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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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DAGON . A god whose worship was general among the Philistines (at Gaza, Judges 16:23 , 1Ma 10:83-84 ; 1Ma 11:4 ; at Ashkelon, 1 Samuel 5:2 ; prob. at Beth-dagon [wh. see], which may at one time have been under Philistine rule). Indeed, the name Baal-dagon inscribed in Phœnician characters upon a cylinder now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the modern place-name Beit Dajan (S.E. of Nablus), indicate an existence of his cult in Phœnicia and Canaan. An endeavour to identify the god with Atargatis (wh. see) is responsible for the explanation of the name as a diminutive (term of endearment) of dag (‘fish’), and also for the rendering of ‘only Dagon was left’ ( 1 Samuel 5:4 ) as ‘only the fishy part was left.’ Though there is nothing to contradict the supposition that Dagon was a fish-god, it is more probable that originally he was an agricultural deity (named from dagan = ‘grain,’ cf. 1 Samuel 6:4-5 ), from which position he developed into a war-god ( 1 Chronicles 10:10 ) and apparently even into a national deity ( 1 Samuel 5:8 to 1 Samuel 6:18 ). An identification of this god with the Babylonian Dagan is doubtful (see Jensen, Kosmologie , 449 ff.; and Jastrow, Rel. of Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] and Assyr. [Note: Assyrian.] , Index).

N. Koenig.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Dagon'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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