|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Little fish; diminutive from dag = a fish, the fish-god; the national god of the Philistines (Judges 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 (Judges 16:23-30) and Ashdod (1 Samuel 5:1-7). (see FISH.)
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) The national god of the Philistines, represented with the face and hands and upper part of a man, and the tail of a fish.
2. (n.) A slip or piece.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
da'-gon (daghon; apparently derived from dagh, "fish"): Name of the god of the Philistines (according to Jerome on Isaiah 46:1 of the Philistines generally); in the Bible, Dagon is associated with Gaza (Judges 16) but elsewhere with Ashdod (compare 1 Samuel 5 and 1 Maccabees 10:83; 11:4); in 1 Chronicles 10:10 there is probably an error (compare the passage 1 Samuel 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 1 Samuel 5:1-5. The prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 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; see BETH-DAGON.
Commentaries on Judges and 1 Samuel; Winckler, Altoriental. Forschungen, III, 383.
Max L. Margolis
Dagon (9 Occurrences)
Joshua 15:41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Joshua 19:27 It turned toward the sunrise to Beth Dagon, and reached to Zebulun, and to the valley of Iphtah El northward to Beth Emek and Neiel. It went out to Cabul on the left hand, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 16:23 The lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, "Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 5:2 The Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 5:3 When they of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon was fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh. They took Dagon, and set him in his place again. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 5:4 When they arose early on the next day morning, behold, Dagon was fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands lay cut off on the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any who come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod, to this day. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 5:7 When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, "The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us; for his hand is severe on us, and on Dagon our god." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 10:10 They put his armor in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the house of Dagon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)