Poole on 1 Samuel 6:5: Golden Hemorrhoids and Mice, Part 2

Verse 5:[1] Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that (1 Sam. 5:6) mar the land; and ye shall (Josh. 7:19; Is. 42:12; Mal. 2:2; John 9:24) give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will (see 1 Sam. 5:6, 11; Ps. 39:10) lighten his hand from off you, and from off (1 Sam. 5:3, 4, 7) your gods, and from off your land.

[And images of the mice that have wasted the land,עַכְבְּרֵיכֶ֗ם הַמַּשְׁחִיתִם֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ] Of your mice, which spoil this land (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Drusius, Malvenda, etc.). Which have ruined (Vatablus), ravaged (Pagnine). This passage teaches that the mice did not enter their bodies, but devastated the region (Drusius). They were digging under the earth, and rendering it unsuitable for producing crops (Vatablus). Some examples will shed light on this passage. For they relate that mice put to flight the inhabitants of Gyras, an island of the Cyclades:[2] Varro in Pliny’s Natural History 8:29. And from Troas. And so it ceases to be strange, that such strength of the country mice should ravage the harvest: Pliny’s Natural History 10:73. And from certain places in Italy: Ælian’s[3]History of Animals[4] 17:41. And almost from Cantabria,[5] where they hired men to hunt the mice at a certain rate; and thus they hardly escaped the evil: Strabo’s[6] Geography 3. Moreover, עַכְבָּר properly signifies a country mouse; as it is evident, 1. From the fact that it here ravages fields. 2. From Isaiah 66:17, they eat swine’s flesh…וְהָעַכְבָּר, and the country mouse. For no one desires a house mouse for food. The Arabic here has aliarbuo; which is a species of country mouse; and which the Arabs relate are alone eaten. עַכְבָּר is used in the place of עֲכַלְבַּר: as בָּבֶל/Babel is used in the place of בַּלְבֵל/Balbel;[7] and שְׁמוּאֵל/Samuel, in the place of שָׁאַל־מֵאֵל /Saul-meel,[8] asked of God, as it were. To the Chaldeans (whose word it perhaps is) it is עֲכַל, to consume, and בַּר/field (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:3:34:1017, etc.). You will ask what was done with these images by the Israelites. Response: They were placed in the Sanctuary, for an everlasting memory of the blessing, just like the censers, Numbers 16:38 (Mendoza).

[And ye shall give glory to the God of Israel] Thus ye shall acknowledge that ye have been overcome by the God of Israel, from whose honor ye detracted, when ye captured His Ark: in this way ye shall restore glory to Him (Vatablus). To give glory, etc., here signified the confession of one’s sins, and the testimony that all plague come from God (Mendoza out of Lyra and Tostatus). Similarly in Joshua 7:19; Ezra 9:8; John 9:24.[9] Or rather (since Philistines speak in their own idiom, and did not attend to foreign Hebraisms), to give glory, etc., is to load the Ark with gifts. For to give gifts is to praise and to honor (Mendoza). To give glory is to beg pardon before Him: and to appease Him with gifts (Piscator).

Glory unto the God of Israel; the glory of his power in conquering you, who seemed and pretended to have conquered him; of his justice in punishing you; and of his goodness if he shall relieve you.

[If perhaps He might lighten, etc., אוּלַ֗י יָקֵ֤ל אֶת־יָדוֹ֙ מֵֽעֲלֵיכֶ֔ם] [They render it variously.] If perhaps He will make His hand light from upon you[10] (Montanus). If perhaps He might remit His hand from you (Tigurinus). Perchance He will lift (so that He might lift [Septuagint]) His hand from you (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus). He will lift His hand, and cease from you (Piscator). Perchance He will cease to afflict you; or will afflict you more lightly (Vatablus). His hand will be lightened (Pagnine). He will take His hand from you (Syriac). His stroke will cease from you (Jonathan). Moreover, they speak as men altogether uncertain of these matters, as above in verse 3; for who hath known the counsel of the Lord?[11] Certainly man as a living creature is least of all (Malvenda out of Junius). They were infidels; they did not have settled confidence concerning divine mercy. And they were able to doubt whether the temporal punishments would be remitted to them, which are not always remitted even to the truly penitent, as it is evident in the case of David[12] (Mendoza).

[From you] They speak in the second person; whence Cajetan gathers that these Augurs were foreigners; otherwise they would have said from us. But this proof is weak. For thus Moses speaks, Deuteronomy 10; 11, your God; and Samuel, 1 Samuel 8:11, your sons, etc.; and Christ, John 6:49, your fathers, etc. (Mendoza).

[And from your Gods[13] (thus the Septuagint, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Mendoza, Drusius)] From your errors (Jonathan). For the remaining cities had their own Gods; as Gaza had Marnas.[14] And who would believe that there was only one idol in Palestine (Drusius)? Hence it is evident that, not only Dagon, but also the other Gods of the Philistines were prostrated and afflicted before the Ark (Lapide, similarly Sanchez).

[וּמֵעַ֥ל אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם] Others translate it, and from your God (Syriac, Arabic, Piscator, Dutch, Strigelius, Cajetan in Mendoza), namely, Dagon (Piscator, Cajetan). Elohim can be singular or plural, signifying God, as much as Gods (Drusius).

From off your gods they so speak, either because not only Dagon, but their other gods also, were thrown down by the ark, though that be not related; or because the plural number in that case was commonly used for the singular.

[1] Hebrew: וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֩ צַלְמֵ֙י עָפְלֵיכֶ֜ם וְצַלְמֵ֣י עַכְבְּרֵיכֶ֗ם הַמַּשְׁחִיתִם֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּנְתַתֶּ֛ם לֵאלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל כָּב֑וֹד אוּלַ֗י יָקֵ֤ל אֶת־יָדוֹ֙ מֵֽעֲלֵיכֶ֔ם וּמֵעַ֥ל אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם וּמֵעַ֥ל אַרְצְכֶֽם׃ [2] The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Ægean Sea, off the southeastern coast of Greece. [3] Claudius Ælianus (c. 175-c. 235) was a Roman rhetorician and teacher. [4]De Natura Animalium. [5] Cantabria is a region in northern Spain. [6] Strabo (c. 63 BC-c. 24 AD) was a Greek geographer and historian. [7] From בָּלַל/balal, to confuse. [8] From שָׁאַל/shaal, to ask. [9] John 9:24: “Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give glory to God (δὸς δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ): we know that this man is a sinner.” [10] A woodenly literalistic rendering of the Hebrew. [11] See Isaiah 40:13; Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16. [12] See 2 Samuel 12:10-14. [13] Hebrew: וּמֵעַ֥ל אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם. [14]Marnas was a god of rain and grain, not too different from Dagon.


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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