A Humanist perspective on what we can learn about what is morality from the Bible.
1 Samuel 5: What shall we do with the Ark?
The Philistines took the Ark of God to Ashod and put it in the house/temple of Dagon. And the next morning, the statue of Dagon was on the ground. They picked him up, put him back and the next morning, the statue of Dagon had again fallen and this time broken. Additionally, the people of Dagon broke out in emerods (boils?) and the plague spread up and down the coasts around Ashod. So the priests of Dagon insisted that the Ark be taken away. It was taken to Gath and once again, people broke out with emerods, this time they had emerods on their secret parts! The Ark was then sent to Ekron and the people of Ekron said – we don’t want it! And the lords of the Philistines all agreed to send the Ark of God back to Israel. The good news is that the people in Ekron who died, didn’t have emerods.
In other words:
Everywhere the Ark of God is taken, disease and death follows.
1 Samuel 5:9 – And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. (Who doesn't like a good reference to a man’s secret parts? That’ll show them.)
What’s an emerod?
According to Bible Hub (http://biblehub.com/topical/e/emerods.htm) these were probably plague like boils. The word may be the root of hemorrhoid, but... since this occurred all over the body and on private parts and was fatal, it probably wasn't a hemorrhoid. Anyway – when you hear emerod think plague boil.
What I think was happening:
The Ark was routinely covered in blood and bits of animal parts and was probably NEVER cleaned. The Hebrew cult was a blood cult after all. The Ark would have been absolutely disgusting by modern standards. The plague is carried by fleas on mice or rats. So what probably happened is that as this Ark was moved about, it attracted rodents who were drawn to the blood and guts that were on the Ark. The fleas on these rodents, caused outbreaks of the plague wherever the Ark went. But because people didn't know how this disease was spread, they attributed it (quite rightly) to the appearance of the Ark. The only question is why the Israeli’s didn't seem to suffer from this. My guess is that they kept the Ark on the altar where things were constantly being cooked etc and perhaps rodents couldn't get to it.
General impression of this chapter?
It’s pretty funny actually.
Moral Lesson Learned:
Don’t bring disease infested artifacts into your house. (1 Samuel 5)