Poole on 1 Samuel 5:10-12: The Plague of Hemorrhoids, Part 3



Verse 10:[1] Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people (Heb. to me, to slay me and my people[2]).


[To Ekron] Which was one of the five satrapies of the Philistines (Menochius).


[And when it had come unto Ekron] That is, even before they had received it, because they were frightened by the examples of the others (Malvenda out of Junius).



[The Ekronites cried out] They are the words of the Satrap (Vatablus), or of the princes; for they distinguish themselves from the common people, saying, that it might slay us and our people. It is to be observed here, that they feared for, and looked out for, themselves before their own, since they mention themselves first. Thus Pharaoh, Exodus 8:8, …that He may take away the frogs from me, and from my people. Then that, that it might slay, is able to be taken, either causally; as if the men of Gath had intended this, that they might sharers in their punishments: or consecutively; because from the coming of the Ark they were fearing death for themselves (Mendoza).


To slay us and our people: Not that they intended this, but because this would be the event of it.


Verse 11:[3] So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people (Heb. me not, and my people[4]): for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; (1 Sam. 5:6, 9) the hand of God was very heavy there.


[All the satraps] The individual cities, since they were under aristocratic government, in doubtful matters had the right of convoking the Satraps of the other cities. In this they were to be praise, that they were not rashly hastening themselves to act, but they were maturely deliberating (Mendoza).



[Let it go again to its own place] Namely, in Shiloh, or into the land of the children of Israel (Vatablus).


[There was a fear of death, מְהוּמַת־מָוֶת[5]] The grinding (or breaking [Vatablus], din, or commotion [Drusius], tumult [Munster, Syriac, Arabic], confusion [Septuagint], advance [Tigurinus]) of death (Pagnine, Montanus). The confution of slaughter, or massacre (Jonathan in Drusius). Deadly vexation (Junius and Tremellius), or terror of death, that is, lethal, as in verse 9[6] (Piscator). An extremely great plague, and lethal disease: Many were dying (Vatablus).


[In the individual cities, בְּכָל־הָעִיר] They vary: in every city, or community (Munster, Montanus, Jonathan). As if the disease were in all the cities of the Philistines, which little approved by the more learned (Vatablus). In all five provinces or satraps; as Josephus rightly says, and as it is manifestly stated in 1 Samuel 6:4: otherwise they would not have sent five golden anuses, and five mice. But the Scripture, for the sake of brevity, does not enumerate all (Sanchez on verse 10). God willed that His Ark be carried about, so that He might in a certain manner exact tribute from all His enemies (Josephus in Martyr). Others translate it: in all the city (Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic). In that whole city (Piscator, Tigurinus, Vatablus). Philo, in Biblical Antiquities,[7] relates that two hundred and twenty thousand were killed in all (Mendoza).


Throughout all the city, to wit, the city of Ekron, during its short stay there. Or, in every city, to wit, where the ark of God came; for it came also to Gaza and Askelon, and produced the same effects there, as may be gathered from 1 Samuel 6:4, 17, though for brevity sake it be here omitted.


Verse 12:[8] And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.



[Those that had not died were smitten, etc.] The sense: some of the Philistines were removed by sudden death at the sight of the Ark; others were chastened with an intolerable ulcer (Sanchez, Menochius).


The men that died not; either of some other plague or ulcer, as may be thought from 1 Samuel 5:6, or of the emerods, which infested and tormented even those whom it did not kill.


[The howl was ascending…to heaven] A common Hyperbole, Deuteronomy 1:28 and Psalm 107:26. Thus Virgil concerning Laocoon:[9] At the same time he lifts to the stars horrendous cries[10] (Sanchez). [Mendoza notes on this place:] 1. The Divine Punishments are inflicted, not altogether at once, but gradually and by parts. For God does not punish so that He might ruin and vex; but so that He might chasten and correct. 2. God first releases His fury against the causes and occasions of sinning (of which sort was Dagon to the Philistines), only later against sinners. 3. The Philistines suffer the loss of their temporal goods with greater difficulty than of their spiritual goods. For they were not moved over the casting down and crumbling of Dagon; neither were they reflecting upon the sending back of the Ark (Mendoza).


The cry of the city, or, of that city where the ark was; and the city is put for the people inhabiting it.

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיְשַׁלְּח֛וּ אֶת־אֲר֥וֹן הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים עֶקְר֑וֹן וַיְהִ֗י כְּב֙וֹא אֲר֤וֹן הָאֱלֹהִים֙ עֶקְר֔וֹן וַיִּזְעֲק֙וּ הָֽעֶקְרֹנִ֜ים לֵאמֹ֗ר הֵסַ֤בּוּ אֵלַי֙ אֶת־אֲרוֹן֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לַהֲמִיתֵ֖נִי וְאֶת־עַמִּֽי׃ [2] Hebrew: אֵלַי֙—לַהֲמִיתֵ֖נִי וְאֶת־עַמִּֽי׃. [3] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֙וּ וַיַּאַסְפ֜וּ אֶת־כָּל־סַרְנֵ֣י פְלִשְׁתִּ֗ים וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ שַׁלְּח֞וּ אֶת־אֲר֙וֹן אֱלֹהֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לִמְקֹמ֔וֹ וְלֹֽא־יָמִ֥ית אֹתִ֖י וְאֶת־עַמִּ֑י כִּֽי־הָיְתָ֤ה מְהֽוּמַת־מָ֙וֶת֙ בְּכָל־הָעִ֔יר כָּבְדָ֥ה מְאֹ֛ד יַ֥ד הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים שָֽׁם׃ [4] Hebrew: וְלֹֽא־יָמִ֥ית אֹתִ֖י וְאֶת־עַמִּ֑י. [5]מְהוּמָה/tumult/confusion is related to the verbal root הוּם, to murmur, to discomfit. [6] 1 Samuel 5:9: “And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction (מְהוּמָה֙ גְּדוֹלָ֣ה מְאֹ֔ד): and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.” [7] Antiquitates Biblicæ covers the history of the world, from the creation to King Saul. It is generally recognized as pseudonymous, and was written circa 100 AD. [8] Hebrew: וְהָֽאֲנָשִׁים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־מֵ֔תוּ הֻכּ֖וּ בָּעֳפָלִ֑ים וַתַּ֛עַל שַֽׁוְעַ֥ת הָעִ֖יר הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ [9] In Greco-Roman mythology, Laocoon was a Trojan priest of Neptune, killed by two giant serpents. [10]Æneid 2:222.

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