The Philistines, relishing their victory over the Israelites, removed “the ark of God” (1 Samuel 6:1) from the abandoned Israelite campsite at “Ebenezer” and brought it some nineteen miles south “to Ashdod.”
God promises, “I am in control” and in chapter 6 of 1 Samuel, God demonstrates His awesome power against Israel’s most feared adversary. The Philistines thought their pagan god, Dagon, was the deity who had given the Philistines victory over Israel’s God.
After the Philistines had captured the ark, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it next to his statue. In a feeble attempt to include God in their pantheon of gods, the ark was placed there “beside Dagon” (1 Samuel 6:2) within “Dagon’s temple.” But when the Philistines people got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. Dagon was found in a posture of reverence and submission before “the ark of the Lord” (1 Samuel 6:3); “his face” was “on the ground.”
They picked Dagon up and returned him to his spot. It was the people of Ashdod that had to “put” Dagon “back in his place.” Their god, thought to be so dominating on the battlefield, in the confines of his own temple did not even have the strength to lift his face out of the dust!