Poole on 1 Samuel 5:7-9: The Plague of Hemorrhoids, Part 2

Verse 7:[1] And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.


[Seeing a plague of this sort, כִּי־כֵן] That so (Montanus), understanding, it was, or it happened (Pagnine, Munster, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, Vatablus). That such things happened to them (Syriac). What had happened to them (Arabic). That a stroke was put upon them (Jonathan); that they were consumed by defects of the seat (Vatablus).


[For His hand is sore, etc.] They grieve not at all over the guilty; but greatly over the punishment (Mendoza).


[Upon us, and upon Dagon] They lament their own punishment, before that of Dagon, hardly reverently (Mendoza).


Verse 8:[2] They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.



[And sending, they gathered[3]] Sending, understanding, messengers; as it is done elsewhere; by a Hebraism, Psalm 57:3; 105:20; Matthew 14:10 (Mendoza).


[All the Satraps] Therefore, the Philistine were ὀλιγαρχούμενοι, under an oligarchy (Grotius).


[The men of Gath answered: Let it be carried about, etc. (similarly the Septuagint)] Gath was the most noble prefecture of all; which had the right of speaking their opinion in the first place. The others subscribed to the counsel of Gath (Mendoza); because these, either doubting, or believing that this was done either naturally or by chance, expose themselves first to the danger, according to the Septuagint translators, who in the place of, let the Ark be carried about, translated it, let the Ark pass to us (Mendoza).



[The Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ גַּ֣ת יִסֹּ֔ב וגו״] And they said, Gath let the Ark of God encircle (Montanus). To, or unto, Gath let the Ark be carried about, or pass (or, return [Syriac]; or let us lead [Arabic]; or let it be led [Munster], be transferred [Vatablus]) (Pagnine, Tigurinus, similarly Malvenda, Vatablus, Drusius). Here, גַּת/Gath has been put in the place of לְגַת, to Gath (Vatablus, Drusius). They were thinking that this disaster did not happen to the inhabitants of Azotus because of the Ark, but because of the nature of the place; for example, from infected air, or from the influx of the stars (Theodoret and Procopius in Lapide).


Unto Gath: Supposing that this plague was confined to Ashdod for some particular reasons, or that it came upon them by chance, or from some bad influence of the air, or of the stars, or for putting it into Dagon’s temple, which they resolved they would not do.


Verse 9:[4] And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, (Deut. 2:15; 1 Sam. 7:13; 12:15) the hand of the LORD was against the city (1 Sam. 5:11) with a very great destruction: and (1 Sam. 5:6; Ps. 78:66) he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.


[The hand of the Lord arose through the individual cities, etc.,וַתְּהִ֙י יַד־יְהוָ֤ה׀ בָּעִיר֙ מְהוּמָה֙ גְּדוֹלָ֣ה מְאֹ֔ד] And the hand of the Lord was to a city (others: in a city [Nobilius]) a great disturbance (Septuagint). And the stroke of the Lord was in a city, a great perturbation (Jonathan). The Lord smote the citizens of that city with an exceedingly severe plague (Arabic). And it happened by the hand [with a ב/in/by understood before עַד/hand] of the Lord in the city, a great tumult (Munster). That the hand of the Lord threatened the city with an exceedingly severe attack (Tigurinus). And the hand of the Lord was on, or against, the city with great wasting (Montanus), or vexation (Junius and Tremellius); with destruction (English); with terror (Piscator). With or in wasting, that is, in such a way that they might be worn out. He then explains himself, and He smote, etc. (Vatablus). For the hand of the Lord to be upon anyone is the showing of divine power on him; whether in blessing, etc., as in Ezekiel 1:3, or in avenging and punishing, as in Ezekiel 13:9 (Menochius).



