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English Bible Dictionary

Dagon

 

(a fish), apparently the masculine, (1 Samuel 5:3,4) correlative of Atargatis, was the national god of the Philistines. The most famous temples of Dagon were at Gaza, (Judges 16:21-30) and Ashdod. (1 Samuel 5:5,6; 1 Chronicles 10:10) The latter temple was destroyed by Jonathan in the Maccabaean wars. Traces of the worship of Dagon likewise appear in the names Caphar-dagon (near Jamnia) and Beth-dagon in Judah, (Joshua 15:41) and Asher. (Joshua 19:27) Dagon was represented with the face and hands of a man and the tail of a fish. (1 Samuel 5:5) The fish-like form was a natural emblem of fruitfulness, and as such was likely to be adopted by seafaring tribes in the representation of their gods.

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