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Morrish Bible Dictionary
Descendants, with the Caphtorim, of the Pathrusim, and the Casluhim, two clans descended from Ham. Genesis 10:14; Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7 . They were found in the S.W. of Palestine when Abraham went to sojourn at Gerar, Genesis 20; and both Abraham and Isaac had certain contentions with them respecting the wells which they had digged. Genesis 21:25-34; Genesis 26:1-18 . They were a warlike people, which was the reason that God did not lead the Israelites near to them when He led them out of Egypt. Exodus 13:17 . It is probable that at first they were a sort of colony of Egypt. Their five cities commanded the coast road from Egypt to Syria, and there is proof that Egypt had a strong hold on Palestine before the arrival of Joshua; but it was then declining.
As they occupied a part of the promised land, the Israelites should have dispossessed them; but when Joshua was old 'all the borders of the Philistines' were still unoccupied by the Israelites. They represent the pretension and intrusion of man in the flesh into that which belongs to God. Nazariteship in Samson is God's way of deliverance, but the Nazarite utterly failed, and in the days of Eli the Israelites were conquered by them and the ark taken. When Saul was king he was in fear of them, and they were enabled to enter his dominions, and in a battle Saul and his sons lost their lives. It was by David, God's king, that the Philistines were really conquered, and under Solomon we find they were tributary.
When the kingdom of Israel was divided, the Philistines regained their independence more or less. God used them at times to punish His guilty people, and at other times gave those that served Him power over them. In the prophets destruction is pronounced upon their land and the remnant of the people. The five fortified cities of the Philistines, with their 'daughters' or dependent villages, were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron. The Philistines were idolaters and worshipped Dagon, Ashtaroth and Baal-zebub. 1 Samuel 5:2; 1 Samuel 31:10; 2 Kings 1:2; Jeremiah 57; Ezekiel 25:15-17; Amos 1:7,8; Zephaniah 2:5 . PHILISTIM in Genesis 10:14 is the same Hebrew word that is elsewhere translated Philistines.
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Morrish, George. Entry for 'Philistines'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/p/philistines.html. 1897.