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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Philistia (fi-lís'tĭ-áh or -lĭst'yah), land of sojourners. In Psalms 60:8; Psalms 87:4; Psalms 108:9, the only places where the word "Philistia" occurs, is the same Hebrew word elsewhere translated "Palestine." Palestine originally meant only the district inhabited by Philistines. In Psalms 83:7 A. V. the word is rendered "Philistines." Josephus calls these people "Palestines." Philistia, or the "land of the Philistines," included the coast plain on the southwest of Palestine, from Joppa on the north to the valley of Gerar on the south, a distance of about 40 miles. Its breadth at the northern end was ten miles, and at the southern about 20. It appears to have extended as far inland as Beersheba. Genesis 21:33-34; Genesis 26:1; Genesis 26:14-18; Exodus 23:31; Joshua 13:2-3. At the Exodus the Philistines seem to have been such a mighty and warlike people, that the Israelites deemed it prudent to avoid their land, lest "the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt." Exodus 13:17. Thenceforward, during the whole period of Old Testament history, the Israelites and the Philistines were frequently brought in contact. The Philistines are mentioned 310 times in the Old Testament, from Genesis to Zechariah. They were a commercial as well as a warlike people. Their chief god was Dagon, Judges 16:23; 1 Samuel 5:1-5, who, as well as the goddess Derketo, had the form, of a fish.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Philistia'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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