PHILISTINES, fi-lis'tinz or tainz.
(§ 1). Name and Territory. In the Hebrew the Philistines are known as Pelishtim or Pelishtiyyim, and their country as Pelesheth. In the Greek they appear as Phulistieim or Philistieim, Phulistiaioi, and sometimes as allophuloi, "foreigners"; and in the Vulgate as Philisthiim, Philistini, and Palstini, the last recalling the usage of Josephus (see PALESTINE, I., § 1). The expression allophuloi dates from about the period of the beginning of the Septuagint, has reference to a distinction based on national and religious grounds, and designates all not Jews who are of oriental origin and dwell in Palestine, and particularly the Philistines. The territory occupied by the Philistines was the southern part of the coast of Palestine. Taking Joppa (the modern Jaffa) as the most northern and Raphia as the most southern Philistine city, the length of the territory was rather less than sixty miles, with a width varying between twelve and thirty-five miles. The eastern boundary was the hill country of Judea, and the whole territory was included within what was known as the Shephelah. The significance of the district lay in the coast cities, not so much because of their sea trade as of their importance for overland traffic, as they were situated on one of the principal trade routes between Egypt and Babylon. Their location brought them into relation with the two centers of early culture and yet secured for them a relative independence, removed from both as they were either by a great distance or by the desert. The coast is almost without natural harbors, the hinterland possessed a few small plains, and toward the south the country gradually becomes transformed into pasture land.
(§ 2). Origin. The first reports of this district come from Egyptian inscriptions and from the Amarna Tablets (q.v.). Thothmes III. (c. 1500 B.C.) reckoned the district to the land of Haru. The Amarna Tablets mention Gaza, Ashkelon, and Joppa. Especially instructive is the portrayal at Karnak of the conquest of Ashkelon by Rameses II. (c. 1280), in which the defenders of the fortress are shown as distinct from the Philistines both in dress and countenance and as identical with Canaanites, proving that the inhabitants at that time were of the same race as those of Upper Palestine and that a foreign people had not yet intruded. This fact is confirmed by the names which come from this period, which are of Semitic-Canaanitic type. Deut. ii. 23 affirms that the Avvim dwelt here until the Caphtorim entered and destroyed them; Josh. xiii. 3, cf. xi. 22, im-plies that the Avvim and the Philistines lived alongside each other. The culture of the region was like that of other parts of Palestine, except that Egyptian influence was felt more strongly. The Old Testament (cf. Amos ix. 7) thus agrees with other information that the Philistines were intruders, and Jer. xlvii. 4 is in accord with other passages in deriving them from Caphtor (q.v.), the identification of which is not yet settled. A connection of the Philistines with the Cherethites of I Sam. xxx. 14-15 and with the Carim, "captains," of II Kings xi. 4, 19 (cf. the gloss on Gen. x. 14), supposed to be from Caria in Asia Minor, has been attempted, but the combination is uncertain, even in view of I Kings i. 38, where Cherethites and Pelethites (or Philistines) are mentioned as part of the royal guard, and no certain datum is gained for determining the place of origin of the Philistines. The Egyptian monuments of the period of Rameses III. (1208-1180 B.C.) speak of unrest in northern and central Syria caused by a foreign and hitherto unnamed people, whose names are read Purasati, Zakkari, Shakrusha, Dano or Danona, Washasha, and Shardana. Of these the Purasati are always named first, and, it is assumed, were the leaders. The fact that these peoples marched with a great amount of baggage and with wives and children is taken by E. Meyer as proving that it was the migration of a people which pushed on to the borders of Egypt. W. M. Müller argues from the application to them of the name equivalent to "heroes" that they were predatory bands of soldiers plundering alike friend and foe. Rameses III. speaks of a land battle with them and also of a sea fight. The Golenisheff papyrus relates that the Egyptian Uno-Amon journeyed in a ship to Dor in Palestine for timber during the fifth year of Herihor, the last king of the twentieth Egyptian dynasty, and that the city then belonged to the Zakkari, whose chief was named Bidir. It is noteworthy that this people's name occurs both in the time of Rameses and of Herihor, in the former in connection with the Purasati, and that with Rameses the Egyptian hegemony of southern Syria begins to