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1 Samuel 5:6 -

But the hand of Jehovah was heavy upon them of Ashdod. I.e. his power and might were exercised in smiting them with severe plagues. A question here arises whether, as the Septuagint affirms, besides the scourge of emerods, their land was desolated by swarms of field mice. It is certain that they sent as votive offerings golden images of "the mice that mar the land" ( 1 Samuel 6:5 ); but the translators of the Septuagint too often attempt to make all things easy by unauthorised additions, suggested by the context; and so probably here it was the wish to explain why mice were sent which made them add, "and mice were produced in the land." Really the mouse was a symbol of pestilence (Herod; 2:141), and appears as such in hieroglyphics; and by sending golden mice with golden emerods the lords of the Philistines expressed very clearly that the emerods had been epidemic. This word, more correctly spelt haemorrhoids, has this in its favour, that the noun used here, ophalim, is never read in the synagogue. Wherever the word occurs the reader was instructed to say tehorim, the vowels of which are actually attached to the consonants of ophalim in the text of our Hebrew Bibles. In Deuteronomy 28:9 .7 tehorim is mentioned as one of the loathsome skin diseases of Egypt, and though rendered "emerods" in the A.V is possibly, as translated by Aquila, "an eating ulcer." Ophalim need only mean turnouts, swellings, its original signification being "a hill" ( 2 Chronicles 27:3 ); yet as the word was not thought fit for public reading in the synagogue, we may feel sure that it means some such tumours as the A.V. describes.

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