intact. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any who come into Dagon’s house, step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod, to this day. 6 But Yahweh’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and struck them with tumors, even Ashdod and its borders.
7 When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel shall not stay with us; for his hand is severe on us, and on Dagon our god.” 8 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?”
They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” They carried the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 It was so, that after they had carried it there, Yahweh’s hand was against the city with a very great confusion; and he struck the men of the city, both small and great so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent God’s ark to Ekron.
As God’s ark came to Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away, and let it go again to its own place, that it not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout all the city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The men who didn’t die were struck with the tumors; and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
6 Yahweh’s ark was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with Yahweh’s ark? Show us how we should send it to its place.”
3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it empty; but by all means return a trespass offering to him. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.”
4 Then they said, “What should the trespass offering be which we shall return to him?”
They said, “Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, for the number of the lords of the Philistines; for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. 5 Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that mar the land; and you shall give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will release his hand from you, from your gods, and from your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had worked wonderfully among them, didn’t they let the people go, and they departed?
7 “Now therefore take and prepare yourselves a new cart, and two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke; and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them; 8 and take Yahweh’s ark, and lay it on the cart. Put the jewels of gold, which you return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by its side; and send it away, that it may go. 9 Behold; if it goes up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has done us this great evil; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us. It was a chance that happened to us.”
10 The men did so, and took two milk cows, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 They put Yahweh’s ark on the cart, and the coffer with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 The cows took the straight way by the way to Beth Shemesh. They went along the highway, lowing as they went, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh. 13 The people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and stood there, where there was a great stone. Then they split the wood of the cart, and offered up the cows for a burnt offering to Yahweh. 15 The Levites took down Yahweh’s ark, and the coffer that was with it, in which the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone; and the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day to Yahweh. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. 17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to Yahweh: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one; 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages, even to the great stone, on which they set down Yahweh’s ark. That stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh. 19 He struck of the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into Yahweh’s ark, he struck fifty thousand seventy of the men. Then the people mourned, because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? To whom shall he go up from us?”
21 They sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back Yahweh’s ark. Come down, and bring it up to yourselves.”
7 The men of Kiriath Jearim came, and took Yahweh’s ark, and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep Yahweh’s ark. 2 From the day that the ark stayed in Kiriath Jearim, the time was long; for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after Yahweh. 3 Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you are returning to Yahweh with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, and direct your hearts to Yahweh, and serve him only; and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 Then the children of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served Yahweh only. 5 Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to Yahweh for you.” 6 They gathered together to Mizpah, and drew water, and poured it out before Yahweh, and fasted on that day, and said there, “We have sinned against Yahweh.” Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpah. 7 When the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The children of Israel said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying to Yahweh our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Samuel took a suckling lamb, and offered it for a whole burnt offering to Yahweh. Samuel cried to Yahweh for Israel; and Yahweh answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines came near to battle against Israel; but Yahweh thundered with a great thunder on that day on the Philistines, and confused them; and they were struck down before Israel. 11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah, and pursued the Philistines, and struck them, until they came under Beth Kar.
12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Yahweh helped us until now.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they stopped coming within the border of Israel. Yahweh’s hand was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel recovered its border out of the hand of the Philistines. There was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He went from year to year in a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah; and he judged Israel in all those places. 17 His return was to Ramah, for his house was there; and he judged Israel there; and he built an altar to Yahweh there.
6 After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick. 3 Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little.”
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. 12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, “This is truly the prophet who comes into the world.” 15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing. 19 When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But he said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
13 They soon forgot his works.
They didn’t wait for his counsel,
14 but gave in to craving in the desert,
and tested God in the wasteland.
15 He gave them their request,
but sent leanness into their soul.
16 They envied Moses also in the camp,
and Aaron, Yahweh’s saint.
17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the company of Abiram.
18 A fire was kindled in their company.
The flame burned up the wicked.
19 They made a calf in Horeb,
and worshiped a molten image.
20 Thus they exchanged their glory
for an image of a bull that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and awesome things by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them,
had Moses, his chosen, not stood before him in the breach,
to turn away his wrath, so that he wouldn’t destroy them.
24 Yes, they despised the pleasant land.
They didn’t believe his word,
25 but murmured in their tents,
and didn’t listen to Yahweh’s voice.
26 Therefore he swore to them
that he would overthrow them in the wilderness,
27 that he would overthrow their offspring among the nations,
and scatter them in the lands.
28 They joined themselves also to Baal Peor,
and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their deeds.
The plague broke in on them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up, and executed judgment,
so the plague was stopped.
31 That was credited to him for righteousness,
for all generations to come.
32 The wicked is brought down in his calamity,
but in death, the righteous has a refuge.
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding,
and is even made known in the inward part of fools.