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The Territory of the Philistines
Map of the Ancient Philistines Territory
(Enlarge) (PDF for Print) (Freely Distributed)

Map of the Ancient Philistines Territory

This map shows the areas of the ancient Philistines around the 10th century B.C. This was the time period when Saul had died and David began to reign in Israel. The Philistines were clearly superior in strength but the Lord promised that he would be with Israel. The Philistines expanded eastward toward Jerusalem but were stopped by King David and the armies of Israel. 

The five cities of the Philistines:
Ashdod (coastal)
Gaza (coastal)
Ashkelon (coastal)
Gath (inland)
Ekron (inland)

1 Samuel 6:17 - "And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one"

Philistines in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Philistines
        (immigrants), The origin of the Philistines is nowhere expressly stated in the Bible; but as the prophets describe them as "the Philistines-from Caphtor," Am 9:7 and "the remnant of the maritime district of Caphtor" Jer 47:4 it is prima facie probable that they were the Caphtorim which came out of Caphtor" who expelled the Avim from their territory and occupied it; in their place, De 2:23 and that these again were the Caphtorim mentioned in the Mosaic genealogical table among the descendants of Mizraim. Ge 10:14 It has been generally assumed that Caphtor represents Crete, and that the Philistines migrated from that island, either directly or through Egypt, into Palestine. But the name Caphtor is more probably identified with the Egyptian Coptos. Full Article

Philistia in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Philistia
        (Heb. Pelesheth) (land of sojourners). The word thus translated (in) Ps 60:8; 87:4; 108:9 is in the original identical with that elsewhere rendered Palestine, which always means land of the Philistines. (Philistia was the plain on the southwest coast of Palestine. It was 40 miles long on the coast of the Mediterranean between Gerar and Joppa, and 10 miles wide at the northern end and 20 at the southern.--ED.) This plain has been in all ages remarkable for the extreme richness of its soil. It was also adapted to the growth of military power; for while the itself permitted. the use of war-chariots, which were the chief arm of offence, the occasional elevations which rise out of it offered secure sites for towns and strongholds. It was, moreover, a commercial country: from its position it must have been at all times the great thoroughfare between Phoenicia and Syria in the north and Egypt and Arabia in the south. Full Article

Philistia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

PHILISTIA
fi-lis'-ti-a: The country is referred to under various designations in the Old Testament: namely, pelesheth (Philistia) (Ps 60:8 (Hebrew 10); 87:4), 'erets pelishtim, "land of the Philistines" (Gen 21:32,34), geloth hapelishtim; Septuagint ge ton Phulistieim, "the regions of the Philistines" (Josh 13:2). The Egyptian monuments have Puirsatha, Pulsath (Budge), Peleset (Breasted) and Purasati (HGHL), according to the different voweling of the radicals; the Assyrian form is Palastu or Pilistu, which corresponds very closely to the Egyptian and the Hebrew. The extent of the land is indicated in Josh 13:2 as being from the Shihor, or Brook of Egypt (Revised Version), to the border of Ekron, northward. The eastern border was along the Judean foothills on the line of Beth-shemesh (1 Sam 6:9) with the sea on the West. It was a very small country, from 25 to 30 miles in length and with an average width of about half the length, but it was fertile, being an extension of the plain of Sharon, except that along the coast high sand dunes encroached upon the cultivated tract. It contained many towns and villages, the most important being the five so often mentioned in Scripture: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. The population must have been large for the territory, which enabled them to contend successfully with the Israelites, notwithstanding the superiority of position in the hills to the advantage of the latter.  Full Article

The Bible Mentions "Gaza" as a Chief City of the Philistines

Judges 1:18 - Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.

1 Chronicles 7:28 - And their possessions and habitations [were], Bethel and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof:

Joshua 15:47 - Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border [thereof]:

Genesis 10:19 - And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.

1 Samuel 6:17 - And these [are] the golden emerods which the Philistines returned [for] a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;

Amos 1:6 - Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver [them] up to Edom:

Judges 6:4 - And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

Judges 16:21 - But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

The Bible Mentions "Philistia" on the Coast of Israel

1 Samuel 6:17 - "And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one"

Psalms 87:4 - I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this [man] was born there.

Psalms 60:8 - Moab [is] my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.

Psalms 108:9 - Moab [is] my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.

The Bible Mentions "Philistines" Many Times

1 Samuel 17:33 - And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

1 Samuel 17:37 - David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

1 Samuel 17:49 - And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang [it], and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

Genesis 26:18 - And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

Judges 10:6 - And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.

1 Samuel 17:3 - And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and [there was] a valley between them.

Judges 16:28 - And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

1 Samuel 4:6 - And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What [meaneth] the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.

1 Samuel 14:4 - And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, [there was] a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one [was] Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.

1 Samuel 28:15 - And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

2 Chronicles 28:18 - The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.

1 Samuel 5:8 - They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about [thither].

1 Samuel 31:7 - And when the men of Israel that [were] on the other side of the valley, and [they] that [were] on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

2 Chronicles 17:11 - Also [some] of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.

1 Samuel 10:5 - After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where [is] the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:

1 Samuel 27:1 - And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: [there is] nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

1 Samuel 17:46 - This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

2 Samuel 3:18 - Now then do [it]: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

Obediah 1:19 - And [they of] the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and [they of] the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin [shall possess] Gilead.

1 Samuel 6:18 - And the golden mice, [according to] the number of all the cities of the Philistines [belonging] to the five lords, [both] of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great [stone of] Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: [which stone remaineth] unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.

1 Samuel 28:4 - And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.

1 Samuel 18:17 - And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD'S battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.

1 Samuel 18:27 - Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

1 Samuel 7:3 - And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, [then] put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

Judges 15:5 - And when he had set the brands on fire, he let [them] go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards [and] olives.

1 Kings 15:27 - And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which [belonged] to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon.

1 Samuel 17:1 - Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which [belongeth] to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.

1 Chronicles 14:10 - And David enquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.

Jeremiah 25:20 - And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,

Ezekiel 16:57 - Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of [thy] reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all [that are] round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about.

1 Chronicles 14:15 - And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, [that] then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.

1 Samuel 6:4 - Then said they, What [shall be] the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, [according to] the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague [was] on you all, and on your lords.

1 Samuel 14:19 - And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that [was] in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.

 

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