vanish; it is further probable that since the Zakkari made sure their footing, their associates the Purasati also did. With the Purasati the Egyptologist Champollion connected the Philistines before 1832, and this identification has approved itself to later scholars. W. M. Müller supposed the pronunciation to have been Pulaesti, cf. the Assyrian Palastu, Pilistu. This scholar has located their home on the southern coast of Asia Minor and in the islands of the Ægean Sea. A sea people was known to the Egyptians as Ruku or Luku (Lycians). An attempt to derive the name from a Semitic root meaning "to wander" does not approve itself, since it is practically certain that the Philistines were not of Semitic stock, and the Egyptians gave to the peoples of Syria their own names, describe the Philistines and their associates as coming from "the end of the sea," and portray them as differing in feature and dress from Semites. It is not unlikely that between the Philistines and their associates and the "early Cretans" of Odyssey xix. 176 a relationship existed, but definite proof is lacking.
(§ 3). Not Semitic. Proof from the language of the Philistines is lacking, since practically nothing is known of it, and the occurrence of persons and places in the Old Testament and Assyrian inscriptions helps little, since the Philistines naturally adopted the language of the country after their settlement therein. The Semitic names of places, upon which F. Schwally bases his argument that the Philistines were Semites proves nothing, since these names often remain unaltered in the East through successive waves of population. The Achish of I Sam. xxvii.-xxviii. has been placed alongside the Ikausu of the Assyrian Inscriptions (cf. Schrader, KAT, 3d ed., p. 473), a form "Ekasho of the land of Kefti" found in an Egyptian source, which seems to make a non-Semitic origin of this name clear. The Old Testament calls in several places (Josh. xiii. 3; Judges iii. 3; I Sam. vi. 4, 16) the rulers of the Philistines seranim, "lords," a word which does not yield readily to a Hebrew (Semitic) etymology, and Klostermann (on I Sam. v. 8) has equated it with the Gk. tyrannos. The deities of the Philistines appear to be Semitic--cf. Dagon, Ashtaroth, and Beelzebub (qq.v.). This people had images in their temples and took them when they went to war as did the Hebrews the ark (II Sam. v. 21); Isa. ii. 6 shows that their soothsayers were held in honor. Those who visited the temple of Dagon avoided stepping on the threshold (I Sam. v. 5; cf. Zeph. i. 9). But these observances are in accordance with Semitic custom. The general impression, however, received from a view of the facts is that the Philistines were not of Semitic stock, and were intruders into the land where they adopted Semitic customs and language. [The name of Goliath, with its Aramaic ending--ath, does not contradict the theory of the non-Semitic origin of the Philistines, since he is described as belonging to the Giants (q.v.; cf. II. Sam. xxi. 15-19; I Chron. xx. 4-8; both in accord with Josh. x. 22), who are recorded as descended from the Avvim or Anakim. Descendants of the old stock would be reckoned by outlanders to the dominant people, even though their descent was not forgotten. G. W. G.]
This is confirmed by the further fact that they did not practise circumcision (Judges xiv. 3, xv. 18; I Sam. xvii. 26, xviii. 25), with which should be put the fact that the "sea folk" of Merneptah were uncircumcised (W. M. Müller, Asien und Europa, pp. 357-358, Leipsic, 1893), and with these the Purasati of Rameses were connected. For the time when they entered Palestine the Golenisheff papyrus (ut sup.) gives a suggestion, since the date of Herihor is about 1100. The Bidir of Dor had received an Egyptian embassy sixteen years earlier, and the Egyptians had bought timber of his father and grandfather. Hence the Zakkari had been settled in the region some fifty or sixty years before the time of the papyrus, and this goes back approximately to the time of Rameses III. (ut sup.). This comes into close connection with the unrest caused by the dissolution of the Hittite realm in northern Syria. By 1100 the Philistines had at least partly subjected the Hebrews, and it would appear that shortly after they had firmly seated themselves in the lowlands of Judea they attacked the mountain region. Their success was won probably not through greater numbers but by means of better weapons and cleverer tactics. The Egyptian monuments show that they were equipped with felt helmets, coats of mail, large round shields, short spears, large swords, and war chariots. If they came from Asia Minor, they must have possessed the Mycenean culture and were by no means "barbarians."
