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Philistia(fĭlĭs`tyə), region of SW ancient Palestine, comprising a coastal strip along the Mediterranean and a portion of S Canaan. The chief cities of Philistia were Gaza, Ashqelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath; strategically located on the great commercial route from Egypt to Syria, they formed a confederacy. In the Bible the great Hebrew antagonists of the PhilistinesPhilistines
, inhabitants of Philistia, a non-Semitic people who came to Palestine from a region in the Mediterranean in the 12th cent. B.C. Genetic studies in the 21st cent.
..... Click the link for more information. are SamsonSamson,
in the Bible, judge of Israel. His long hair was a symbol of his vows to God, and because of this covenant Samson was strong. The enemies of his people, the Philistines, accomplished his destruction through the woman Delilah.
..... Click the link for more information. , SaulSaul,
first king of the ancient Hebrews. He was a Benjamite and anointed king by Samuel. Saul's territory was probably limited to the hill country of Judah and the region to the north, and his proximity to the Philistines brought him into constant conflict with them.
..... Click the link for more information. , and DavidDavid,
d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.
..... Click the link for more information. . Philistines were independent at the time of AmosAmos
, prophetic book of the Bible. The majority of its oracles are chronologically earlier than those of the Bible's other prophetic books. His activity is dated c.760 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the Jews never really conquered them. Philistia was laid under tribute by Assyria, and the invasion of Palestine by SennacheribSennacherib
d. 681 B.C., king of Assyria (705–681 B.C.). The son of Sargon, Sennacherib spent most of his reign fighting to maintain the empire established by his father.
..... Click the link for more information. was brought on by Hezekiah's imprisonment of the Assyrian tributary, the king of Ekron. The cities were conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians in 604 B.C.
See A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks (1930, repr. 1968); R. Macalister, The Philistines (1965).
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an ancient country on the coast of SW Palestine
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005