Dagon was one of the idols that the Philistines worshipped. The first night that the God’s Ark of the Covenant was placed in the temple of Dagon, the Philistines discovered that Dagon had “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.” Mysteriously, Dagon’s humiliation was repeated the following morning. This was a sure sign that the previous day’s events had not been accidental. Once again Dagon was lying prostrate “before the ark of the Lord” (1 Samuel 6:4), but this time there was a difference.
This time, Dagon’s head and hands had been “broken off.” The Hebrew word, “krt.” literally means “cut off” in a manner reminding the Philistine’s of other grisly military executions (1 Samuel 17:51; 31:9; 2 Sam 4:12). The Philistines’ conquering divine hero god had been humbled and then mercilessly executed in his own temple/stronghold. Though “in exile,” the Lord had proven His superiority.
Dagon’s head and hands had first been discovered “lying on the threshold” of his temple. Out of respect for their pagan deity, worshipers entering the temple refused to “step on the threshold” (1 Samuel 6:5). Although this practice of was common in ancient Palestine (Exodus 3:5; Zephaniah 1:9), refusing to “step on the threshold” was apparently adopted in Ashdod only after the Lord desecrated Dagon.
Without human help, God’s judgment performed a ritual execution of Dagon. After slaying their god, God directs his judgments against the people who worshiped that pagan god. God is demonstrating His unconquerable nature and His superiority over all enemies.