5 After the Philistines had captured the Ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They carried it into Dagon’s temple and put it next to Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next morning, they found that Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the Ark of the Lord. So they put Dagon back in his place. 4 The next morning when they rose, they again found Dagon fallen on the ground before the Ark of the Lord. His head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only his body was still in one piece. 5 So, even today, Dagon’s priests and others who enter his temple at Ashdod refuse to step on the doorsill.
6 The Lord was hard on the people of Ashdod and their neighbors. He caused them to suffer and gave them growths on their skin. 7 When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The Ark of the God of Israel can’t stay with us. God is punishing us and Dagon our god.” 8 The people of Ashdod called all five Philistine kings together and asked them, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?”
The rulers answered, “Move the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath.” So the Philistines moved it to Gath.
9 But after they moved it to Gath, there was a great panic. The Lord was hard on that city also, and he gave both old and young people in Gath growths on their skin. 10 Then the Philistines sent the Ark of God to Ekron.
But when it came into Ekron, the people of Ekron yelled, “Why are you bringing the Ark of the God of Israel to our city? Do you want to kill us and our people?” 11 So they called all the kings of the Philistines together and said, “Send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its place before it kills us and our people!” All the people in the city were struck with terror because God was so hard on them there. 12 The people who did not die were troubled with growths on their skin. So the people of Ekron cried loudly to heaven.
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