1 After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 They brought the Ark of God into the Temple of Dagon and placed it next to Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod got up early the next day, they saw Dagon had fallen on his face in front of the Ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him back up. 4 When they got up early the next morning, they saw Dagon had fallen on his face in front of the Ark of the Lord, with his head and hands broken off lying on the doorstep. Only his body remained intact. 5 (That's why the priests of Dagon, and all who enter the temple of Dagon in Ashdod, don't tread on the doorstep, even up to now.)
The Lord punished*
the people of Ashdod and its surrounding area, devastating them and plaguing them with swellings.† 7
When the people of Ashdod saw what was going on, they said, “We can't let the Ark of the God of Israel remain here with us, because he is punishing us and Dagon our god.” 8
So they sent for all the Philistine rulers and asked them, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?”
“Take the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath,” they replied. So they moved it to Gath. 9 But once they'd moved the Ark to Gath, the Lord also took action against that town, throwing it into great confusion and attacking the people of the town, young and old, with a plague of swellings.
10 So they sent the Ark of God to Ekron, but as soon as it arrived, the leaders of Ekron shouted, “They've moved the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us and our people!” 11 So they sent for all the Philistine rulers and said, “Send the Ark of the God of Israel away, back to where it came from, otherwise it's going to kill us and our people.” People were dying throughout the town, creating terrible panic, for God's punishment was very hard. 12 Those who didn't die were plagued with swellings, and the cry for help from the town reached up to heaven.