New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:2 Dagon. Dagon, the chief deity of the sea-faring Philistines, was formerly interpreted as the fish god, represented as a creature half man and half fish, personifying the belief that the primeval waters were the source from which both men and fish had evolved in the beginning. Dagon was also said to be the father of Baal, the supreme Canaanite deity, as well as being the provider of grain. Many modern scholars now believe Dagon was the god of grain. All these pagan deities were essentially nature gods, personifications of the natural forces which had produced all things.
5:4 upon his face. It was as though the god Dagon was falling prostrate before the true God. Undoubtedly this inadvertent act of “worship” had a profound effect on the idolatrous Philistines.
5:6 emerods. These “emerods” (old English spelling of hemorrhoids), affected the “secret parts” (I Samuel 5:9) of the Philistines, and were apparently associated with mice (I Samuel 6:4-5). This fact has suggested that mice transmitted the disease, and many scholars argue that it was bubonic plague. The Hebrew words so translated mean “tumor” or “mound.”