In 1 Samuel 5–6, we read the story of the Ark of the Covenant being stolen by the Philistines and remaining in their land for 7 months. During this time, God struck the Philistines with a plague which caused tumors in their “secret parts”. The word in the KJV is emerods -Hebrew word ophal,(and I’m sure it was). Emerods was naturally assumed to be hemorrhoids, but actually the awful ophal is translated “tumor”.
The Philistines were apparently smart enough to put two and two together and know that the God of Israel had brought this plague upon them, so they attempted to placate Him with an offering of golden emerods and golden rodents (the Hebrew word for which is, ironically enough, akbar!). The biblical account does not mention an infestation of rodents, but it can be inferred that there was one and that the illness that had fallen upon them was clearly associated with them, judging by their odd choice of offering.
A September 2005 edition of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine did an intriguing study on this phenomenon in the book of 1 Samuel, and states that modern science has concluded the plague spoken of in I Samuel is, indeed, the Bubonic Plague. As you probably recall from school days, the Bubonic Plague was transmitted by fleas, and it was the rats that carried the fleas that that carried the plague that ravaged Europe in the 1340s, but what you may not have known, is that actual flea fossils have been found in Armana Egypt, which date the contact between humans and these “plague fleas” accurately to the year 1350 B.C. (Books of Samuel, in their final form, written after Solomon’s death in 931 BC, and cover the span of Israel’s history from 1064-971 BC).
In light of current events, the locust plague in Egypt, this rat infestation in Tehran, I can’t help but shake my head as the rebellion of mankind brings about this repeat of history. Just as it is unfathomable when we read the book of Exodus and the Pharaoh’s stubborn battle of the wills with God Himself, that Pharaoh actually believed himself to be a formidable opponent to God, so our leaders today take the same stance in defiance, and as there is nothing new under the sun, well, in the words of little Bartok in Anastasia, “This can only end in tears”.
(Enjoy and share!)