(§ 4). Early History. When the Philistines came into touch with Israel, their territory was divided into five districts, the chiefs of which were called seranim, "lords." The capitals of these districts, named from north to south, were Ekron, Ashdod, Gath, Ashkelon, and Gaza. This fivefold division may correspond to tribal divisions. The Old Testament names the Cherethites as occupying the northwestern part of the Negeb, and these with the Zakkari may make up two outside groups of the same stock. Since Achish is called "king" in I Sam. xxi. 10 and elsewhere, he may have been the head of the Philistine confederation; an alternative supposition is that the Hebrew writer used the ordinary terminology. Inasmuch as during the reign of Rameses III. the Egyptian boundaries reached to Lebanon, while Dor was apparently in the possession of the Zakkari, it seems probable that their advance along the great highway of commerce by way of Carmel took place after the Egyptian power suffered a decline. It appears strange that the region about Dor and the Plain of Sharon was not reckoned in with the five districts of the Philistines, for when the battle of Gilboa was fought, these regions must have been in their power. The southernmost limits of their territory had been attained when they reduced Israel. The mention of the Philistines which appears in such passages as Gen. xxvi., cf. xxi. 22-23, are anachronisms, since the Egyptian monuments do not indicate settlement in what became their territory before the twentieth dynasty. The migration of the Danites (Judges xviii.) may have been due to the Philistines. In the long contest between the Philistines and Israel, the former appear as the aggressors, with the purpose of conquering the highland, the middle portion of which came into their power according to I Sam. v.-vi. The lower portion is shown by the story of Samson to have been already under their control (Judges xiii.-xvi., cf. iii. 31). The fear of this people was so great among the Hebrews that many of the latter entered their ranks against their own kin (I Sam. xiv. 21). While Saul began the period of successful resistance, his reign was rather one of little contests with them than a serious campaign for freedom. At this time David (q.v.) became a beloved leader of his people (I Sam. xviii. 7) against the common foe. When Saul turned against David, the latter took refuge with Achish of Gath, who gave him Ziklag as his residence. The last battle between Saul and the Philistines took place at the foot of Mount Gilboa, where Saul and his sons fell, and the earlier hegemony of the Philistines was reestablished. Ishbosheth established his capital at Mahanaim, and David became king over Judah in Hebron (II Sam. ii.-iv.). When the latter became king over all Israel, the Philistines regarded the act as one of revolt and sought to maintain their mastery. David knew, however, the advantage which was his in the possession of the highlands, and in numerous great and small conflicts (II Sam. v. 17-25, xxi. 15-22, xxiii. 9-17) not only secured the freedom of his people but reduced the Philistines to a position of subjection, at least in part, though their position on the highway enabled them still to profit by overland commerce. Gittites (from Gath) were in David's army (II Sam. xv. 18), as well as the Cherethites and Pelethites, who were probably of Philistine blood. The theory of W. M. Müller that the victory of David was due to the Philistines having at the same time to resist an attack by the Egyptians has little to sustain it; David's success was partly due to the advantage of position. In Solomon's time Egypt sought to reestablish her hegemony over the region (I Kings ix. 16), and to this may be due the fact that Dor was independent of Israel. But the result was such a weakening of the Philistines that the Plain of Jezreel and Carmel, the key to the trade route, fell into Solomon's hands and with it command of commerce. When Shishak made his raid, the Philistines seem to have given him no trouble, since no mention is made of capture of plunder with reference to them. The territory of the Philistines, as it is reflected in the Old Testament, seems to picture the situation as it was after Solomon's time.
