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Dictionaries :: Dagon

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Dagon:

little fish; diminutive from dag = a fish, the fish-god; the national god of the Philistines (Jdg 16:23). This idol had the body of a fish with the head and hands of a man. It was an Assyrio-Babylonian deity, the worship of which was introduced among the Philistines through Chaldea. The most famous of the temples of Dagon were at Gaza (Jdg 16:23-30) and Ashdod (1Sa 5:1-7). (See FISH.)

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

Dagon:

corn; a fish

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Dagon:

da'-gon (daghon; apparently derived from dagh, "fish"): Name of the god of the Philistines (according to Jerome on Isa 46:1 of the Philistines generally); in the Bible, Dagon is associated with Gaza (Jud 16) but elsewhere with Ashdod (compare 1Sa 5 and 1 Macc 10:83 f; 11:4); in 1Ch 10:10 there is probably an error (compare the passage 1Sa 31:10). The god had his temple ("the house of Dagon") and his priests. When the ark was captured by the Philistines, it was conducted to Ashdod where it was placed in the house of Dagon by the side of the idol. But on the morrow it was found that the idol lay prostrate before the ark of the Lord. It was restored to its place; but on the following day Dagon again lay on the ground before the ark, this time with the head and both hands severed from the body and lying upon the miphtan (the word is commonly interpreted to mean "threshold"; according to Winckler, it means "pedestal"); the body alone remained intact. The Hebrew says: "Dagon alone remained." Whether we resort to an emendation (dagho, "his fish-part") or not, commentators appear to be right in inferring that the idol was half-man, half-fish. Classic authors give this form to Derceto. The sacred writer adds that from that time on the priests of Dagon and all those that entered the house of Dagon refrained from stepping upon the miphtan of Dagon. See 1Sa 5:1-5. The prophet Zephaniah (Ze 1:9) speaks of an idolatrous practice which consisted in leaping over the miphtan. The Septuagint in 1 Samuel indeed adds the clause: "but they were accustomed to leap." Leaping over the threshold was probably a feature of the Philistine ritual which the Hebrews explained in their way. A god Dagon seems to have been worshipped by the Canaanites;

LITERATURE

Commentaries on Judges and 1 Samuel; Winckler, Altoriental. Forschungen, III, 383.

Written by Max L. Margolis

See BETH-DAGON

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Dagon:

(a fish) apparently the masculine (1 Samuel 5:3-4) correlative of Atargatis, was the national god of the Philistines. The most famous temples of Dagon were at Gaza (Judges 16:21-30) and Ashdod (1 Samuel 5:5-6; 1 Chronicles 10:10). The latter temple was destroyed by Jonathan in the Maccabaean wars. Traces of the worship of Dagon likewise appear in the names Caphar‐dagon (near Jamnia) and Beth‐dagon in Judah (Joshua 15:41) and Asher (Joshua 19:27). Dagon was represented with the face and hands of a man and the tail of a fish (1 Samuel 5:5). The fish‐like form was a natural emblem of fruitfulness, and as such was likely to be adopted by seafaring tribes in the representation of their gods.

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.