The Philistines are referred to as the descendants
of the Casluchim in Genesis
10:14 and Exodus 13:17.
Known as a seafaring nation, the Philistines were a non-Semitic people
who left Crete and arrived in Canaan at the beginning of the 12th century B.C.E.
The Philistines inhabited the Mediterranean coast of Canaan during the
period of the Book of Judges.
They founded five principalities - Gaza, Asheklon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath.
Their highly-developed weapons brought a
great threat to the Israelites. During the Exodus
from Egypt, the Israelites purposely took
a southern route to circumvent them. The Philistines
often battled against the Israelites. The
first King of Israel, Saul,
temporarily weakened them. Later, a little-known
shepherd by the name of David (later second King of Israel) defeated them
after his battle with the large Philistine
by the name of Goliath. The Philistines were
reduced to mainly commercial ventures rather
than military ventures. Throughout the Books
of Kings, different Jewish leaders fought
the nation until the Assyrians completely defeated them. The Philistines
then assimilated into the surrounding cultures
and ceased to exist as a separate nation.
The name Palestine originates from the Philistine
inhabitance of the land of Judea. After the Romans conquered the region in the
second century C.E., the Romans used the term Palestinia to refer to the region in
an attempt to minimize Jewish attachment to
the land. The Arabic use of the term Filastin is from this Latin root.
Sources: Bridger, David. Ed. The
New Jewish Encyclopedia. NY: Behrman House, Inc. 1976.
Schreiber, Mordecai (ed.). The
Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia. Shengold Books. 1998.
Telushkin, Joseph. Jewish
Literacy. William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1991.
the Bible II