Judges 16:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:23, NIV: Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, 'Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.'

Judges 16:23, ESV: Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.”

Judges 16:23, KJV: Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

Judges 16:23, NASB: Now the governors of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to celebrate, for they said, 'Our god has handed Samson our enemy over to us.'

Judges 16:23, NLT: The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, 'Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!'

Judges 16:23, CSB: Now the Philistine leaders gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They rejoiced and said: Our god has handed over our enemy Samson to us.

What does Judges 16:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The worship of pagan deities and false gods is rarely depicted so extensively in the Bible. The "lords of the Philistines" are probably the rulers of the five major Philistine cities (Joshua 13:3). They've assembled in Gaza to give praise and worship to Dagon and make a sacrifice to their god.

Historians report that Dagon was originally worshiped as a god of grain or harvest or possibly storms. Popular culture often associates Dagon with fish and the sea, as the Hebrew word dag means "fish," though the Philistines apparently treated him as a general deity. Among some Baal worshippers in Canaan, Dagon was said to be the father of Baal. Like the Israelites, the Philistines were relatively new to Palestine. Also like the Israelites, they apparently adopted some of the regional gods as their own. Dagon-worship is always associated with the Philistines in the Old Testament.

The scene which follows shows how noteworthy Samson's capture was to the Philistines. Israel had become compliant and easily managed over time (Judges 13:1; 15:11). Samson was an agent of chaos and disruption, bringing them various levels of destruction for twenty years (Judges 15:20). The Philistines believed Dagon had finally delivered Samson into their hands; this would mean Dagon had won a victory over the God of Israel. So, the Philistine nobles gathered for a party in honor of their idol.