[And their projecting bowels were rotting, etc., וַיִּשָּׂתְר֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם עֳפָלִֽים׃] שָׂתַר/ satar is found only in this place, and it signifies the same thing as סָתַר/satar, namely, to hide, to conceal (Mendoza). [A good many point the ש on the right (שׁ/sh); but Buxtorf and Pagnine in their Lexica[5] place the point on the left (שׂ/ s); and they reduce it to סָתַר, to conceal. But Schindler[6] places it on the right, and explains נִשְׁתַּר as to be smitten. [They render the passage variously.] And the deep places were hidden to them (Munster). And He smote them in their seats, etc. (Septuagint), or in constrictions (Jonathan). And He smote them, etc. In such a way that their seats were wasting away, and their anuses fell (Syriac). And dysentery came upon them (Arabic). And they had hidden illnesses (Hebrew). Their illnesses were hidden (Munster). And He smote, etc., in such a way that their illnesses were hidden (Tigurinus). The sense appears to be, And the piles were previously unknown to them, so that the very novelty of the disease might increase the marvel (Grotius). Hebrew: they were hidden to them, etc. I think that it should be translated, their anuses were covered with hemorrhoids (Piscator). And were hidden to them the defects of the seat (Vatablus). The hemorrhoids were hidden (Drusius). And in places hidden, or concealed, were, or had risen, to them hemorrhoids, or piles (Pagnine, Dutch, English). Defects arose to them in a more secret, or not accessible, part of the rectum (Vatablus). And, because the piles were hidden, they were harder and more difficult to treat (Drusius, similarly Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:36:365). Hidden hemorrhoids were prevailing in them (Junius and Tremellius). For the blood was stopped, which wearing away the intestines; which is a second sort of hemorrhoids, and much more grievous; as all physicians testify (Junius, similarly Dutch). Since the disease was hidden/ internal, it was afflicting them more grievously; since they were able to apply no remedy (Munster). For…the defect is maintained, and increases, by hiding, as Mantuanus[7] well says. And this sickness was incurable, because it had insinuated itself into the vitals (Mendoza). The tumors were internal, so that a physician might not come at them to let the blood, when it was putrefying (Lapide).


In their secret parts: Or, in their hidden parts, to wit, in the inwards of their hinder parts; which is the worst kind of emerods, as all physicians acknowledge, both because its pains are far more sharp and keen than the other, and because the malady is more out of the reach of remedies.


[And they made for themselves seats of skin] That is, so that they might sit more comfortably, which the disease was requiring. But these words are omitted in the Royal Bible of the Septuagint; and also in the Hebrew and Chaldean (Lapide). [And in all the versions except the Vulgate.]

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּרְא֥וּ אַנְשֵֽׁי־אַשְׁדּ֖וֹד כִּֽי־כֵ֑ן וְאָמְר֗וּ לֹֽא־יֵשֵׁ֞ב אֲר֙וֹן אֱלֹהֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ עִמָּ֔נוּ כִּֽי־קָשְׁתָ֤ה יָדוֹ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ וְעַ֖ל דָּג֥וֹן אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ׃ [2] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֡וּ וַיַּאַסְפוּ֩ אֶת־כָּל־סַרְנֵ֙י פְלִשְׁתִּ֜ים אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ מַֽה־נַּעֲשֶׂ֗ה לַֽאֲרוֹן֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ גַּ֣ת יִסֹּ֔ב אֲר֖וֹן אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּסֵּ֕בּוּ אֶת־אֲר֖וֹן אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ [3] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֡וּ וַיַּאַסְפוּ֩. [4] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֞י אַחֲרֵ֣י׀ הֵסַ֣בּוּ אֹת֗וֹ וַתְּהִ֙י יַד־יְהוָ֤ה׀ בָּעִיר֙ מְהוּמָה֙ גְּדוֹלָ֣ה מְאֹ֔ד וַיַּךְ֙ אֶת־אַנְשֵׁ֣י הָעִ֔יר מִקָּטֹ֖ן וְעַד־גָּד֑וֹל וַיִּשָּׂתְר֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם עֳפָלִֽים׃ [5] Buxtorf wrote Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum; Pagnine, Thesaurus Linguæ Sanctæ sive Lexicon Hebraicum. [6] Valentine Schindler (died 1604) was a Lutheran Hebraist. He was Professor of Oriental Languages at Wittenberg and at Helmstadt, and composed Lexicon Pentaglotton: Hebraicum, Chaldaicum, Syriacum, Talmudico-Rabbinicum, et Arabicum. [7] Baptista Spanuoli Manuanus (1447-1516) was an Italian Carmelite and humanist scholar. His De Patientia treats physical and spiritual illness.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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