(§ 5). Later History. From that time there appears little which indicates an independent development of the Philistines. The conflicts between them and Israel have little significance. Rehoboam fortified his dominion against them by a line of strongholds (II Chron. xi. 7-12). Nadab and Elah fought with them at Gibbethon (I Kings xv. 27, xvi. 15 sqq.); Jehoshaphat received tribute from them (II Chron. xvii. 11), but the harem of Jehoram was carried off by them (II Chron. xxi. 16-17). Gath seems to have been taken from Judah by Hazael (II Kings xii. 17), while Uzziah carried on a victorious campaign against them (II Chron. xxvi. 6), though against Ahab the Philistines became aggressive (II Chron. xxviii. 18), but were subjected under Hezekiah (II Kings xviii. 8). This people were included in the denunciations of the prophets (Amos i. 6-8; Jer. xxv. 15 sqq.; Ezek. xxv. 15, and elsewhere). They were subdued by the Assyrians, and in that period Gaza had especial importance because of the trade route to Arabia; and the region figures in the Assyrian annals with frequency. Sargon deported the inhabitants of Ashdod and Gath and settled foreigners in their place (711 B.C.). Zidka of Ashkelon and Hezekiah united against the Assyrians in 701, dethroned the Assyrian vassal king of Ekron, but the prior status was restored by Sennacherib. On the downfall of the Assyrians, the Egyptians once more tried to control the region, and Psammeticus is said to have besieged Ashdod for twenty-nine years (Herodotus, Hist., ii. 157); about this time that city is reported by the same author (i. 105) to have been plundered by the Scythians. Necho II. made another attempt to control Syria, but Nebuchadrezzar was the victor. Neither at that time nor in the time of Cyrus do the Philistines appear as aggressive. Under Darius Philistia, Phenicia, and Cyprus belonged to the fifth satrapy. Gaza was an independent city flourishing through its commerce, but was taken by Alexander after a siege of two months, while under the Seleucidæ its fortunes were frequently changed, especially in the contest between Egypt and Syria (see PTOLEMIES; SELEUCIDÆ). In the Maccabean contest for independence, the cities of the Philistines were the centers of hard battles. Bacchides sought to shut the Jews out from the plain; Jonathan attacked and plundered Joppa, took Ashdod, received Ekron from Alexander, while Ashkelon surrendered (I Macc. v. 68, ix. 50-52, x. 75-89); Simon took Joppa and settled Jews there, and also took Gezer (I Macc. xii. 33-34, xiii. 43-48); while Alexander Jannæus seems to have completed the reduction of the region (Josephus, Ant., XIII., xiii. 3, xv. 4; War, I., iv. 2). Pompey freed it from the Jewish yoke, but Cæsar gave Joppa back to the Jews. Antony gave the region to Cleopatra in 36 B.C., but in 30 through the gift of Augustus part of it was in Herod's hands. After the fall of Jerusalem, Jamnia became the center of Jewish Palestine. But long before this most that was distinctively Philistine had vanished. During the Persian period Greeks had settled in the country and cities and had gained control of commerce. It is significant that the coins of Gaza of the Persian period contain lettering partly Phenician and partly Greek, but of Greek workmanship. The government was on Greek models, the gods bore Greek names, while the cities were centers of Greek culture. While this is true, the rural population used the Aramaic tongue, as did the lower classes in the cities, at the end of the fourth century B.C.; moreover, the Greek names of deities but concealed local conceptions; the chief temple of Ashdod in the Hasmonean period was Dagon's, Gaza's chief deity was Marnas (Aramaic for "Our Lord ").
