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October 20    Scripture



Bible Cities: Philistia
Ancient Philistia

Map of Ancient Philistia


Philistia in Easton's Bible Dictionary =Israel (q.v.), "the land of the Philistines" (Ps. 60:8; 87:4; 108:9). The word is supposed to mean "the land of wanderers" or "of strangers."

Philistia in Fausset's Bible Dictionary See Israel, which is the same word, and originally meant "the land of the PHILISTINES:" (See PALESTINE.) Psalm 60:8; Psalm 87:4; Psalm 108:9.) Caphtorim; Amos 9:7, "the Philistines from Caphtor"; Jeremiah 47:4; Deuteronomy 2:23. Genesis 10:14 "Casluhim, out of whom came Philistine." (See CAPHTORIM; CASLUHIM.) Both came from Mizraim, i.e. Egypt. As in Amos and Jeremiah the Philistines are traced to Caphtor, probably the Casluhim and Caphtorim were tribes which intermingled, the Caphtorim having strengthened the Casluchian colony by immigration; so the Philistines may be said to have come from either (Bochart). Philistia is derived from the Ethiopic falasa "to emigrate," Hebrew palash, "wander." (In the W. of Abyssinia are the Falashas, i.e., emigrants, probably Israelites from Israel.) Successive emigrations of the same race took place into Philistia, first the Casluhim, then the Caphtorim from both of which came the Philistines, who seemingly were in subjection in Caphtor (the northern delta of Egypt), from whence "Jehovah brought them up" (Amos 9:7). (See CAPHTOR.) The objection to the Mizraite origin of the Philistines from their language is answered by the supposition that the Philistine or Caphtorim invaders adopted the language of the Avim whom they conquered (Deuteronomy 2:23). Their uncircumcision was due to their having left Egypt at a date anterior to the Egyptians' adoption (Herodotus ii. 36) of circumcision (compare Jeremiah 9:25-26). The Cherethites were probably Caphtorim, the modern Copts. Keratiya in the Philistine country, at the edge of the Negeb or "south country," and now called "castle of the Fenish," i.e. Philistines, is related to the name Cherethites; so "Philistines" is related to "Pelethites." Their immigration to the neighborhood of Gerar in the south country was before Abraham's time, for he deals with them as a pastoral tribe there (Genesis 21:32; Genesis 21:84; Genesis 26:1; Genesis 26:8). This agrees with the statement (Deuteronomy 2:23) that the Avim dwelt in Hazerim, i.e. in nomadic encampments. By the time of the Exodus the Philistines had become formidable (Exodus 13:17; Exodus 15:14). At Israel's invasion of Canaan they had advanced N. and possessed fully the seacoast plain from the river of Egypt (el Arish) to Ekron in the N. (Joshua 15:4; Joshua 15:47), a confederacy of the five cities (originally Canaanite) Gaza (the leading one), Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron (always put last). Each city had its prince (called seren or sar; Joshua 13:3 "lords"): Amos 1:7-8. The opprobrious name given to the shepherd kings, Philition (Herodotus ii. 12) seems related to Philistine. Their plain was famed for its fertility in grain, vines, and olives (Judges 15:5), so that it was the refuge from times of famine (2 Kings 8:2; compare Genesis 26:12). It suited war chariots, while the low hills of the shephelah afforded sites for fortresses. Philistia is an undulating plain, 32 miles long, and from nine to 16 broad, from 30 to 300 ft. above the sea. To the E. lie low spurs culminating in hog's backs running N. and S., and rising in places 1,200 ft. above the sea. To the E. of these the descent is steep, about 500 ft., to valleys E. of which the hill country begins. The sand is gaining on the land, so that one meets often a deep hollow in the sand, and a figtree...

Philistia in Naves Topical Bible The sea coast in the west of the territories of the tribes of Dan and Simeon Ps 60:8; 87:4; 108:9

Philistia in Smiths Bible Dictionary (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 Israel, which always means land of the Philistines. (Philistia was the plain on the southwest coast of Israel. 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.

Philistia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE 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.

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

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

Philistia Scripture - 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.

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