5 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. 3 Early the next day the people of Ashdod saw that Dagon had fallen forward on the ground in front of the Lord’s ark. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the next morning they saw that Dagon had again fallen forward on the ground in front of the Lord’s ark. Dagon’s head and his two hands were cut off and were lying on the temple’s threshold. The rest of Dagon’s body was intact.[a]5 This is why the priests of Dagon and everyone else who comes into Dagon’s temple in Ashdod still don’t step on the temple’s threshold.
6 The Lord dealt harshly with the people of Ashdod. He destroyed them by striking the people in the vicinity of Ashdod with tumors. 7 When the people of Ashdod realized what was happening, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, because their God is dealing harshly with us and our god Dagon.” 8 The people of Ashdod called together all the Philistine rulers. “What should we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” they asked.
“The ark of the God of Israel must be taken to Gath,” the rulers said.[b] So the people took the ark of the God of Israel there.
9 But after they had moved it,[c] the Lord threw the city into a great panic: He struck all the important and unimportant people in the city, and they were covered with tumors. 10 So the people of Gath sent the ark of God to Ekron. But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us.” 11 They called together all the Philistine rulers. “Send the ark of the God of Israel away,” they said. “Let it go back to its own place so that it won’t kill us or our people.” There was a fear of death throughout the city, where God dealt with them very harshly. 12 The people who didn’t die were struck with tumors. So the cry of the city went up to heaven.
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