(§ 6). The Cities. For Dor see SAMARIA. Japho (Joppa, the modern Jaffa) was one of the border cities of Dan (Josh. ix. 46); later the seaport of Jerusalem (II Chron. ii. 16), and seems to have been a city of great age, possessing a Canaanitic population in the time of the eighteenth and nineteenth Egyptian dynasties. The Amarna Tablets show an Egyptian governor for the place. Later it must have been in the hands of the Philistines. The New Testament speaks of it as visited by Peter (Acts ix. 36-43). It has retained its importance through the centuries because of its port, though the protection afforded is not of the best. The story of Andromeda centers at this place. In the fourth century it was the seat of a bishop. At the present time it is the seaport of Jerusalem, with which it is connected by rail, has about 45,000 inhabitants, and is celebrated for its gardens. About twelve miles south of Joppa and about five miles from the coast is the modern Jebna, which corresponds to the Jabneh of II Chron. xxvi. 6 and the Jabneel of Josh. xv. 11; it is the Jamnia of II Macc. xii. 8. About six miles inland the village of 'Akir probably locates the site of Ekron, variously assigned to Dan and to Judah (Josh. xix. 43, xv. 45-46; cf. however Josh. xiii. 2-3). The name of Ashdod (Gk. Azotos) is preserved in the modern Esdud, a village with about 3,000 inhabitants situated on the trade route about midway between Joppa and Gaza. The city was reckoned to Judah (Josh. xv. 47; but cf. xiii. 2-3). The account of the conquest of the city by Uzziah in II Chron. xxvi. 6 seems doubtful in view of Amos i. 7. [This rhetorical passage, however, does not imply the independence of Ashdod.] Neh. iv. 1 probably refers not merely to the inhabitants of the city but to those of the outlying territory which reached to the limits of' Gezer. The Evangelist Philip visited Ashdod (Acts viii. 40). In the early Christian centuries a distinction was made between Ashdod-on-the-Sea and Ashdod-Within, the former, probably represented by the ruins of Minet al-Kal'a. The name of Ashkelon is also preserved in the modern 'Askalan, about ten miles south of Ashdod and about thirteen miles north of Gaza. The ruins on the site of the present village appear to date only from the Middle Ages; apparently there were two sites other than this, one near the sea and one inland, a distinction which is supported by reports of a bishop of Ashkelon and one of Mayumas Ashkelon. Ruins exist quite near a little haven, and also others at the present El-Hammame and El-Mejdel to the northeast of the ruins of the time of the Middle Ages. It is in these last ruins that the sanctuaries of the early city are to be found. Ashkelon was a Roman colony in the fourth Christian century. Gaza is to be sought at the present Ghazze, situated a little over two miles from the coast, at the present a market place of some importance. Underground streams nourish fine groves of olive-trees and palms. Its haven was mentioned by Strabo and Ptolemy, and by Constantine the Great it was made a city with the name Constantia; its privileges were taken away by Julian, and it was known thereafter as Mayumas. Near one of the gates of the present city is a Mohammedan sanctuary dedicated to "the Strong one," i.e., Samson. Walls which are found under the present town were built over the city founded by Gabinius, the commander of Pompey's army, in 61 B.C. The earlier city lay somewhat to the north, and was destroyed by Alexander Jannæus 96 B.C. Still farther to the south lay Raphia, the modern Tell Refah, about two miles from the sea and without a harbor. It marked the boundary between the Egyptian and Syrian domains (Josephus, War, IV., xi. 5). Gath lay nearer the land of Judah, according to I Sam. xvii. 1-2, 52, near the Wadi el-Sunt, and according to Eusebius (Onomasticon, ed. Lagarde, 244, 127, cf. 246, 129) about four miles to the north of Eleutheropolis toward Lydda (Diospolis). Jerome (on Mic. i. 10) asserts that it lay on the way from Eleutheropolis to Gaza. It early ceased to be a Philistine city (II Kings xii. 17; cf. Jer. xxv. 20; Amos i. 7; Zeph. ii. 4).